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Ohio State coach Urban Meyer addressed speculation that he could step down at the end of the season, saying Monday he felt fine and definitely would be back next year.

Meyer, who was suspended for three games to start the season and has been slowed by headaches caused by a cyst, has been the subject of talk around the college football world that he may retire after the season.

The chatter increased after he looked more distressed and beleaguered than usual on the sideline during the 49-20 loss to unranked Purdue on Oct. 20.

Asked to address the rumors at a news conference Monday, the 54-year-old Meyer said, “I plan on coaching.” Asked if he would definitely return to Ohio State next year, he answered, “Yes.”

Meyer, who is under contract through the 2021 season, missed training camp and the first three games this season over his handling of domestic abuse allegations against now-fired assistant Zach Smith.

Then, he was brought to his knees on the sideline with a headache during the Oct. 6 game against Indiana. He recovered quickly but said later that the cyst in his head has been causing headaches that are controlled with medication.

Aides exit Illini, Trojans

Illinois defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson abruptly resigned Monday, citing personal “health-related circumstances beyond my control.”

Coach Lovie Smith said Nickerson told him it was in the program’s “best interest” to leave. Nickerson, a former NFL linebacker, had been defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for more than two seasons.

Southern California coach Clay Helton fired offensive line coach Neil Callaway and taken over play-calling duties for the struggling Trojans. Helton announced the shake-up two days after USC dropped to 4-4 with a home loss to Arizona State.

Purdue looks to regroup

Purdue had all the answers for four glorious weeks.

Quarterback David Blough played impeccably, the defense proved it could go toe to toe against some of the nation’s top teams and everybody made an impact in the Boilermakers’ success.

It all went wrong last weekend against Michigan State, forcing coach Jeff Brohm to go back on cleanup duty. The Spartans held the ball more than 38 minutes, preventing the Boilermakers from getting into any kind of offensive rhythm.

“We did a lot of the small things not as good as we have in the past, and I think all of those small things added up,” Brohm said Monday.

Their next chance comes begins Saturday when the Boilermakers welcome another ranked opponent to Ross-Ade Stadium, No. 19 Iowa.

Nebraska’s D faces big test

Nebraska’s defense will go from playing against a middling FCS offense to one that ranks third in the Bowl Subdivision and has been held under 500 yards just once all season.

Even though the starters allowed three points and had three takeaways in a 45-9 win over Bethune-Cookman, Nebraska (2-6, 1-4 Big Ten) has shown no sign it will be capable of slowing down Dwayne Haskins and No. 8 Ohio State (7-1, 4-1) in Columbus on Saturday.

The Cornhuskers’ defensive average of 438 yards per game is second-to-last in the Big Ten, they’ve allowed 14 touchdown drives of longer than 70 yards, and Rutgers and Illinois are the only conference teams to have given up more than the 14 plays of at least 40 yards Nebraska has surrendered.

Iowa State QB to move on

Iowa State sophomore quarterback Zeb Noland is transferring after losing the starting job to freshman Brock Purdy.

Coach Matt Campbell announced on Monday that Noland, who has already used his redshirt season, will leave at the end of the semester.

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