Defense, long a staple at Michigan, has seemingly cost the Wolverines any chance for a national title this season.
Behind the passing of Kurt Kittner and the running of Rocky Harvey, Illinois reeled off four straight second-half touchdowns for a 35-29 upset of the No. 9 Wolverines yesterday in Ann Arbor, Mich.
"I have no idea how this team will rebound," Coach Lloyd Carr said after the Wolverines' second straight loss.
The Wolverines, favored by 24 1/2 points, built a 27-7 lead midway through the third quarter but the Fighting Illini (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten) reeled off four unanswered touchdowns.
"We certainly build our program around a solid defense that plays collectively and hustling," Carr said. "I didn't see much of that in the second half. They just ran through us.
"We're certainly anything but a good defensive team."
Kittner threw four touchdown passes--one to Harvey--and Harvey ran 54 yards for an insurance touchdown for the Illini, who had been forced to practice last Sunday after a lackluster loss to Minnesota a week earlier.
"This is why I came to the Big Ten," said Kittner, a sophomore who had never been in Michigan Stadium before. "It's the best conference. To play teams each week like Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State, we're trying to get where they are now--in the Top 10 and consistently in bowls."
The Wolverines fell to 5-2, 2-2.
Kittner completed 24 of 33 passes for 280 yards with no interceptions and Harvey rushed 17 times for 106 yards. Brady was 23 of 38 for 307 yards with two interceptions.
Runs Over Mich. St.
Ron Dayne ran Michigan State into the ground while running back into the Heisman Trophy race.
Dayne rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns as No. 17 Wisconsin shredded the nation's best run defense and routed No. 11 Michigan State, 40-10, in Madison, Wis.
Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez became the winningest coach in school history with his 67th victory, which he got while sitting in the press box to rest a sore knee. Alvarez passed Phil King, who won 66 games near the turn of the century.
Michigan State allowed 279 rushing yards in its first seven games. The Badgers racked up 301, including touchdowns runs of 51 and 15 yards by Dayne, who had just one of his 34 carries in the fourth quarter.
After a string of mediocre performances that put his season goals in jeopardy, Dayne was in top form during Wisconsin's last two home victories. The Spartans' front seven was thought to be one of the best in the country, but Michigan State had almost no success in containing Dayne.
Dayne passed Charles White (Southern California) for third place on the major-college career rushing list, and moved within 483 yards of ex-Texas Longhorn Ricky Williams's record. Dayne must average 161 yards in Wisconsin's final three games against Northwestern, Purdue and Iowa to set the mark.
No. 22 Ohio State
Ohio State's offense sputtered again but special teams came through, lifting the 22nd-ranked Buckeyes past No. 24 Minnesota, 20-17, in Minneapolis.
Dan Stultz kicked a 40-yard field goal with 1 minute 15 seconds left and Matt Wilhelm recovered Tyrone Carter's fumble on the ensuing kickoff as the Buckeyes (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) avoided their first 1-3 conference start since 1988 and extended their dominance over the Gophers to 16 straight games.
Jerry Westbrooks caused the fumble that secured Ohio State's improbable victory over the Gophers (5-2, 2-2), who dominated the game statistically until failing to gain a first down in three fourth-quarter possessions.
The Gophers were hoping for a number of firsts yesterday at the Metrodome--their first 6-1 start since 1967, their first victory over Ohio State since 1981 and their first victory over a ranked team in three years.
A victory over the Buckeyes also would have given Minnesota its first winning season since 1990 and made the Gophers eligible for a bowl bid for the first time since 1987. But they allowed the Buckeyes to hang around too long, then faltered in crunch time.
Ohio State's Steve Bellisari, benched for four second-half series, returned at quarterback and took a halfback option from Michael Wiley 28 yards to the Minnesota 24, setting up Stultz' 43-yard field goal that tied it at 17 with just over six minutes remaining.