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Ohio State must answer several questions from the NCAA before three players suspended for accepting $200 in cash at a charity event are allowed to return to the team.

Athletic Director Gene Smith says he did not know if the three _ starting tailback Jordan Hall, cornerback Travis Howard and backup safety Corey “Pittsburgh” Brown _ would be cleared to play at Miami on Sept. 17.

Ohio State interim coach Luke Fickell said earlier this week the three would be available to play against Toledo. But the university and NCAA issued statements on Friday saying the players had not been reinstated.

Smith said it was a misunderstanding.

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RICE’S WIN

Rice ended its 10-year losing streak against Bowl Championship Series teams with a 24-22 victory over Purdue after Justin Allen blocked Carson Wiggs’ 31-yard field-goal attempt as time expired.

The Owls (1-1) had lost 22 consecutive games to BCS opponents since a 15-13 win over Duke on Sept. 8, 2001. Rice had not beaten a Big Ten team since a 40-34 win at Northwestern in 1997.

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HOWARD HONORED

Desmond Howard was brought to tears when he was honored as the first “Michigan Football Legend” in a ceremony before the game against Notre Dame.

Calling it an honor “I will cherish every day of my life,” Howard will also be the first Wolverines player featured in a new display at Schembechler Hall. Wide receiver Junior Hemingway’s lockers _ and those who wear No. 21 in the future _ at Schembechler Hall and Michigan Stadium will also be customized to reflect that Howard has been recognized as a “Michigan Football Legend.”

Howard won the 1991 Heisman Trophy, sparked by a diving touchdown catch against Notre Dame in a sensational season he capped by striking the Heisman pose after scoring on a punt return against Ohio State. He is a College Football Hall of Famer and an ESPN analyst.

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ROCKIN’ BIG HOUSE

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