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Never call Ohio State ‘losers’

Nov 18, 2003 7:53 AM

Call them lucky, good, whatever you want -- except losers.

The Buckeyes showed everyone once again what they can do during crunch time to win a big game, even if it wasn’t pretty. This time it took a missed field goal by Purdue in overtime for Ohio State to get the win, 16-13.

OHIO STATE: To call the game with Purdue ugly was an understatement, but that has been the Buckeyes calling card all season. It really doesn’t matter how you do it, just as long as it gets done. Quarterback Craig Krenzel, threw for 226 yards on 15 of 29 passing. Ohio State is listed as a 6½-point underdog at Michigan.

PURDUE: QB Kyle Orton threw 47 times for only 249 yards on 27 completions. Purdue’s leading ground gainer managed just 60 yards. The Boilermakers finish their regular season at Indiana, where the visitors have been installed as a 25½-point favorite. Even with the big line, I like the favorite.

NORTHWESTERN: Northwestern had upset on its mind, but it was not meant to be in a 41-10 loss to Michigan. Even though the Cats looked like they were asleep against the Wolves, I feel they will wake up against Illinois. Most sports books have Northwestern listed as a 3½-point favorite.

MICHIGAN: The Wolverines trailed 7-3 before scoring three touchdowns and a field goal prior to halftime. RB Chris Perry got his second score of the day early in the second quarter. QB John Navarre backed him up with two touchdown passes, one to Braylon Edwards for 26 yards and one to Jason Avant for 22 yards. Navarre finished the game with 288 yards passing, on 22 of 31 accuracy.

IOWA: All season I have said the Hawkeyes are one of the most overrated teams in the Big Ten, but they looked very impressive in dismantling Minnesota at Iowa City, 40-22. QB Nathan Chandler was efficient all day, throwing for 208 yards on 18 of 28 accuracy with one touchdown and one pick. Iowa will end its regular season at Wisconsin, which is an early 1½-point favorite.

MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers managed to compile 563 yards of offense in their final regular season game, but five turnovers proved to be the downfall. QB Abdul-Khaliq was knocked out of last week’s game with a shoulder injury, but became the Gophers career leader in total offense. He threw for 384 yards on 28 of 46 passing but had one interception, three fumbles and no touchdowns.

WISCONSIN: Wide receiver Lee Evans loves playing Michigan State. In 2000, he grabbed the winning touchdown catch that broke State’s back. The following year he racked up 228 yards in receiving yardage and scored three times. This past Saturday, Evans caught nine from QB Jim Sorgi for 250 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-21 rout. Backup RB Dwayne Smith rushed for 213 yards on 21 attempts including three touchdowns.

MICHIGAN ST: The Spartans played Evans with man-to-man coverage all day, which was a huge mistake This one was all Badgers from the outset. QB Jeff Smoker had a mediocre day, throwing for 205 yards on 16 of 31 accuracy with a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions. The loss was the third straight for the Spartans. which hosts Penn State. I like the Spartans as a 4½-point favorite.

PENN ST: The Nittany Lions gained their first Big Ten win in a 52-7 romp over Indiana to snap a six-game losing streak,longest in Joe Paterno’s career at Penn State. The Lions had never lost to IU in nine career meetings. QB Zack Mills threw for three touchdowns and 173 yards. Two of those touchdowns went to WR Tony Johnson.

INDIANA: The Hoosiers actually looked like they came to play early, scoring the first points on a 12-yard touchdown pass from QB Matt LoVecchio to Glenn Johnson. But any hopes of keeping this game close were erased when the Hoosiers fell behind 21-7 at halftime. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had an incredible game, carrying 42 times for 203 yards.

Here are a few picks that caught my eye:

Iowa (+1½) at Wisconsin: The Badgers have been strong all season at home. Sorgi is really hitting his stride and Evans is grabbing everything that has been thrown to him. Their running game is effective no matter who is installed in the backfield. Iowa looked good last Saturday, but was helped by five Minnesota turnovers. WISCONSIN.

UCLA (+22½) at USC: The Trojans have been dominating the Pac 10 ever since a Sept. 27 loss to California. None of the games have been close and the Trojans seem to be getting better every week. The Bruins have lost three straight and have had trouble scoring. An easy call. USC.

Ohio St (+6½) over Michigan: The Wolverines are going to expose the Buckeyes for the team that they are. The Buckeyes are simply not good enough to win the Big Ten title. The Michigan crowd will be rocking at Ann Arbor. The Wolverines just have too many weapons. MICHIGAN.

Last week: 2-1. Season: 21-12.

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