WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Michigan is proving that sometimes
experience isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Freshman Michael Hart rushed for 206 yards and Garrett Rivas hit
a 35-yard field goal with 2:45 to go to lift the Wolverines (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) to a 16-14 win over No. 12 Purdue on Saturday.
Hart broke Ricky Powers' record for rushing yards by a Michigan
freshman and also caught a touchdown pass from fellow freshman Chad
Henne to help the Wolverines (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) keep pace with No.
6 Wisconsin atop the conference.
"Michael Hart certainly has done his share," Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr said. "He's a special kid. He has a durability that is
just amazing for a kid who just graduated from high school a few
Michigan's talented teens, Hart and Henne, outplayed Purdue's
star seniors, Kyle Orton and Taylor Stubblefield.
Orton was 14-for-30 for 213 yards, a touchdown and an
interception and Stubblefield had just one catch for 10 yards.
The scene was all too familiar for Purdue (5-2, 2-2), which
again had a costly fumble late to lose its second game in a row
after starting the season with five straight wins for the first
time since 1945.
After Rivas' field goal, Orton hit Dorien Bryant on a crossing
pattern that moved the Boilermakers into Michigan territory.
But Michigan defensive back Markus Curry sent Bryant flying with
a low hit and Ernest Shazor hit him high, forcing a fumble that
Leon Hall recovered to seal the win. The play was reviewed by
replay officials and stood as called.
"It hurts, obviously," Bryant said. "Coaches and guys on the
team preach that a football game never comes down to one play, but
when something like that happens, you feel like it's all on your
Last week against Wisconsin, Purdue led 17-13 in the fourth, but
Orton fumbled on a similar high-low hit and Scott Starks returned
it 40 yards for the game-winning score.
"This was a very tough football game and now we've had two
heartbreakers," Orton said. "There's not much to say."
Rivas was shaky all day, missing a 38-yarder in the third and
also having a 32-yarder blocked by Bobby Iwuchukwu in the fourth.
The sophomore said Carr asked him if he was ready for another shot.
"I told him that he can always count on me," Rivas said. "I
don't think he was losing faith, he was just making sure I was
still on point."
He was, calmly drilling the biggest kick of the day to give the
Wolverines their sixth straight win, and fourth in a row over
While Rivas was the hero, Hart was the workhorse. A week after
going for 234 yards against Illinois, Hart used his speed and power
on 33 carries to tear up Purdue's run defense.
Henne was solid, throwing for 190 yards and a touchdown, but
wisely leaned on Hart.
Orton continued to struggle against Michigan and can probably
forget about winning the Heisman Trophy.
Michigan's defensive backs, which have dominated the Purdue
receivers in recent years, gave Orton little breathing room on
Saturday, sacking him three times and shutting down Stubblefield,
the Big Ten's career leading receiver.
"Obviously, all of those corners and the secondary did a great
job because we had some great hits and we tackled well," Carr
Orton said he thought the Wolverines were getting away with
"Our offense is based on timing and throwing the ball and
running clean routes and if you're getting held, if you're getting
interfered with, just make the obvious calls," Orton said.
But when they did give Purdue a crease, Orton made them pay.
Running back Brandon Jones blew past linebacker Scott McClintock
to haul in a 63-yard TD pass to give Purdue a 14-10 lead early in
Michigan then rode Hart right back into the game.
Hart had dazzling runs of 28 and 33 yards to set up a 25-yard
field goal by Rivas to make the score 14-13.
He then rushed for 28 yards on Michigan's game-winning drive.
"You see him just breaking off tackles; you don't think he's
going to get any yards and then he just breaks it off for 40
yards," said Henne, who hooked up with Hart for a 25-yard TD in
the first quarter. "He's just a great back."
The Boilermakers looked to be rolling early when they took their
opening possession 65 yards for a touchdown.
Surprisingly, Purdue relied mainly on the ground game during the
drive, getting 32 yards and a touchdown from Jerod Void against a
Michigan defense that came into the game leading the Big Ten and
fourth nationally in run defense.
But Void took a pitch left and easily scored on a 1-yard run to
put Purdue up 7-0.
From there on out, it was tough going for the Boilermakers. Void
managed just 16 yards the rest of the game, and Purdue managed just
263 yards of offense, over 200 short of their average.
"We're going to be tested now," Orton said. "I really thought
after a tough loss last week we came back and fought hard."