Michigan ends Buckeyes' run

Posted: Sunday, November 23, 2003

ANN ARBOR, Mich. John Navarre cradled the Big Ten trophy as he walked into the interview room with tears in his eyes and a championship hat on his head.

The coronation was complete.

Perhaps the most maligned quarterback in Michigan history will end his prolific career as a Big Ten champion.

Navarre made all the big plays in the biggest game of his life, throwing for 278 yards and two touchdowns Saturday to lead the fifth-ranked Wolverines to a 35-21 win that ended No. 4 Ohio State's hopes for a repeat national title.

''This is something we haven't had in a while. The Big Ten championship was our goal and the rest was gravy,'' Navarre said. ''It's a dream come true.''

The Wolverines (10-2, 7-1) snapped a two-game skid against their biggest rival and won the conference title outright for the first time since 1997.

They will play in the Rose Bowl unless they move up from ninth to second in the BCS standings and earn a berth in the national title game at the Sugar Bowl.

''We're excited about any opportunities we're presented with,'' Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.

Ohio State's loss opens the door for Southern California and LSU, the two one-loss teams that trailed the second-place Buckeyes in the BCS standings.

''It's frustrating to be that close to be back in the championship game,'' Buckeyes backup quarterback Scott McMullen said. ''Losing to Michigan doesn't make it any easier.''

Michigan used a balanced offense to hand the Buckeyes (10-2, 6-2) their second loss in 26 games. The Wolverines ran for 170 yards and threw for 278.

Perry ran through huge holes and Navarre had plenty of time to throw in the 100th edition in one of college football's greatest rivalries.

Braylon Edwards had seven catches for 130 yards and two scores for the Wolverines.

''They've got a great offense,'' Buckeyes quarterback Craig Krenzel said. ''I think they're playing as well as any team in the country.''

Perry ran for 154 yards and two scores as Michigan's offensive line dominated Ohio State's stellar front seven, which led the nation by allowing 50.5 rushing yards per game.

Perry also had 55 yards receiving despite being helped off the field a couple of times after hard hits.

''There was no way I was coming out of the game,'' Perry said. ''This is one of those games that's going to be remembered.''

The victory was vindication for Navarre, who holds nearly all the passing records at Michigan but hadn't come up with the big wins until this season.

The target of boos for much of his career, Navarre received a loud ovation from the NCAA-record crowd of 112,118 when the seniors were honored before the game.

Then he delivered to cap a season featuring wins over Michigan's three biggest rivals: Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame. He was mobbed as the students rushed the field after he took a knee on the final play.

''I felt I was established already,'' Navarre said. ''But the reality was I was going to be defined by this game.''

Navarre accomplished something the more heralded Tom Brady and Drew Henson couldn't by winning Michigan's 16th outright conference title.

The win came 34 years to the day that Michigan spoiled Ohio State's repeat bid for a national championship and started a 10-year battle between Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes that elevated the intensity of the rivalry.

That was one of many times the Wolverines spoiled the Buckeyes' championship dreams, including in 1993, '95 and '96. But those wins came against John Cooper who was 2-10-1 in the series before getting fired and didn't give Michigan a Big Ten championship.

The Buckeyes hung tough, cutting a 28-7 lead to 28-21 early in the fourth quarter, but Michigan's defense held after Chris Gamble intercepted a pass from Navarre.

On the next drive, Navarre delivered a perfect 30-yard strike to Tyler Ecker on third down that set up Perry's 15-yard touchdown run with 7:55 remaining.

Krenzel was 20-for-33 for 221 yards and two scores. He was replaced briefly by McMullen after separating his left shoulder and struggled when he returned.

Santonio Holmes, who didn't start after being charged with disorderly conduct following a campus fight last weekend, caught two touchdown passes.

The Buckeyes, who have struggled offensively all year without suspended star tailback Maurice Clarett, managed only 54 yards rushing.

Perry's 30-yard run on Michigan's opening drive of the second half made it 28-7. Perry had the biggest rushing game against Ohio State all season, topping the 125 yards by Wisconsin's Booker Stanley in the Buckeyes' other loss.

Michigan took a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter behind a sharp first half by Navarre.

He led an 18-play, 89-yard drive to open the scoring before serving as a decoy on the touchdown. With Navarre lined up wide, receiver Steve Breaston took the snap and ran an option for a 3-yard score.

Navarre then hit Edwards on touchdown passes from 64 and 23 yards to make it 21-0.

''We missed a tackle of two,'' Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. ''When you miss a tackle on guys who can go, they go.''

Krenzel's 8-yard pass to Holmes got the Buckeyes on the board late in the half. Michigan had outscored its opponents 150-0 in the first half at home this year before the score.

No. 1 Oklahoma 56, Texas Tech 25

LUBBOCK, Texas Jason White threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns and Kejuan Jones scored five TDs, keeping Oklahoma on track for a berth in the national championship game.

The Sooners (12-0, 8-0 Big 12) finished off their 10th unbeaten regular season in 65 years and need only to win the Big 12 title game on Dec. 6 in Kansas City to assure a Sugar Bowl bid.

Oklahoma, which last went unbeaten during its national championship season in 2000, has won 13 straight games the longest current streak in Division I-A.

Red Raiders quarterback B.J. Symons broke Ty Detmer's 13-year-old NCAA Division I-A single-season record for passing yards in the second quarter, but finished with a season-low 230 yards. Symons, only a one-year starter at Tech, also threw five interceptions.

Texas Tech is 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the Big 12.

No. 2 Southern California 47, UCLA 22

LOS ANGELES Matt Leinart threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns, and Mike Williams had 11 catches for 181 yards and two scores for Southern California.

Southern Cal (10-1, 6-1 Pac-10), which had slipped to third behind Ohio State in the BCS rankings, got a boost when Michigan beat the Buckeyes in a game that finished just before the Trojans took the field at the Coliseum.

The Trojans led 33-2 at halftime, with Leinart passing for 273 yards in the half and Williams making all 11 of his catches. Williams didn't play in the second half, and Leinart went to the sideline late in the third quarter.

The Trojans overwhelmed the Bruins (6-6, 4-3) early, scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions and adding a field goal for a 24-0 lead en route to their fifth win in a row over UCLA.

No. 3 LSU 17, No. 15 Mississippi 14

OXFORD, Miss. LSU held Eli Manning and high-scoring Mississippi in check for three quarters, then withstood a fourth-quarter rally to keep the Rebels from clinching the SEC West.

Matt Mauck threw two TD passes for LSU (10-1, 6-1), which now controls the SEC West race and can clinch its second trip to the conference title game in three years with a victory over Arkansas.

No. 6 Georgia 30, Kentucky 10

ATHENS, Ga. Billy Bennett kicked three field goals to become the Southeastern Conference's career scoring leader and David Greene threw for 289 yards for Georgia.

The Bulldogs (9-2, 6-2 SEC) gained at least a share of the East Division title with Florida. Bennett, who has 382 points, also set an SEC record with 80 career field goals.

Washington 27, No. 8 Washington St. 19

SEATTLE Cody Pickett threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Corey Williams with 1:10 to play, lifting Washington past Washington State in another thrilling Apple Cup.

Pickett was ineffective most of the game, but he came through to direct a 73-yard, fourth-quarter drive that saved the Huskies (6-6, 4-4 Pac-10) from their first losing season since 1976.

No. 9 Tennessee 48, Vanderbilt 0

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. Casey Clausen threw three touchdown passes and scored on a sneak in Tennessee's 21st straight victory over Vanderbilt.

Mark Jones caught one of Clausen's scoring passes and returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown for the Volunteers (9-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference).

On the Vols' third drive of the game, Clausen broke Peyton Manning's school record of 132 passes without an interception and pushed the mark to 143 before Vanderbilt's Bill Alford picked off a pass in the second quarter. Clausen finished 15-of-29 for 262 yards and didn't play in the fourth quarter.

Boston College 34, No. 12 Virginia Tech 27

BLACKSBURG, Va. Paul Peterson threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Grant Adams with 4:40 to play and Boston College ruined Virginia Tech's Big East farewell party.

Derrick Knight, ran for 197 yards to become the Eagles career rushing leader, and clinched the victory by breaking loose for a 60-yard run. He also scored two TDs and broke Mike Cloud's school record of 3,597 yards. Knight has 3,603.

No. 13 Miami 34, Rutgers 10

MIAMI Brock Berlin threw two touchdown passes in a 28-point third quarter to help put Miami a victory away from a fourth consecutive Big East title and a berth in a BCS game.

Miami (9-2, 5-1) plays at No. 21 Pittsburgh next Saturday.

Sean Taylor returned an interception for a TD, Kevin Everett had two scoring catches and Jarrett Payton ran for 82 yards.

No. 16 Purdue 24, Indiana 16

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. Kyle Orton threw two touchdown passes to John Standeford, then found him again late for a 56-yard pass play to seal Purdue's victory.

By winning the Old Oaken Bucket for the sixth time in seven years, Purdue (9-3, 6-2) clinched a share of second in the Big Ten and solidified its hopes for a New Year's Day bowl game. Indiana (2-10, 1-7) closed its season by losing eight of its last nine.

Standeford had six catches for 151 yards and moved within four of passing Illinois' David Williams for the Big Ten career record.

No. 17 Iowa 27, Wisconsin 21

MADISON, Wis. Free safety Sean Considine broke up John Stocco's pass in the end zone on the final play to preserve Iowa's victory over Wisconsin.

Considine, whose interception of Matt Schabert's pass in the third quarter led to the Hawkeyes' go-ahead score, batted down Stocco's throw intended for Jonathan Orr on fourth-and-goal from the 4 with no time left.

No. 18 Miami, Ohio 49, Ohio 31

ATHENS, Ohio Ben Roethlisberger threw four touchdown passes, and Miami of Ohio rolled to its 10th straight victory.

The RedHawks (10-1, 7-0 Mid-American) shattered school records for points and yards in a season while extending their longest winning streak since 1975.

No. 19 Kansas St. 24, Missouri 14

MANHATTAN, Kan. Darren Sproles ran for a school-record 273 yards and two touchdowns, and Kansas State (9-3, 6-2) clinched the Big 12 North title with its sixth straight title.

Sproles, a junior who has run for 1,713 yards this season, also became Kansas State's career all-purpose yards leader and broke the school single-season rushing record for the second straight year.

Sproles, who had a school-record 43 carries, broke the mark of 252 yards set by Mike Lawrence against Iowa State in 1996.

No. 21 Pittsburgh 30, Temple 16

PHILADELPHIA Brandon Miree ran for a career-high 188 yards and two touchdowns for Pittsburgh in his first game since breaking his right leg Sept. 20 against Toledo.

The win kept the Panthers (8-3, 5-1) in contention to win at least a share of the Big East title and play in a BCS bowl.

Larry Fitzgerald, the nation's leading receiver, finished with seven catches for 102 yards. He scored twice to extend his NCAA record to consecutive games with a touchdown to 17.

No. 22 Bowling Green 41, Ball St. 14

MUNCIE, Ind. Josh Harris threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more scores for Bowling Green.

B.J. Lane scored on a 78-yard run and finished with 115 yards on six carries for Bowling Green (9-2, 6-1 Mid-American Conference). Ball State (4-8, 3-5) lost its fourth game in a row.

No. 24 Oklahoma St. 38, Baylor 21

WACO, Texas Vernand Morency had his second straight 200-yard game and Rashaun Woods had six catches for 125 yards and a touchdown for Oklahoma State.

Morency, filling in for injured Big 12 rushing leader Tatum Bell, ran for 227 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. Shawn Willis added a pair of 2-yard TD runs for the Cowboys (9-3, 5-3 Big 12).

No. 25 West Virginia 34, Syracuse 23

SYRACUSE, N.Y. Rasheed Marshall hit Chris Henry with touchdown passes of 24 and 67 yards in the fourth quarter and West Virginia survived a late scare to beat Syracuse.

It was the sixth straight victory for the Mountaineers (7-4, 5-1 Big East) and kept alive their chances of winning the conference title and securing the BCS bid that goes with it. The loss left Syracuse (5-5, 2-4) still needing one victory to qualify for the postseason with only two games left.

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