NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS

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    Oct. 25, 1997

    Northwestern Beaten by Ohio State, 49-6

    COLUMBUS, Ohio - Joe Germaine threw three touchdown passes and Pepe Pearson ran for two scores as ninth-ranked Ohio State scored 42 unanswered points to beat Northwestern, 49-6, in a battle of the past two Rose Bowl participants from the Big Ten Conference.

    The schools were meeting for the first time since 1994, and Northwestern, after years near the bottom of the conference, went to the Rose Bowl the following season. Ohio State, the defending Big Ten co-champions with the Wildcats, picked up right where it left off in the all-time series and won for the 20th straight time in the rivalry.

    The Buckeyes (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) remained in the hunt for the conference title. They are one game behind Michigan and Purdue and a half-game in back of Penn State and Wisconsin.

    "This is probably the most complete game we've played to date," said Buckeyes coach John Cooper. "Overall, we did a nice job of handling the football. They did a good job of getting the plays in, checking in the receivers. Joe (Germaine), boy was he hot."

    Northwestern (3-6, 1-4) lost for the fourth time in its last five games, and trails in the all-time series 51-13-1. The Wildcats, who were limited to a pair of first-half field goals by Brian Gowins, suffered their worst loss since a 51-3 setback to Ohio State on October 2nd, 1993.

    The Wildcats grabbed a 3-0 lead 3:13 into the game when Gowins booted a 27-yard field goal. They carried the lead into the second quarter, but Pearson dashed in from 13 yards, giving Ohio State a 7-3 lead with 12:02 to play in the first half.

    Northwestern pulled within 7-6 on a 36-yard field goal by Gowins, but the Buckeyes grabbed a 14-6 lead in the final minute of the first half as Germaine hooked up with Dee Miller on a 27-yard scoring pass.

    "A key turning point for us was at the end of the first half, when our offense failed to get a first down and we were forced to kick," said Northwestern coach Gary Barnett. "And they went right down and scored."

    I think that I went in at halftime and was more emotional than I usually get. Whether I took a chance and went the wrong way, I don't know."

    Ohio State began to pull away in the third quarter. Pearson slashed off tackle on the right side from six yards to push the lead to 21-6 just over four minutes into the third quarter.

    Stanley Jackson, who shares time with Germaine at quarterback, found Miller for a 10-yard TD toss with 1:56 left in the third quarter. After a Northwestern turnover, Germaine found David Boston on a post pattern from 35 yards on the final offensive play of the quarter to boost the margin to 35-6.

    Germaine and Tom Hoying hooked up on a 29-yard scoring play before third-stringer Mark Garcia threw the first touchdown pass of his college career, a 38-yard catch-and-run with Ken-Yon Rambo, who scored his first collegiate touchdown.

    The Buckeyes racked up 563 yards of total offense. Germaine completed 8-of-12 passes for 177 yards and Jackson added eight completions for 89 yards. Miller had five receptions for 96 yards and two scores while tailback Michael Wiley had 73 yards on 15 carries.

    "Offensively, we did what we had to do to win the game," added Cooper. "Moving the chains. Our wide receivers Dee (Miller) and David (Boston) did a nice job."

    Northwestern tailback Adrian Autry, who entered the game with 712 yards rushing, was held to 32 yards in 15 carries. Tim Hughes completed just 7-of-15 passes for 63 yards and the Wildcats were held to 164 yards of total offense.