Barry Alvarez's voice was ringing in John Palermo's ears, and his videotaped pep talk was fresh in his players' minds.
With their coach watching from a hospital room 75 miles away, the 20th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers edged No. 25 Minnesota, 20-17, yesterday on Vitaly Pisetsky's 31-yard field goal in overtime in Minneapolis.
"I didn't feel any frustration [in Alvarez's voice]. I imagine the people at Mayo were ready to throw him out," said Palermo, Wisconsin's defensive line coach who guided the Badgers with his boss stuck at the Mayo Clinic, where he's awaiting a knee transplant.
The 52-year-old coach watched the game on a big screen TV and talked to his coaches by telephone from his hospital room.
"I felt like Barry was there every day this week in practice," Palermo said. "I'd look over and expect to see him on the sideline in his golf cart. Inspirationally, he was there for us every day."
And he was there on the small screen Friday night.
"He just gave us the message like he does every week," center Casey Rabach said. "It was just like he was there. I don't think coach really wanted it to be inspirational, but a lot of us took it that way."
OHIO ST. 25, PURDUE 22: Brent Johnson blocked a potential tying field goal with 53 seconds left, and Steve Bellisari's late 68-yard run preserved the lead for the No. 21 Buckeyes against the No. 17 Boilermakers in Columbus, Ohio.
"That was a gutsy 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 20 to the Ohio State 14 with just under a minute left. Brees's third-and-three pass for Chris Daniels was tipped away by Buckeyes cornerback Nate Clements, and Coach Joe Tiller sent his field goal unit onto the field.
GA. TECH 31, UNC 24: Despite throwing two interceptions and fumbling twice, quarterback Joe Hamilton remained upbeat going into overtime.
Hamilton set up the tying field goal by freshman Luke Manget with five seconds left in regulation, then scored on a six-yard run in overtime to lift the No. 7 Yellow Jackets at home.
"You have to forget about the bad plays," Hamilton said. "I don't win games by myself, and I don't lose games by myself."
The Tar Heels (1-4, 0-4) lost starting quarterback Ronald Curry early in the second period with a torn Achilles' tendon. A two-sport starter, he also is expected to miss the entire basketball season.
PENN STATE 31, IOWA 7: Its 500 yards of offense notwithstanding, the No. 2 Nittany Lions' victory was harder than it looked.
In Iowa City, they needed a goal-line stand in the second half and a break from a penalty to subdue the Hawkeyes, who only a week ago looked helpless in a 49-3 loss to Michigan State.
Long touchdown runs by Eddie Drummond and Eric McCoo also helped the disposition of Coach Joe Paterno, who had been grousing about his team's carelessness and lack of discipline.
"Yes, I think our precision was better today," Paterno said after his team improved to 6-0 overall, 2-0 in the Big Ten. "I thought we played pretty well--both sides of the ball. I think overall we've improved, but we're certainly not good enough yet."
TENNESSEE 37, GEORGIA 20: Tee Martin ran for three touchdowns and threw for another to lead the No. 6 Volunteers past the No. 10 Bulldogs in Knoxville, Tenn.
The Volunteers (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) also got a 100-yard kickoff return from Leonard Scott to became the first team to beat Georgia (4-1, 2-1) nine straight times.
The Vols' victory also forged a three-way tie at the top of the SEC Eastern Division among Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.
Before leaving with an injured right (throwing) wrist in the fourth quarter, Martin led the Vols to 458 total yards. He completed 21 of 35 passes for 283 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. The extent of Martin's injury was not immediately known.
FLORIDA 31, LSU 10: Two years ago, when fans tore down the goal posts to celebrate the upset of the then-No. 1 Gators, Robert Gillespie was on the Tigers' sideline cheering for the team for which he expected to play.
Things never quite worked out as Gillespie planned, and he scored two touchdowns for the No. 8 Gators yesterday, including one with 45 seconds left that ensured a victory.
"Some of the guys in the line were questioning why we didn't down the ball," Gillespie said. Quarterback "Doug Johnson came in, fired guys up and said we were going to put it in."
A visit to Florida convinced Gillespie he would rather play there than try to help the Tigers build a winning record.
"At Florida we always expect to win," Gillespie said. "We expected it today."
MISSISSIPPI ST. 18, AUBURN 16: While the rest of the conference grabs all the attention, the No. 14 Bulldogs just keep winning and jump-started their offense with two late touchdowns in Auburn, Ala. The win moved Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) to 6-0 for the first time in 55 years.
NEBRASKA 49, IOWA ST. 14: Eric Crouch threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the No. 4 Cornhuskers rolled at home. Correll Buckhalter and Dan Alexander each topped 100 yards rushing, and Derrahn Diedrick ran for 99 for the Cornhuskers (6-0, 3-0 Big 12), who haven't lost to Iowa State in Lincoln since 1977.
BYU 38, CAL 28: Kevin Feterik threw four touchdown passes for the second straight week, and the No. 24 Cougars spoiled a return to Provo, Utah, by Bears Coach Tom Holmoe, a standout cornerback at BYU from 1980 to '82 who, after a seven-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, returned to Provo as a graduate assistant from 1990 to '91.
SO. MISS. 39, E. CAROLINA 22: The Golden Eagles got three touchdown passes from Jeff Kelly and 171 yards rushing from workhorse Derrick Nix to beat the previously unbeaten Pirates in Greenville, N.C.
ARIZONA 31, SOUTHERN CAL 24: Trung Canidate ran for 194 yards on 31 carries--his fourth consecutive 100-yard game--and scored one of two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and Dennis Northcutt had eight catches for 121 yards to become the school's career receiving yardage leader in an upset of the visiting No. 22 Trojans.
TEXAS 38, OKLAHOMA 28: Major Applewhite passed for three touchdowns, and Hodges Mitchell rushed for 204 yards and a touchdown as the No. 23 Longhorns rallied from a 17-0 first-quarter deficit in Dallas.
TEXAS A&M 45, BAYLOR 13: In College Station, Tex., Randy McCown revived a dormant offense with three third-quarter touchdown passes as the No. 13 Aggies rebounded from their first loss of the season.
KANSAS ST. 50, KANSAS 9: Jonathan Beasley threw for two touchdowns and rushed for three as the No. 9 Wildcats won their 18th straight Big 12 regular season game by overcoming a school-record 162 penalty yards in Manhattan, Kan.