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11/17/2012 9:42 PM EST
Purdue holds on for 20-17 victory over Illinois
PURDUE 20, ILLINOIS 17

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Akeem Hunt turned a short pass into a
63-yard touchdown, and Purdue took another step toward a second
consecutive bowl berth with a 20-17 victory at Illinois on
Saturday.



Hunt's big play gave the Boilermakers (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) a 13-3
lead in the third quarter. After Illinois pulled within 13-10 on
a 16-yard touchdown run by Dami Ayoola, Ralph Bolden's 63-yard
run set up Akeem Shavers' 6-yard TD scamper for a 20-10 Purdue
lead.



With their first back-to-back Big Ten road wins since 2009, the
Boilermakers stayed alive in their chase for postseason play. If
Purdue can beat Indiana at home next Saturday to earn bowl
eligibility, it will be its first three-game winning streak in
one season since 2007.



The Boilermakers rallied after losing their first five Big Ten
games, but Purdue never trailed against Illinois.



Hunt made a big play on a short pass. After Robert Marve rolled
to his right, he threw back to Hunt on the left. Hunt sped down
the sideline untouched. Bolden's long run, meanwhile, was a big
contribution after multiple knee surgeries had sidetracked his
career.



Shavers rushed for 99 yards and Bolden had 93. Marve threw for
173 yards, and the Boilermakers didn't commit a turnover in
winning at Illinois for the first time since 2006.



Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase scored on a 2-yard touchdown run
in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 20-17, but Illinois
(2-9, 0-7) remained the only Big Ten team without a conference
win. The Illini have a 13-game conference losing streak.



Ayoola's score was the first by the Illini offense in roughly
eight quarters. His touchdown came one play after Scheelhaase
connected with Darius Millines on a 22-yard pass on third and
14.



Illinois started the day ranked last in the Big Ten in total
offense, scoring offense and rushing offense, and the Illini
didn't get much done until late in the game. Scheelhaase
completed 22 passes for 160 yards and rushed for 76 yards to
lead Illinois.



The Illini were already going with some unconventional thinking,
using co-coordinator Chris Beatty to call plays on first and
second down before colleague Billy Gonzales handled the duties
on third down. Illinois also used defensive tackle Akeem Spence
as an extra blocking back.



Purdue took a 6-3 halftime lead on field goals of 31 and 29
yards from Sam McCartney. The Illini's only scoring in the half
came on a 54-yard field goal, the third-longest in school
history, by Taylor Zalewski.

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