Nugent finally misses -- with game on line

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- The Northwestern players piled on top of

each other in the corner of the end zone while students rushed the

field, turning it into a purple mosh pit.

They partied into the night long after Noah Herron's 1-yard

touchdown run gave Northwestern a 33-27 upset of (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) Ohio State

on Saturday night, not even caring when the north goal post held

firm. This party was 33 years in the making, and they weren't about

to go home early.

"It's hard to put into words," said safety Jeff Backes, an

Ohio native. "I came here with a dream to beat the Buckeyes and

it's been 33 years. This is one I will never forget."

Herron scored three touchdowns, including the winner in

overtime, and Northwestern (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) backed up its pregame

trash talk with its first victory over Ohio State (3-1, 0-1) since

1971. The win snapped the Buckeyes' 24-game winning streak in the

series, and handed them their first loss in Evanston since 1958.

"Thirty-three years was long enough," said Northwestern coach

Randy Walker, an Ohio native.

It also was Northwestern's first victory over a top-10 team

since beating then-No. 7 Wisconsin in double overtime in Madison on

Sept. 23, 2000.

Ohio State has made it a habit of pulling out the close wins,

winning 13 of its last 15 games that were decided by seven points

or less. The Buckeyes beat Marshall earlier this season on Mike

Nugent's field goal as time expired, and Nugent tied a school

record with five field goals to beat North Carolina State two weeks


It looked as if the Buckeyes' luck might hold again Saturday

after they rallied to score 10 points in the final nine minutes and

force overtime. But the normally automatic Nugent misfired, with

his 40-yard field-goal attempt sailing wide right on the first

overtime possession.

"It was probably one of the best balls I hit tonight," Nugent

said. "I thought it was going to be dead-center."

Instead, the Wildcats got a second chance to put the Buckeyes

away and they made the most of it. On the second play, quarterback

Brett Basanez scrambled to the left and up the sideline for a

21-yard gain. Two plays later, Herron bulldozed his way into the

end zone for the winning score, setting off pandemonium at the


"I wouldn't have requested to be at the end of (the streak),"

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "But we are. Unfortunately,

that's the case. We have to start trying to get better, starting


Herron ran for 113 yards, rushed for two 1-yard scores and also

caught a 12-yard TD pass. Mark Philmore had 134 yards receiving and

a touchdown, the first of his career. Brett Basanez was 24-of-44

for 278 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Ohio State's offense had another shaky night, not finding its

groove until the fourth quarter. Justin Zwick was 18-of-38 for 211

yards, but 90 yards came in the final period. Santonio Holmes had

99 yards receiving and a score.

But the Buckeyes had just 97 yards rushing. Lydell Ross had 31

yards on 11 carries.

Northwestern defensive tackle Luis Castillo had set bulletin

boards aflame all over Columbus earlier in the week when he said

Ohio State had a "mediocre" offense. And Philmore -- an Ohio

native -- said the Buckeyes were "kids just like you out there."

The Wildcats showed they can do more than yap, though,

controlling the game almost the entire night. They outgained the

Buckeyes 444-308, and the defense came up with big plays time and

again in the final quarter.

"It sure didn't hurt," Castillo said of his boast. "(Winning)

was the greatest feeling in the world."

But there's a reason the Buckeyes are one of the country's top

teams. They rallied in the fourth quarter, with Zwick moving them

to the Northwestern 4 on their first drive. On third-and-goal,

though, Nick Roach and John Pickens swarmed Zwick, taking him down

for a 7-yard loss and forcing Ohio State to settle for Nugent's

29-yard field goal. The Buckeyes' defense gave Zwick another chance

when linebacker Bobby Carpenter picked off Basanez's pass at the

Northwestern 28 and returned it 6 yards.

Zwick connected with Bam Childress on a 15-yard pass, putting

Ohio State at the Northwestern 4. But Antonio Pittman was stopped

for a 3-yard loss, and Pickens chased Zwick deep into the

backfield, sacking him for a 13-yard loss on second down.

Jeff Backes then picked off what would have been the game-tying

pass, intercepting Zwick in the end zone.

But the Buckeyes finally got it right on their third try. Moving

69 yards in just five plays and 90 seconds, Zwick rushed for 18

yards, then had completions of 11 yards and 19 yards before finding

Holmes deep in the end zone for the 21-yard score to force


"I thought we had it," offensive tackle Rob Sims said.

"Around here we just feel when it's close like that, we feel like

we can pull it out. I guess today we were wrong."