WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A 33-yard field goal by kicker Travis Dorsch with four seconds remainings propelled Purdue to a come-from-behind 32-31 victory against No. 6 Michigan at Ross-Ade Stadium Saturday afternoon (Oct. 7). The game was a tale of two halves, with Michigan (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) jumping out to a 28-10 lead during the first half and Purdue (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) storming back with 22 points in the second half to capture to the victory.
Junior quarterback Drew Henson (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS) led a first-half offensive explosion as the Wolverines scored touchdowns on every possession with four drives of 80 or more yards. Henson finished with a career-best 26 completions on 35 attempts and passed for 256 yards and three touchdowns. Senior tailback Anthony Thomas (Winnfield, La./Winnfield HS) rushed 21 times for 120 yards, including a 61-yard TD burst, and contributed three receptions for 24 yards.
Michigan took the opening kickoff of the game and proceeded to gain a 7-0 advantage as Henson led an 82-yard drive that took consumed 5:43. The Wolverines' score came on a seven-yard pass from Henson to junior wide receiver Marquise Walker (Syracuse, N.Y./Henninger HS). Henson completed all six passes for 52 yards on the 12-play drive, with Walker catching five passes for 34 yards and Thomas gaining 31 rushing yards on five carries.
The Boilermakers trimmed the Wolverines lead to 7-3 as Dorsch connected on a 24-yard field goal. Purdue moved 81 yards on 17 plays and had the ball first-and-goal from the nine-yard line but was unable to punch it in the end zone. Drew Brees completed 6-of-9 passing attempts for 58 yards and converted both third down attempts.
Michigan scored on its second possession of the game as Henson tossed a four-yard TD pass to fullback B.J. Askew (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain HS) on third-and-goal. The Wolverines moved 80 yards in 15 plays and consumed 7:01 of the clock and converted two third downs. Henson completed 5-of-6 passing attempts for 32 yards on the drive with Thomas gaining 16 on six carries and junior tailback Walter Cross (Fort Washington, Md./Oxon Hill HS) gained 20 yards on one carry.
The Wolverines kept the Boilermakers from scoring on their second possession as junior cornerback Todd Howard (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook HS) intercepted a Brees pass in the end zone. Purdue had moved down to the U-M 17-yard line after a 21-yard scramble by Brees and a 16-yard run by tailback Montrell Lowe but was unable to capitalize as Howard stepped in front of the receiver in the left corner of the end zone.
After the turnover, the Wolverines jumped out to a 21-3 lead as Thomas scored on a 61-yard run down the left side of the field. The six-play scoring drive took six plays and 1:56, with Henson completing both passes for 13 yards and converting a third down with a one-yard keeper. Thomas moved over the 100-yard rushing mark on the scoring run -- 12 carries for 108 yards to that point -- and scored his team-leading seventh touchdown of the year.
The Boilermakers closed the gap to 21-10 with 1:50 remaining in the second quarter as Brees hit wide receiver Vinny Sutherland for a 25-yard touchdown. Brees completed all four passing attempts for 62 yards on the nine-play drive, including three passes to Sutherland for 50 yards.
Using their two-minute offense, the Wolverines managed to put another seven points on the board before half as Henson threw a 15-yard scoring strike to junior wide receiver David Terrell (Richmond, Va./Huguenot HS) with 13 second remaining in the half. Henson completed a first-down fullback screen to Askew that gained 36 yards after Michigan was backed to its 11-yard line to start the series. Henson completed 6-of-8 passing attempts for 97 yards on the drive, including four passes to Terrell (50 yards) and an 11-yard pass to Walker.
Purdue took the second half kickoff and trimmed the lead to 28-16 as running back Steve Ennis scored on a one-yard run. Brees completed all three passing attempts for 19 yards, while the ground game contributed 56 yards on eight carries. The Boilermakers' two-point conversion attempt was no good as sophomore cornerback Brandon Williams (Omaha, Neb./Central HS) batted the ball away from the intended receiver.
After Purdue forced Michigan into the game's first punt, the Boilermakers moved to within a touchdown with a score on their second straight series of the half. The 80-yard scoring drive on 13 plays was capped by a 16-yard scoring run by Lowe. Brees rushed three times for 15 yards and completed 6-of-7 passes for 40 yards.
With a tenuous 28-23 lead, the Wolverines forced the Boilermakers to their first punt of the ball game (14:04 left in the game) and capitalized as placekicker Jeff Del Verne (Sylvania, Ohio/Toledo St. John's HS) connected on a 34-yard field goal. Ronald Bellamy (New Orleans, La./Archbishop Shaw HS) took the short punt from Purdue and returned it 23 yards to the Purdue 24-yard line. The Wolverines were unable to gain a first down, gaining eight yards on the four-play drive, and were hurt by an 11-yard holding penalty to start the possession.
Purdue pulled within two points as Brees connected with wide receiver John Standeford on a 10-yard third-down scoring play. Brees' attempted two-point conversion play was dropped by tight end Tim Stratton and the Wolverines kept a tight 31-29 advantage. The 80-yard scoring drive took 12 plays and consumed 5:10 of the clock.
Michigan started its next series at the 15-yard line but was unable to gain a first down, relinquishing possession to the Boilermakers. Junior punter Hayden Epstein (Cardiff, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) notched a 40-yard punt with Sutherland providing Purdue possession inside U-M territory with a six-yard return.
With excellent field position at the Michigan 48-yard line, Brees led the Boilermakers inside the Wolverine 10-yard line before Michigan's defense stopped the drive and forced a field goal. Dorsch pulled the attempted go-ahead score wide left and Michigan gained possession at its 20-yard line.
Unable to gain a first down, Epstein punted 40 yards to the Purdue 31-yard line and Sutherland returned it 10 yards. Brees engineered the game-winning scoring drive, completing 4-of-5 passing attempts for 28 yards and rushing once for 10 yards. Dorsch connected on the 33-yard game-winning field goal attempt with four seconds remaining.
Michigan returns to Michigan Stadium for a pair of home game against Big Ten Conference foes Indiana (Oct. 14) and Michigan State (Oct. 21). The Wolverines host their 100th Homecoming game -- and 11th vs. the Hoosiers -- beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT on ABC Sports.
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423