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Oct. 9, 1999

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Game stats
%^$ Notes and quotes%^$

%^$By RUSTY MILLER
%^$AP Sports Writer

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A wet field, a bad kick and a big hand helped Ohio%^$State beat Purdue.%^$

Brent Johnson blocked a potential tying field goal with 53 seconds left and%^$Steve Bellisari’s late 68-yard run preserved the lead as No. 21 Ohio State held%^$off No. 17 Purdue 25-22 Saturday.%^$

“That was a gutty performance,” Ohio State coach John Cooper said. “We’re%^$not the most talented team. This is not the best team we’ve had around here.%^$But what can I say? They laid it on the line today.”%^$

Quarterback Drew Brees drove Purdue from its own 20 to the Ohio State 14%^$with just under a minute left. Brees’ third-and-3 pass for Chris Daniels was%^$tipped away by Buckeye cornerback Nate Clements, and coach Joe Tiller sent his%^$field goal unit onto the field.%^$

“We weren’t able to cash in and had to settle for a field-goal attempt,”%^$Tiller said.%^$

But the 29-yard try by Travis Dorsch was a low line drive. Johnson, who%^$broke through the wall over the middle of the line, batted the ball down with%^$his right hand as he was falling to the soggy turf.%^$

“The opportunity presented itself. I was there and I made it happen,” the%^$junior defensve end said. “I was just happy I had a part in the game.”%^$

Dorsch said it was difficult to remember details of the pivotal play.%^$

“It’s hard to tell because everything happened so fast,” he said. “We’re%^$all out there with on common goal – to make the kick – and it didn’t happen.”%^$

Two plays later, Bellisari slashed through a gap around left end and raced%^$to the Purdue 21 to end the Boilermakers’ hopes.%^$

Ohio State (4-2, 1-1) took the lead for good on Jonathan Wells’ 2-yard run%^$with 5:13 remaining. Michael Wiley added the two-point conversion run after a%^$pass interference call against Purdue.%^$

Ohio State won despite being beaten in most statistical categories. Purdue%^$had more yards (380-369) and first downs (21-19) and kept the ball for almost%^$nine minutes longer than the Buckeyes.%^$

“It wasn’t a well-played game,” Cooper said. “We can play better than%^$that.”%^$

Not until Bellisari’s late dash on turf made slippery by an all-day rain did%^$the Buckeyes rush for more yardage than Purdue freshman tailback Montrell Lowe,%^$who piled up 153 yards on 25 attempts.%^$

The game was every bit as sloppy as the weather. Purdue had 12 penalties for%^$86 yards and Ohio State had three turnovers that led to 16 Boilermaker points.%^$The Buckeyes fumbled the ball twice in their last touchdown drive, but came up%^$with the recovery each time.%^$

“We were in a position to win in the fourth quarter and that’s what you%^$want,” Tiller said.%^$

Brees, heralded as a Heisman Trophy contender, completed 24 of 39 passes for%^$205 yards and was held without a touchdown pass for the first time in 19 games.%^$He came in averaging two touchdown passes and 322 yards passing per game.%^$

“It’s frustrating because we’ve been known as a team that if the offense%^$needs a score late, we can get it done,” Brees said. “But today we didn’t.”%^$

Bellisari struggled through the air, throwing two interceptions while%^$completing just 10 of 26 passes for 174 yards. But he ended up leading the%^$Buckeyes with 96 rushing yards on 17 carries.%^$

Purdue led 13-7 at the half, but Ohio State retook the lead on Wiley’s%^$7-yard halfback pass to tight end Darnell Sanders. Wiley lost two critical%^$fumbles in last week’s 42-17 loss to Wisconsin and was held out of the starting%^$lineup for missing a class this week.%^$

He has now completed eight of his nine career pass attempts and has thrown%^$for two touchdowns.%^$

After Dan Stultz’s 45-yard field goal put Ohio State ahead 17-13, Purdue%^$took a 22-17 advantage on Dorsch’s 22-yard field goal and Lowe’s 5-yard run at%^$the outset of the fourth quarter. Lowe’s TD was set up by Willie Fells’%^$interception and 29-yard return to the Ohio State 5.%^$

Purdue fumbled the opening kickoff and seven plays later Derek Combs%^$sidestepped two tackles on a 5-yard touchdown run.%^$

The Boilermakers pulled even after Adrian Beasley’s interception gave them%^$the ball at the Ohio State 27.%^$

After a first down, Brees handed the ball to wide receiver Vinny Sutherland%^$on the reverse. Sutherland stopped quickly at right end and lofted a looping%^$pass back to the left sideline. With no Ohio State defender within 15 yards,%^$Brees waited on the pass, tightroped along the sideline and completed the%^$12-yard scoring play.