Ohio State slips past Illinois in overtime

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2002

A shot at the national championship and the Big Ten title comes down to one game for No. 2 Ohio State -- against rival Michigan next Saturday.

The lucky Buckeyes (12-0, 7-0) survived another road scare before pulling out a 23-16 overtime victory over Illinois on Saturday. Ranked first in the BCS standings, Ohio State needs a win over Michigan (9-2, 6-1) to earn a trip to the BCS' national title game in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.

Even though the game is at Ohio Stadium, the Wolverines are capable spoilers. In 1995 and '96, Michigan ended undefeated bids by the Buckeyes.

Meanwhile, No. 6 Iowa (11-1, 8-0) closed its regular season with a 45-21 win over Minnesota and clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 1990.

The Hawkeyes, with Brad Banks throwing for two touchdowns and running for two others, are strong Rose Bowl contenders if Ohio State beats Michigan and plays in the Fiesta, but Iowa could also move into the national title picture with just a few more upsets in the final three weeks of the season.

There were a few of them on Saturday, the biggest being Texas Tech's 42-38 win over No. 4 Texas. The loss knocked the Longhorns (9-2, 5-2 Big 12) out of both the national and conference title races.

A brief look at other conference races:

ACC: Florida State, a 40-14 winner over North Carolina, clinched at least a share of its 10th league crown in 11 years. A Maryland loss in either of its final two games would give the Seminoles (8-3, 7-0) an automatic berth in a BCS game and their 10th conference title in 11 years.

Big East: The next big game is Pittsburgh (8-2, 5-0) at No. 1 Miami (9-0, 4-0) on Thursday night. Both teams were off Saturday.

Big 12: With Texas out of the race in the Big 12 South, the winner of next Saturday's game between Texas Tech (8-4, 5-2) at co-No. 4 Oklahoma (9-1, 5-1) qualifies for the league title game on Dec. 7. Colorado (8-3, 6-1) beat Iowa State 41-27 to clinch the North and move to the title game.

Pac-10: Washington State (9-1, 6-0), which was off Saturday, can clinch the title with a win over Washington next week.

SEC: Georgia, with a dramatic 24-21 win at Auburn, won the East and a spot in the league's title game on Dec. 7. It's the first title of any kind for the Bulldogs in 20 years. Even though LSU lost to Alabama 31-0, the Tigers are in control of the West because 'Bama is ineligible for the title game.

No. 2 Ohio State 23, Illinois 16, OT

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The second-ranked Buckeyes remained on the road for a national title as Maurice Hall ran 8 yards for a touchdown in overtime.

Ohio State improved to 12-0 for the first time in school history, but Illinois (4-7, 3-4 Big Ten) nearly spoiled the Buckeyes' season. John Gockman kicked a 48-yard field goal on the last play of regulation for a 16-all tie as the ball just barely fell inside the left upright.

After Hall's TD run in OT, the Illini had a chance to tie, but a third-down pass from John Beutjer into the end zone was called incomplete because officials ruled receiver Walter Young bobbled the ball as he went out of bounds.

No. 4 Oklahoma 49, Baylor 9

WACO, Texas -- Quentin Griffin ran for 152 yards and three touchdowns and also had a 35-yard TD catch as Oklahoma rebounded from its first loss of the season.

Griffin continued his push for Heisman Trophy consideration with his sixth straight 100-yard rushing game, on 17 carries in just three quarters. Griffin has 885 yards during the six games, and 1,243 on the season.

The blowout victory probably won't help the Sooners (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) climb back up in the BCS standings. Oklahoma dropped from first to fourth after its 30-26 loss at Texas A&M last week.

Texas Tech 42, No. 4 Texas 38

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Kliff Kingsbury knocked Texas out of the national title chase with six touchdown passes.

Kingsbury completed 38 of 60 passes for 473 yards against one of the nation's top defenses.

The defeat was another tough blow for Texas (9-2, 5-2) and coach Mack Brown. A loss to Oklahoma last month all but eliminated the Longhorns from the conference race, but they still had an outside chance of reaching the BCS' national title game in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3. That's gone, too.

No. 6 Iowa 45, Minnesota 21

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brad Banks made his Heisman statement by throwing two touchdown passes and running for two more TDs to lead Iowa.

Fred Russell ran for 194 yards, and Jermelle Lewis added 101 for the Hawkeyes (11-1, 8-0).

No. 7 Georgia 24, No. 24 Auburn 21

AUBURN, Ala. -- David Greene threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Michael Johnson on fourth-and-15 with 1:25 left to help Georgia with the SEC East.

Three straight incompletions by Greene and a false-start penalty set up the dramatic finish. Greene lofted his pass into the left corner of the end zone, and Johnson, subbing for an injured Terrence Edwards, outjumped Horace Willis for the score.

No. 8 USC 34, Arizona St. 13

LOS ANGELES -- Carson Palmer threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Justin Fargas ran for 125 yards and another score for USC (8-2, 6-1 Pac-10).

Andrew Walter was 24-of-49 for 297 yards for the Sun Devils (7-5, 4-3), but threw two interceptions. He also lost a fumble that led to an early touchdown that put the Trojans ahead to stay.

No. 10 Alabama 31, No. 14 LSU 0

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Santonio Beard ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns as Alabama put pressure on LSU in the Tigers' bid to get to the SEC title game.

In a game featuring two of the nation's top defenses, Alabama's ground game proved to be the difference. The Crimson Tide ran for 300 yards, while LSU had just 65 yards.

No. 11 Kansas St. 49, Nebraska 13

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Quarterback Ell Roberson ran for 228 yards and three touchdowns as Kansas State earned its most lopsided victory ever against Nebraska.

Roberson's 91-yard first-quarter run was the second-longest run against Nebraska, topped only by the 99-yarder by Kansas' Gale Sayers in 1963.

No. 12 Michigan 21, Wisconsin 14

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Chris Perry ran for a career-high 175 yards and a touchdown as Michigan held on against Wisconsin.

Michigan's Markus Curry broke up a pass intended for Wisconsin's Jonathan Orr in the end zone with 1:29 left. Perry ran through a hole for a 43-yard run on the final possession to seal the win for the Wolverines (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten), who play Ohio State next week.

No. 15 Florida State 40, North Carolina 14

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Adrian McPherson threw four touchdown passes as Florida State clinched at least a share of the ACC title.

Anquan Boldin caught three TD passes. McPherson connected with Boldin for a pair of second quarter scores as Florida State took a 17-0 halftime lead.

No. 16 Penn St. 58, Indiana 25

BLOOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In a season of sensational performances, Larry Johnson topped himself again.

Johnson ran for 327 yards, a career-high four touchdowns and shattered a 31-year-old school rushing record as he led the Nittany Lions (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten).

No. 17 Colorado 41, Iowa St. 27

BOULDER, Colo. -- Bobby Purify ran for 174 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown with 1:43 left, to lift Colorado. Safety Medford Moorer returned a fumble 71 yards for a TD with 5:12 left as Colorado advanced to the conference title game for the second straight year.

No. 19 Maryland 30, Clemson 12

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Scott McBrien threw three touchdown passes and ran for another to lead as Maryland won its eighth straight.

Chris Downs added 101 yards rushing for the Terrapins (9-2, 5-1 ACC), who won at Clemson for the first time since 1985.

No. 20 Florida 28, South Carolina 7

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Rex Grossman threw four touchdown passes to help Florida defeat South Carolina in one of the most hollow victories in program history.

The Gators (8-3, 6-2 SEC) came into the game knowing they needed help to win the SEC East. They didn't get it. Their fate was sealed just before halftime, thanks to a spectacular catch made 300 miles away by Michael Johnson of Georgia, whose fourth-quarter touchdown gave the Bulldogs a 24-21 victory over Auburn.

No. 21 Colorado St. 49, San Diego St. 21

SAN DIEGO -- Bradlee Van Pelt threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more as Colorado State (9-2, 5-0 MWC) won its fifth straight.

Van Pelt completed 9 of 12 passes for 188 yards and rushed 13 times for 93 yards. He even outgained star running back Cecil Sapp, who had 80 yards on 20 carries and scored once for the Rams.

Washington 42, No. 23 Oregon 14

EUGENE, Ore. -- Cody Pickett threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns and set the Pac-10 record for single-season passing yardage in Washington's victory.

Pickett increased his total to 3,818 yards to surpass Ryan Leaf, who threw for 3,637 yards for Washington State in 1997.

Virginia 14, No. 22 N.C. State 9

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Matt Schaub threw two touchdown passes, and Virginia batted away a pass in the end zone in the final minute as North Carolina State lost its third straight game.

The Cavaliers (7-4, 5-2 ACC) held on after squandering two chances to cushion their lead in the final quarter. They also held the Wolfpack 28 points below their 36.9 scoring average. NC State, which opened the season with a school-record nine straight wins, fell to 9-3 and 4-3.

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