Oct. 7, 2000
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Purdue kicker Travis Dorsch suffered long enough.
So on Saturday, Dorsch finally alleviated some of his angst.
He booted a 33-yard field goal with four seconds left, giving Purdue a 32-31 victory over No. 6 Michigan and finally giving Dorsch some solace.
"It's a good feeling," said Dorsch, whose first game-winning kick at Purdue (4-2, 2-1 in Big Ten) brought the Boilermakers their first victory over Michigan under fourth-year head coach Joe Tiller. "I think, you know, the one last week is looked at as the kick that lost the game for us. This one you can look as the kick that won the game for us."
The kick a week ago, at Penn State, had been the most recent failure on Dorsch's resume.
He also missed a 43-yarder against Georgia in overtime of the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, had another game-winner blocked at Ohio State late last season and this week was removed as the punter after Purdue had given up 37 points to its last three opponents.
And with 2:11 left Saturday, it looked like Dorsch might suffer yet another setback - when he missed a 32-yard attempt wide left.
But the Purdue forced a punt, and Drew Brees quickly guided the Boilermakers back into field goal position, providing Dorsch with a second chance.
"I didn't even warm up for the second kick," he said. "I stood on the sidelines the whole time. I felt like I'd been hitting the ball well, that I'd been getting through the ball quickly. By not warming up, I thought I could slow my leg down."
Which was more than either of the highly ranked defenses could do.
Instead, the Wolverines (4-2, 2-1) and Boilermakers found themselves mired in a wild shootout.
The teams combined for 960 yards in total offense.
Brees completed 32 of 44 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 80 yards. He also broke Chuck Long's Big Ten record for touchdown passes and Mark Herrmann's school record for passing yardage, Brees now has 76 touchdowns and 10,054 yards.
But Brees was far from the Boilermakers only weapon. Vinny Sutherland caught 11 passes for 127 yards, Montrell Lowe ran 22 times for 130 yards and four different players - Sutherland, Lowe, Steve Ennis and John Standeford - all scored touchdowns as Purdue rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit.
"Our team was playing with confidence as the game wore on," Tiller said of a defense that limited Michigan to just 79 yards in the second half. "Our team became, not just our defense but collectively as a team, something we talked about at halftime was believing."
Believing in spite of what Michigan had managed.
Drew Henson completed 26 of 35 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns. Anthony Thomas ran 21 times for 120 yards and one touchdown, and Marquise Walker caught nine passes for 63 yards and one touchdown.
But things changed dramatically after Michigan jumped to a 28-10 halftime lead.
"The biggest difference was the fact we stopped ourselves on a couple of drives in the fourth quarter," Wolverine coach Lloyd Carr said. "We had an opportunity with great field position at the Purdue 25 and we had to settle for a field goal."
Purdue didn't. It scored on all but two second-half possessions, getting a 1-yard run from Ennis and a 16-yard run from Lowe to make it 28-23 late in the third quarter.
Michigan extended its lead to 31-23 when Jeff Del Verne made a 34-yard field goal with 11:55 left.
But Purdue responded with another touchdown drive and then failed on its second 2-point conversion, making it 31-29.
With 2:11 to play, Dorsch got his first shot from the left hash mark, but missed.
Just 1:03 later, Dorsch was back for the game-winner.
"I'm happy for us as a team," Tiller said. "But there's no one I'm more pleased to see have success than Travis."