No. 13 Michigan 5, Purdue 0
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ A muddy field, freezing temperatures and wind gusting to 50 mph made Michigan’s offense ineffective Saturday. So the No. 13 Wolverines rode Remy Hamilton’s field goal and Clarence Thompson’s safety to a 5-0 victory over Purdue.
It was the lowest-scoring game at Michigan Stadium since the Wolverines (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten) defeated Northwestern 7-0 in 1972. Michigan held Purdue (3-5-1, 1-4-1) to just four first downs, one in the first half.
Neither team looked very sharp. Michigan controlled the ball 37 minutes, 22 seconds, but the Wolverines gained only 283 yards on 79 plays.
It was snowing at kickoff. The National Weather Service said the temperature was 31 degrees with wind-chill making it feel like minus-5. A crowd of 103,721 was announced, but it appeared there were never more than about 70,000 actually in Michigan Stadium.
Michigan missed two field goal attempts and had one blocked. In the third quarter, the Wolverines started consecutive drives at Purdue’s 37, 37 and 26 but failed to score each time.
Clarence Williams appeared to score on a 12-yard run late in the third quarter, but it was called back when Zach Adami was caught holding. On the next play, an attempted pass by wide receiver Amani Toomer was intercepted, killing that drive.
Purdue, which had been averaging a Big Ten-best 252.3 yards on the ground, was held to 113 yards. The Boilermakers hurt their own cause, losing two of five fumbles and giving up one interception.
Hamilton, who missed a 50-yard attempt on Michigan’s first possession, hit one from 25 yards out the next time the Wolverines had the ball, with 3:33 left in the first quarter.
But even that had a comic element to it, capping a four-play drive that lost 5 yards. Michigan started the drive at the Purdue 2 when Craig Allen fumbled a punt and Michigan’s Sam Sword recovered.
The safety came with 11:47 left in the fourth quarter when Thompson roared in untouched from the right side to drop Purdue quarterback Rick Trefzger in the end zone.
The rest of the game was a series of miscues, mistakes and defense.
Time and again Brian Griese, playing his first game with his famous father in attendance, misfired on easy passes to open Michigan receivers. Griese completed 11-of-24 for 101 yards with one interception.
The Wolverines played the second half without Tshimanga Biakabutuka who pulled a right calf muscle after gaining 84 yards on 14 carries in the first half.
Michigan’s defense, the best in the Big Ten and third-best in the nation against the rush, held Purdue fullback Mike Alstott to 19 yards on 11 carries, breaking Alstott’s string of eight straight 100-yard rushing games. Coming in, Alstott needed only 35 yards to pass Otis Armstrong’s school record of 3,315 yards.
The Wolverines came up with five sacks on Trefzger, who completed 11-of-19 for 84 yards with one interception.
The Wolverines have won the last nine meetings and hold a 35-10 advantage in the series that dates to 1890. Purdue hasn’t won in Ann Arbor since 1966, when Bob Griese was quarterbacking the Boilermakers.