WEST LAFAYETTE (AP) Kurt Kittner hardly started the game looking like the leading passer in the Big Ten.

Paul Wong
Illinois Christian Morton capitalizes on a Brandon Hance interception for one of the Illini”s two defensive touchdowns in their 38-13 win.<br><br>AP PHOTO

Three interceptions, 11 yards passing in the first quarter and a halftime deficit had Illinois on the ropes.

But when Purdue couldn”t capitalize on the turnovers, Kittner and the Illinois defense found a way to win.

Kittner threw for 304 yards, Brandon Lloyd caught six passes for 112 yards and Illinois returned two interceptions for touchdowns as the Illini beat Purdue 38-13 Saturday.

This was the first time in the 79-game history of the series both teams were ranked.

As a freshman in 1998, Kittner was 5-for-11 for 31 yards, two interceptions and a fumble in a 42-9 loss to the Boilermakers. In his first game against Purdue since then, he was on track for a repeat performance.

Kittner said he needed to show some leadership when the Illini trailed.

The Illini (4-1 Big Ten, 7-1 overall) handed the Boilermakers just their fourth loss at Ross-Ade Stadium since 1997 and first since losing to Wisconsin on Nov. 6, 1999.

Kittner, the Big Ten”s leader in passing and touchdown passes, finished 15-for-34 with four interceptions and two touchdowns.

Ohio State 31, Minnesota 28: Ohio State had squandered leads of 17 and 18 points in losing its last two Big Ten games. The Buckeyes weren”t thinking about doing it again.

They were more concerned about climbing back in the conference race.

Steve Bellisari had one of the best games of his career completing 17-of-22 passes for 203 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 31-28 win over Minnesota Saturday night. He rushed for 66 yards and wasn”t sacked.

Ohio State (3-2, 5-3) moved a game back of the Wolverines and Illinois in a three-way tie for third place.

Jonathan Wells ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns for the Buckeyes. He scored from one yard out with 3:01 remaining in the third quarter to put Ohio State up 21-20 probably the biggest play of the game.

The Gophers (1-4, 3-5) dropped to last place in the Big Ten and must win their last three games at Michigan, at Iowa and Wisconsin at home to earn their third straight bowl bid. Minnesota coach Glen Mason, who lost out to Tressel last spring for the Ohio State job, missed a chance to beat his alma mater for the second straight season.

Asad Abdul-Khaliq, putting an apparent end to Minnesotas quarterback rotation by starting his fourth straight game, rushed eight times for 47 yards and a touchdown. He completed 11 of 21 passes for 120 yards.

A two-yard touchdown run by Thomas Tapeh and a 44-yard field goal by Nystrom as time expired in the second quarter cut the lead to 14-13.

Ron Johnson had four receptions for 59 yards and passed Tutu Atwell to become Minnesotas all-time leader in receiving yards with 2,661.

Minnesota wide receiver Antoine Burns had promised a Gophers victory earlier in the week, prompting a healthy round of trash talk between players from both teams. Ohio State had pinned Burns comments up in its lockerroom in Columbus.

Indiana 56, Northwestern 21: Indiana”s Antwaan Randle El threw for three touchdowns and Jeremi Johnson and Levron Williams each scored three touchdowns to lead the Hoosiers past Northwestern 56-21 Saturday.

Randle El became major college football”s first 40-40 man with three first-quarter touchdown passes. Randle El has now thrown 40 touchdown passes and scored 40 touchdowns. He entered the game with 40 touchdowns rushing, 37 passing and one receiving.

Randle El opened the game with a 47-yard touchdown pass to Henry Frazier on Indiana”s second possession. Williams then ran six yards for one touchdown and caught a 26-yard touchdown pass, while Johnson scored on a 10-yard pass and a seven-yard run. Randle El closed out the half with a seven-yard scoring run to make it 42-0.

He finished the day 13-of-23 for 246 yards and rushed for 78 yards on 15 carries. The performance also moved Randle El past Iowa”s Chuck Long and into second on the Big Ten Conferences career list for total offense. Randle El now has 10,399 total yards.

Northwestern (2-4, 4-4) tried to rally in the second half, scoring on a Zak Kustok run and two Kustok touchdown passes all in the third quarter.

The Hoosiers (2-3, 2-5), though, got a one-yard run from Johnson and a 17-yard run from Williams to seal the outcome.

Williams finished with 130 yards on 26 carries, while Johnson added 94 yards on 15 carries. Indiana rushed for 316 yards.

Kustok was 26-of-44 for 254 yards and two interceptions. Running back Damien Anderson managed 51 yards on 13 carries but sat out much of the second half with a separated left shoulder.

Wisconsin 34, Iowa 28: Wisconsin found a way to help its beleaguered defense: Keep it off the field.

The Badgers did it by using their two 1,000-yard performers, wide receiver Lee Evans and tailback Anthony Davis, who led Wisconsin to a 34-28 victory over Iowa on Saturday.

Evans caught seven passes for 175 yards and moved within 72 yards of the Big Ten”s single season receiving record of 1,435 set by Ohio State”s David Boston in 1998.

And Davis rushed 36 times for 132 yards as the Badgers (3-3, 5-5) kept alive their bowl hopes. They have to beat Michigan and Minnesota to earn a sixth straight bowl berth.

Brooks Bollinger returned from hip and groin injuries that had kept him out of the last two games and completed 14-of-21 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a score.

The Hawkeyes (2-4, 4-4) still had a shot at winning when Badgers kicker Mark Neuser pushed a 27-yard field goal attempt wide right with 2:37 left.

But Brad Banks threw three straight incompletions from his 22 and the Badgers took over with 1:43 left. They used all but eight seconds off the clock before turning it over on downs at the Hawkeyes” 24.

With 6-foot-6 freshman receiver Darrin Charles playing deep defense, Banks threw another incompletion and then was intercepted by Nick Greisen to end the game.

The Badgers took a 27-14 halftime lead but Ladell Betts 15 carries for 121 yards carried on every play of a four-play, 68-yard drive that pulled the Hawkeyes to 27-21. He capped the drive with a 38-yard run.

Evans set up the Badgers” response with a 42-yard catch at the Hawkeyes” two-yard line and Davis carried it in from there for a 34-21 lead before Banks” one-yard run capped the scoring with 1:41 left in the third quarter.

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