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2003
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Michigan State and Purdue Remain Undefeated In Big 10

by Mike Mitchell
10/19/03 2:37 am edt

The computer went 41-10 straight up and 26-23 against the spread on a weekend that produced only a few mild surprises.

Oklahoma, Miami (Fla.), TCU and Northern Illinois all remained undefeated. The nation's only other unbeaten team, Virginia Tech, was idle Saturday as it prepares to travel to West Virginia for a Wednesday night game.

The top-ranked team in the Congrove Computer Rankings, the Oklahoma Sooners, scored 21 points in the final seven minutes of the first half to break away from a 10-10 tie and secure a 34-13 win over Missouri. Anthony Perkins contributed to that spurt with an NCAA record-tying 7th career punt return for a touchdown.

Other Big 12 action saw 21st-rated Nebraska rebound from last week's loss to Missouri with a resounding 48-12 victory over Texas A&M. The Aggies have not won in Lincoln since 1955 and have lost nine of the eleven games in the series.

No. 18 Oklahoma State outscored 8th-ranked Texas Tech 51-49 as the Cowboys gave up almost all of a 48-14 third quarter lead. The Red Raiders drew to with two points with 3:51 left but B. J. Symons was intercepted with 1:05 remaining to end the comeback. The two teams combined for 1,334 yards offense.

Oklahoma is now the only team in the Big 12 that has not lost a conference game. The Sooners have sole possession of first in the South Division standings. Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech all trail with a single conference loss.

The 13th-ranked Longhorns stayed in the mix with a 40-19 stroll at Iowa State.

Nebraska is tied with surprising Kansas for the top spot in the North Division after Colorado and Missouri all tasted their second losses in Big 12 play.

Kansas State halted its three-game losing streak with a 49-20 pasting of Colorado, and Kansas picked up a 28-21 win over Baylor.

No. 2 Miami struggled early at home against Temple but broke away for a 52-14 rout after leading just 24-14 at halftime.

In other Big East games on Saturday, the Orangemen regrouped from the 51-7 pounding they received at Virginia Tech last week by putting a 39-14 squeeze on Boston College. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, held on for a 42-32 win over Rutgers in the Panthers' conference-opener.

Miami and Virginia Tech are undefeated over-all and Pittsburgh is unbeaten in conference play. West Virginia and Syracuse each have just one conference loss.

Fourth-ranked Florida State took firm control of the ACC with a 19-14 win at Virginia. The Seminoles are 5-0 in conference play and their closest challenger is Maryland. The Terrapins, who were idle on Saturday, only have one loss but that was to FSU.

Virginia, Clemson, N.C. State, Wake Forest, and Georgia Tech each have two ACC losses. The Wolfpack edged Clemson 17-15 on Thursday night, and the Demon Deacons blistered Duke 42-13 on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets did not play.

No. 5 Southern California ran away from a 14-14 first-quarter tie at Notre Dame and rolled to a 45-14 victory. The Trojans trail Washington State and UCLA in the PAC-10, both of whom kept their conference records unblemished with victories on Saturday.

The 12th-rated Cougars knocked off Stanford, 24-14.

The 36th-ranked Bruins escaped California with a 23-20 overtime win after the Bears tied the game on a touchdown pass and two-point conversion with just 11 seconds left in regulation. Cal's 50-yard field goal hit the upright after UCLA had already connected on a 41-yard field goal on their overtime possession.

No. 15 Oregon State was knocked out of a tie for the PAC-10's top spot when 59th-rated Washington surprised the Beavers with a 38-17 upset in Corvallis. The Huskies were coming off of a shocking home loss to Nevada last week and had lost two in-a-row.

In another contest involving a PAC-10 team, Skyler Fulton caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Walter on the last play of the game to lift Arizona State to a 33-31 win at North Carolina. The score completed a 61-yard 6-play drive in the final 45 seconds for the Sun Devils.

Ohio State, ranked sixth by the computer heading into the weekend, scored a 19-10 win over number 11 Iowa. But the Buckeyes trail Michigan State and Purdue in the Big 10.

Michigan State, ranked just 31st by the computer as they entered the weekend, could climb significantly in the rankings after improving to 4-0 in the conference. The Spartans held off a valiant Minnesota comeback for a 44-38 win over the 17th-ranked Golden Gophers. Michigan State owned a 44-24 lead with just under seven minutes left but Minnesota pieced together two touchdown drives in a little more than four minutes to climb back in it. The rally ultimately stalled when Minnesota could not recover the onside kick with 2:02 still left on the clock.

No. 10 Purdue is now 3-0 in the Big 10 after Ben Jones kicked an 18-yard field goal with 3 seconds left to lift the Boilermakers to a 26-23 win at 14th-ranked Wisconsin. The game-winning kick came just 2:52 after the Badgers had tied the game on a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown by Jim Leonhard. It was Wisconsin's first conference loss of the year and comes just a week after the Badgers had halted Ohio State's 19-game winning streak.

No. 19 Michigan, which also only has one conference loss, is still in the thick of the Big 10 title chase after a 56-14 destruction of Illinois on Saturday.

No. 7 Georgia continues to lead the SEC East after handing Vanderbilt their 22nd consecutive SEC defeat, 28-7, in Nashville.

No. 26 Auburn could surge in the rankings after climbing to 4-0 in the SEC West with a 45-13 rout of Mississippi State, a day after the Bulldogs announced Jackie Sherrill will retire from MSU after the season.

No. 29 Ole Miss is the only other SEC team without a loss. The Rebels improved to 3-0 in the West with a 43-28 win over Alabama and will also likely climb higher.

16th-ranked LSU stayed alive for the stretch run as the Bayou Bengals rebounded from last week's loss to Florida with a 33-7 clobbering of South Carolina.

No. 42 Florida should also move up after send then 9th-ranked Arkansas to a second consecutive defeat with a 33-28 win in Fayetteville. But the Gators almost squandered a 33-7 lead as the Razorbacks scored three touchdowns in a four-minute span of the final quarter and had just intercepted the Gator quarterback when a Hog was penalized for roughing the quarterback. The penalty allowed Florida to keep possession and run out the clock.

The Gators are off until their November 1 date in Jacksonville with Georgia.

No. 20 Miami (Ohio) busted Ball State 49-3 to stay unbeaten in MAC play and on top of the East Division. Marshall, which handed Buffalo its 18th consecutive loss, trails the RedHawks by a game. Everyone else in the division has at least two conference losses.

No. 24 Northern Illinois remained unbeaten over-all with a 37-10 win over Western Michigan. But two West Division challengers, Bowling Green and Toledo, are also undefeated in conference play.

The Rockets blew past Central Michigan 31-13, while the Falcons soared over Eastern Michigan 33-20.

No. 22 TCU kept its perfect season intact, though the Horned Frogs struggled to a 27-24 victory over UAB.

TCU and Southern Miss are unbeaten in CUSA play. Houston, Louisville and South Florida trail with one conference loss.

Florida State transfer Eric Shelton scored three rushing touchdowns as 37th-ranked Louisville romped to a 47-28 CUSA win over Tulane on Friday night.

Tulane's Mewelde Moore had 180 all-purpose yards to become just the second player in NCAA history to have 4,000 career rushing yards and 2,000 career receiving yards. Stanford's Darrin Nelson was the first to accomplish the feat before he went on to an NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings in 1982.

Houston suffered its first CUSA loss of the year, and just its second over-all, when the Cougars were caged by Memphis 45-14 on Saturday.

The 23rd-ranked Boise State Broncos bucked the SMU Mustangs,45-3. Boise State and 46th-ranked Nevada are both unbeaten in WAC play. Nevada kept pace with the Broncos by dropping Tulsa 28-21.

Hawaii kept their WAC title hopes alive with a 44-41 win at Louisiana Tech.

No. 38 Utah strengthened its grip on the Mountain West with a 28-10 win at UNLV. The Utes are the only unbeaten team in MWC play after 45th-ranked Colorado State racked up 566 yards and sent 33rd-rated Air Force to its first conference loss of the season, 30-20, on Thursday night. The Falcons now trail Utah in the Mountain West while the win helped the Rams maintain their hold on third place in the conference.

In the Sun Belt, 64th-ranked North Texas kept its conference mark clean with a 37-27 win over Utah State, handing the Aggies, 1-6 over-all, their first conference loss. Middle Tennessee, 2-5 over-all, is also unbeaten in Sun Belt play after posting a 28-21 victory over Idaho.

Among Independents, Navy fried Rice 38-6 to improve to 5-2 and top the standings among the four unaligned teams.

UConn upgraded its record to 5-3 with a 34-31 come-from-behind overtime win at Kent State. Dan Orlovsky completed a 17-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion toss to tie the game at 28 apiece with 1:51 left in regulation. He then threw a game-winning 14-yard touchdown pass in overtime.

Troy State is third among Independents after a 21-10 win over 1-AA Florida International, an upstart program in its second year and coached by former NFL quarterback Don Strock.

Notre Dame, now just 2-4 after the loss to USC, sits in the Independents' basement.

Monkey Off Back: East Carolina put an end to its 8-game losing streak by with a 38-32 win at still-winless Army. The Cadets were playing their first game under interim coach John Mumford after he replaced Todd Berry when Berry was fired last Monday (10/13).

Louisiana-Lafayette snapped a 9-game losing streak and picked up their first win of the season on Thursday night with a 26-24 win over New Mexico State. Sean Comiskey kicked a 21-yard field goal with 8 seconds left. The Ragin' Cajuns entered the game as 7-1/2-point home underdogs after losing last week to then-winless Louisiana-Monroe at home.

Army, SMU and Buffalo are the last three teams still searching for an initial win.

Still Streaking: Buffalo lost its 18th straight game by a 26-16 count to Marshall.

Army lost for the ninth consecutive time with a 38-32 setback to previously-winless East Carolina.

SMU lost its seventh straight as Boise State beat the Mustangs, 45-3.

Duke lost its 29th consecutive ACC game as Wake Forest whipped the Blue Devils, 42-13.

Rutgers lost a Big East game for 25th straight time. The Scarlet Knights fell 42-32 to Pittsburgh despite outscoring the Panthers 25-0 in the 2nd half.

Vanderbilt fought hard but lost its 21st straight game to SEC foes, and 11 straight to 1-A teams, as Georgia turned back the Commodores, 27-8. Vanderbilt clinched its 21st consecutive losing season.

Baylor fell to 5-54 lifetime in the Big 12 when Kansas scored a 28-21 win over the Bears.

Conference Realignment: Rice, SMU and Tulsa will leave the WAC to join CUSA.

Louisville is expected to announce within weeks that they will be leaving CUSA to join the Big East as conference realignment has shifted into overdrive. It all began with the migration of Miami, Virginia Tech and, most recently, Boston College from the Big East to the ACC.

Other dominoes will surely fall over the next several months. By the time we get around to previewing the 2004 season, we won't hardly recognize much of the conference road map.

Coaching Milestone: With Penn State idle, Bobby Bowden tied Joe Paterno for most career 1-A coaching victories at 338 when Florida State eked out a 19-14 win at Virginia.

Bowden is 338-97-4 in 38 seasons, 28 at Florida State. Paterno is 338-105-3 at Penn State.

The End Is Coming: Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill announced Friday that he will retire at the end of the season. Sherrill has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of his teams' demise. The Bulldogs are 2-5 this year, and just 8-22 over the last three seasons. They have also won just 3 of their last 17 SEC games.

Tracking the new coaches: There were eighteen head coaching changes in the off-season and all of them now have at least one win this year.

John Thompson at East Carolina was the last. The Pirates beat Army 38-32 on Saturday.

Ironically, it was John Mumford's first game as coach of the Cadets. Mumford had been named earlier in the week as the interim replacement for Todd Berry when he was fired on Monday (10/13).

So, now we are looking for the first victories by Mumford and Mike Hankwitz. Hankwitz replaced the fired John Mackovic at Arizona three weeks ago. He is 0-2 and the Wildcats were idle on Saturday.

Superlatives: Washington's Charles Frederick had an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown, and touchdown receptions of 87 and 35 yards, in the Huskies' 38-17 win at Oregon State. Frederick hauled in a total of 9 passes for 216 yards. In Washington's previous six games, Frederick had a total of 313yards receiving.

Carnell Williams broke Joe Cribbs' 25-year old school record with 6 TDs in 45-13 Auburn win over Mississippi State. "Cadillac" ran for 161 yards. Brandon Jacobs added 182.

Purdue QB Kyle Orton complete 38-of-55 passes for 411 yards and a touchdown in the Boilermakers' 26-23 win over Wisconsin. Taylor Stubblefield and John Standeford caught a combined 30 of those completions for 314 yards. It should have been 26 more yards but relpays showed officials erred in ruling Standeford stepped out of bounds on a 76-yard score and marked him down after a 50-yard gain.

Oklahoma State RB Tatum Bell rushed for 238 yards, 3 TDs in the Cowpokes wild 51-49 win over Texas Tech.

Texas Tech QB B.J. Symons completed 42-of-67 passes for 552 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs and ran for a score in the Red Raiders' 51-49 loss to Oklahoma State.

USC quarterback Matt Leinart, 4 TDs in a 45-14 rout of Notre Dame.

Michael Turner rushed for 173 yards and 2 TDs as Northern Illinois stayed unbeaten with a 37-10 win over Western Michigan.

Sophomore receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught 8 passes for 207 yards and 2 TDs - all in the first half - asPittsburgh held off Rutgers for a 42-32 win.

Quarterback Ell Roberson got Kansas State back in the win column with 3 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs in a 49-20 win over Colorado. He set school career records for touchdowns and total offense in the process.

Boise State QB Ryan Dinwiddie threw for 509 yards and 4 TDs in the Broncos' 45-3 win over SMU.

Michigan RB Chris Perry ran for 140 yards and scored 3 TDs as Michigan beat Illinois 56-14. Perry became the seventh Wolverine to surpass the 3,000 yards rushing.

Antonio Perkins tied a Division I-A record with seven career punt returns for touchdowns in Oklahoma's 34-13 win over Missouri. He has 4 punt returns for TDs this season.


2003 POST-GAME ARCHIVES
12/07: Kansas St. Surprises Everyone But Themselves...
11/30: Miami Takes Big East Title; BCS Must...
11/23: Oklahoma, USC Each One Win Away....
11/16: Conference Races Come Into Focus....
11/09: 8 Of Top 25 BCS Teams Take A Hit
11/02: Hokies Blow Away Hurricanes....
10/26: NIU Dropped From List Of Unbeatens....
10/19: Michigan State and Purdue Remain....
10/12: Win Streak Ends At 19 For Ohio State; Six....
10/05: Tennessee, Air Force, Louisville Fall
09/28: Unbeaten Ranks Shrink With Losses By USC...
09/21: Marshall Leads Mighty MAC Conquest .....
09/14: Upsets Will Rock The Rankings.....