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No. 4 Michigan Crushes Purdue

As showdowns go, this one was a bit of a dud.

Michigan's offense got balance from the passing of Tom Brady and the running of Anthony Thomas, and the defense did the rest as the fourth-ranked Wolverines ended No. 11 Purdue's winning streak at 10 games with a 38-12 victory Saturday.

"I liked it," Michigan cornerback Todd Howard said. "We've been looking forward to this game. We haven't overlooked anybody, but we were really looking forward to this game."

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Game summary

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  • "Last week our guys got an opportunity to play against a great runner (Wisconsin's Ron Dayne). We got to play against a great passer today."

    And the Wolverines handled both, setting up another showdown next week when they take on unbeaten archrival Michigan State at East Lansing.

    The key, as is frequently the case for Michigan (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten), was defense. The Wolverines held heralded Purdue quarterback Drew Brees to 20-of-49 passing for 293 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

    Brees had gone 107-of-172 for 1,315 yards and 10 TDs in Purdue's first four games. But he soon learned that racking up big numbers against the likes of Central Florida, Central Michigan and Northwestern isn't the same as playing Michigan.

    "We need some confidence as a team," Brees said. "I think you're going to see a new Purdue team next week. I think we've learned some things here. We're going to go into Ohio State with a new attitude and a new mind-set."

    Brees, who had been sacked just once all season, was sacked twice by the Wolverines. Michigan also harassed Purdue receivers into several drops.

    "As we got behind, we were forced to turn to the pass a little more," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. "When you get one-dimensional against a defense like this, you get in trouble."

    "Overall, all I can say is they're a better football team."

    Brady was 15-of-25 for 250 yards and Thomas carried 24 times for 116 yards for Michigan.
    "I think our team outperformed them," Brady said. "The defense outperformed them and the offense as a unit kind of outperformed them. But they're a great team. We still have a ways to go with this team."

    Purdue (4-1, 1-1) tried to confuse Michigan's defense by substituting as many five players at a time just before the snap. But the strategy didn't seem to bother the Wolverines much.

    Michigan finished with 489 yards, 171 on the ground, while holding Purdue to 396 yards just 68 on the ground.

    Brady, who had to leave last week's game at Wisconsin with a concussion, was especially sharp in the first quarter, passing for both of his touchdowns as the Wolverines built a 14-3 lead.

    "I'm just happy about being 5-0," Brady said. "It's always a big deal. Every time there's a quarterback situation, it's always a big deal. It's no different here."

    Drew Henson, who battled Brady for the starter's job during the non-conference portion of the schedule, played the second quarter and was 3-of-3 for 68 yards, including a 23-yard pass that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Thomas.

    Thomas, who has been the workhorse of Michigan's running attack, scored on runs of 1 and 5 yards. But he lost two fumbles one in the first quarter and one in the second and the Boilermakers turned both into field goals.

    Thanks to the Michigan defense, however, those were the only points Purdue could manage in the first half as the Wolverines built a 21-6 halftime edge.

    "It's great as a quarterback knowing that your defense is always there to play," Brady said.

    A 28-yard field goal by Travis Dorsch gave Purdue a 3-0 lead 2:40 into the game, marking the first time the Wolverines had been scored upon in the first quarter this season.

    Brady drove Michigan 83 yards in six plays, finishing the drive with an 18-yard touchdown toss to David Terrell.

    Brees drove the Boilermakers to Michigan's 16 on their next possession, but he fumbled a snap from the shotgun formation and linebacker James Hall recovered at the Michigan 31.

    A 39-yard run by Thomas jump-started a five-play drive that ended with Brady hitting Marcus Knight with a 17-yard scoring strike.

    Thomas carried seven times for 43 yards during a 63-yard, 10-play drive that ended on his touchdown and a 21-3 Michigan lead with 6:57 left in the second quarter.

    Dorsch, who missed a 42-yard attempt late in the first quarter, kicked a 31-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in the half.

    Brees hooked up with Vinny Sutherland for a 66-yard touchdown pass play with 8:24 left in the third quarter, but it was all Michigan after that.

    Thomas scored on a 5-yard run later in the third quarter. Freshman B.J. Askew had a 10-yard touchdown run and Jeff Del Verne kicked a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

    Purdue was seeking to reach 5-0 for the first time since 1945 and extend a 10-game winninstreak that was the school's longest since it won 11 straight in 1928-30.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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