WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- After sitting for the first 3½
quarters, Kyle Orton threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Dustin
Keller with 2:17 to play to lift Purdue to a 24-17 victory over
Ohio State on Saturday.
Orton, who started the game on the bench with a hip injury, was
inserted into the lineup in the fourth quarter after starter
Brandon Kirsch threw an interception.
Playing for the first time in more than two games, Orton entered
the huddle for his second series with the game tied 17-all and
drove the Boilermakers 80 yards in eight plays to snap their
four-game losing streak.
The senior completed all six of his passes for 51 yards, and
took advantage of a questionable pass-interference penalty on A.J.
Hawk on the drive.
The Buckeyes got the ball back with 2:12 to play, but Troy
Smith's pass glanced off the hands of freshman Ted Ginn Jr. and
Stanford Keglar intercepted to preserve the win for Purdue (6-4,
3-4 Big Ten).
The win was career victory No. 100 for coach Joe Tiller.
Tiller had been stuck on 99 for more than a month as his
Boilermakers' squandered a 5-0 start to the season with consecutive
losses to Wisconsin, Michigan, Northwestern and Iowa.
It was a fitting end for Ohio State (6-4, 3-4), which had three
turnovers in the fourth quarter to lose for the first time in four
Purdue cornerback Brian Hickman twice thwarted Ohio State drives
deep in Purdue territory to help make the Boilermakers bowl
eligible for the eighth straight season.
Hickman intercepted a pass in the end zone early in the fourth
and recovered a fumble on the Purdue 5 on the next series.
Ohio State played sloppy all day, committing four turnovers and
eight penalties, possibly caused by distractions from controversy
on campus this week.
In an interview with ESPN The Magazine released this week,
former Buckeyes star Maurice Clarett accused coach Jim Tressel, his
staff and school boosters of arranging for him to get passing
grades, cars and thousands of dollars, including for bogus summer
Athletic director Andy Geiger said many of them were found to be
baseless in investigations by the NCAA and the university.
Not surprisingly, the Buckeyes were slow out of the gates,
falling behind 17-3 in the first half.
Smith hit Santonio Holmes for a 30-yard touchdown in the third
quarter to make the score 17-10 and set up a wild fourth.
Replays showed that Holmes did not catch the ball, but officials
in the booth chose not to review the play.
After a sparkling first half in which Kirsch completed 16 of 23
passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns -- both to Kyle Ingraham --
Kirsch was yanked after he threw an interception to Quinn Pitcock
that gave the Buckeyes the ball on the Purdue 36.
The Buckeyes drove to the Purdue 6, but Antonio Pittman couldn't
hold on to a late option pitch from Smith and Hickman recovered to
end the threat.
But Ohio State came right back, forcing a punt on Orton's first
series of the game and driving 44 yards, culminating in a 5-yard
scoring run by Smith to tie the game.
That set up Orton's heroics, and the one-time Heisman hopeful
helped salvage his season with a clutch performance. He finished
the day 7-for-8 for 54 yards.
Ingraham had eight catches for 72 yards and two scores.
Smith threw for 192 yards and a touchdown and ran for 62 yards
and a score, but he threw three interceptions to lose for the first
time in four starts.
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