Boilermakers Stun No. 9 Michigan, 9-3WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Rick Trefzger threw a tie-breaking five-yard touchdown pass to Brian Alford with 7:20 left as Purdue stunned number nine Michigan, 9-3, on Nov. 9, throwing a wrench into the Wolverines' Big Ten title hopes.
Michigan (7-2, 4-2) still has a shot at the Big Ten title, which Ohio State can clinch with a win next Saturday against a weak Indiana team.
Purdue (3-6, 2-4) gave departing coach Jim Colletto, who announced this week that he was resigning effective at the end of the season, his first win against Michigan in six tries. Also this week, Michigan gave coach Lloyd Carr an extension through the year 2000.
"This game was not for the coaches, it was for them, the players," Colletto said. "You've got to start someplace. I told the kids before the game to remember when they were eight years old and playing on Saturday afternoon and tearing their jeans. Enjoy it."
It was Purdue's first win over Michigan in 10 games since a 31-29 triumph on November 3rd, 1984, and their first over a top-10 team since edging then-number two Ohio State 28-23 on October 6th of the same season.
Trefzger was 20-of-30 for 170 yards and was not intercepted. He passed Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Bob Griese for sixth place on the school's all-time list with 4,158 passing yards.
"I've been here for five years and this is the greatest feeling I've ever had," Trefzger said. "Both sides of the ball played really well. When players had to make plays, we made them. Alford caught the touchdown pass and that was big."
The winning drive was set up when linebacker Chris Koeppen sacked Scott Dreisbach and recovered his fumble at the Michigan 33. Ed Watson, who finished with 45 yards on 17 carries, ran for 14 yards, and Kendall Matthews carried up the gut for another 14, bringing the ball down to the 5.
Dartanian Sanders lost a yard and Trefzger got it back before rolling left and finding Alford for the winning points on third down. The extra point attempt by Shane Ryan was blocked.
It was a complete turnaround for the Boilermakers, who had given up 106 points in losing their previous three games. Purdue had also dropped its three games against ranked opponents in 1996, losing at home to Ohio State and on the road to Notre Dame and Penn State.
The defense, which kept Purdue close in a 5-0 loss to Michigan last season, was able to hold off the Wolverines and maintain the late lead.
Derrick Brown picked off Dreisbach at the Purdue 6 and returned it 21 yards with 3:38 remaining. Purdue ran three plays for five yards and gave Michigan another chance following a 30-yard punt, but this time Jamel Coleman intercepted Dreisbach at the Purdue 28 with 56 seconds left to seal it.
"Anytime a football team losses their coach, you know that they are going to come out and be very excited, especially when they play Michigan," Dreisbach said. "We didn't take care of the ball today, turnovers killed us and we knew exactly what they were going to do defensively. They blitzed a lot, took some chances and we just couldn't do what we wanted to do. The idea was to beat their blitzes and we didn't get it done."
Brown and Coleman have combined for nine interceptions this season.
"We deserved this victory," Coleman said. "Everybody believed we'd come away with a win. We just came out and played ball, but most of all, we had fun."
The Boilermakers allowed Michigan just 56 yards rushing, though the Wolverines outgained them overall 289-268. Michigan was undone by five turnovers and had the ball for 13 less minutes than Purdue.
"It was lights out," Colletto said. "Our defense played phenomenally. We made plays and hung in there. ... I was mad when I saw the game programs. The cover said, 'Remember When.' Michigan didn't need incentive.
"Losing has been inbred here," Colletto admitted. "We were 0-18 against the four biggies (Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame) until today, now we're 1-18. Now we're moving in the right direction. This game was not a fluke. Our kids always play hard. Games are made by heart, by score and what the kids do. This win erases a lot of pain."
Ryan booted a 28-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to give Purdue a 3-0 lead. Michigan had three chances inside the Purdue 5 early in the second half before settling for Remy Hamilton's 21-yard field goal at 4:53 that tied the score for the final time.
"That was a command effort by Purdue," Carr said. "We made too many mistakes. Our defense played well enough to win, but we couldn't get it going on offense. We didn't block up front very well and we turned the ball over. ... Our chance for the Big Ten championship is out the window."
Michigan missed a golden opportunity for points late in the first half. Short-yardage fullback William Carr, who is normally a nose tackle, fumbled after a handoff as Purdue clinged to its small lead at the intermission. Koeppen again recovered the fumble.
"My emotion has skyrocketed," Koeppen said. "Having a chance to win all the way out and to finish my career on this positive note is great. I'm up in the clouds somewhere. This win is way up there, but every win is importnat. The last win is always the nicest."
GAME NOTES: Purdue's touchdown (a pass from Rick Trefzger to Brian Alford was the first in the series since 1994 (UM won 5-0 in Ann Arbor in 1995)...Chris Koeppen tied a school record with two fumble recoveries...Trefzger moved into the No. 6 spot all-time in passing yards at Purdue with 4,518. ... Michigan was held to its fewest points since 1985 (tied Illinois 3-3).
PURDUE 9, MICHIGAN 3Game 9, Nov. 9, 1996
(Attendance -- 39,328)
SCORE BY QUARTERS Michigan 0 0 3 0 -- 3 Purdue 0 3 0 6 -- 9 SCORING SUMMARY Second Quarter PU: Ryan 28-yard field goal, 7:22 Third Quarter UM: Hamilton 21-yard field goal, 10:07 Fourth Quarter PU: Alford 5-yard pass from Trefzger (Ryan kick), 7:20 TEAM STATATISTICS PU UM First Downs 19 16 Net Yards Rushing 46-98 32-56 Net Yards Passing 170 233 Passes (Att.-Comp.-Int.) 30-20-0 37-18-2 Total Net Yards 76-268 69-289 Possession Time 36:29 23:31 Punts 7-35.0 5-40.0 Penalties 8-62 5-47 Third Down Conversions 5-18 5-15 Total Turnovers 1 5 INDIVIDUAL LEADERS Rushing--Purdue: Watson 17-45, Matthews 11-44, Trefzger 16-8, Sanders 2-1. Michigan: Williams 14-42, Howard 9-31, Woodson 1-0, Carr 1-0, Dreisbach 7-(-17). Passing--Purdue: Trefzger 30-20-0 (1 TD), 170. Michigan: Dreisbach 37-18-2 (0 TD), 233. Receiving--Purdue: Alford 6-29, Tillman 4-52, Jewell 3-14, Matthews 2-0, Watson 2-18, Jones 1-24, Light 1-16, Olivadotti 1-17. Michigan: Shaw 4-51, Streets 3-65, Williams 3-18, Woodson 3-43, Tuman 2-45, Howard 1-(-2), Campbell 1-4, Anes 1-9. Tackle Leaders--Purdue: Koeppen 10, Okeafor 9, Hagins 8, Colvin 6, Krick 6, Brown 6, Coleman 6. Michigan: Sword 12, Ray 7, Copenhaver 7, Carr 6, Hankins 6, Hall 6.