Saturday's Big Ten: Ohio State survives; Nebraska remains winless
Columbus, Ohio — Dwayne Haskins threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns as No. 3 Ohio State held off persistent Minnesota to win 30-14 Saturday in a game where little went well for the Buckeyes beyond their passing game.
The Buckeyes (7-0, 4-0) needed a pair of Blake Haubiel second-half field goals and a late TD pass from Haskins to K.J. Hill to put away the Gophers (3-3, 0-3).
Hill also made the play of the game with a turn-around, one-hand grab that he turned into a touchdown in the second quarter. He had a career-high nine catches for 187 yards.
For the second straight week, a heavy underdog came into Ohio Stadium and shut down the Buckeyes’ running game. The Gophers held tailbacks J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber to a total of 86 yards, without a single carry longer than 11.
“A lot of credit to Minnesota,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “They came in and swung very hard.”
For Minnesota, Mohamed Ibrahim turned in a career day of his own, rushing 23 times for 157 yards and two scores.
Also for another week, Ohio State showed a weakness for giving up big plays. Ibrahim ripped off runs of 25 and 34 yards on the way to 105 yards in the first half. Minnesota had 396 total yards, with Ohio State piling up 504 behind Haskins’ passing.
“I love coaching that team,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said. “I’m proud of how hard they played.”
The Gophers hurt themselves with three turnovers, two of which led to 10 points for the Buckeyes, and two missed field goals. True freshman walk-on quarterback Zack Annexstad threw two interceptions, but also flashed some potential.
The Buckeyes stay unbeaten despite making plenty of mistakes and Minnesota staying in the game until almost the end. Problems persist with running the ball and the defense allowing big plays.
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►(At) Northwestern 34, Nebraska 31 (OT): Clayton Thorson threw for 455 yards and three touchdowns, and Drew Luckenbaugh kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime to give Northwestern a victory over winless Nebraska.
Nebraska (0-6, 0-4) blew a 10-point lead in the final 5:41 in regulation and fell to 0-6 for the first time ever. They also extended the longest losing streak in the storied program’s history to 10 games. It’s not the start coach Scott Frost envisioned when he decided to take over at his alma mater after orchestrating a drastic turnaround in two seasons coaching Central Florida.
Flynn Nagel set career highs with 220 yards receiving and two touchdowns, and the Wildcats (3-3, 3-1) won for the first time at home after an 0-3 start at Ryan Field.
Things weren’t looking good for them trailing 31-21 with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter. But Northwestern kicked a field goal, then drove 99 yards after getting pinned at the 1 with 2:02 left.
The Wildcats were aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty against Carlos Davis that moved the ball out to the 16, and Thorson finished the drive with a 5-yard TD to JJ Jefferson with 12 seconds left in regulation.
Nebraska got the first shot in overtime after Northwestern deferred and a low snap in a shotgun formation on fourth-and-1 at the 16 did in the Cornhuskers. Martinez scooped up the loose ball around the 30, heaved it to the end zone from the 37 and got intercepted by JR Pace.
Northwestern moved six yards before Drew Luckenbaugh nailed a 37-yarder on fourth down to give the Wildcats their second straight victory.
Nebraska’s Devine Ozigbo ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Adrian Martinez threw for 251 yards and a TD.
JD Spielman caught eight passes for 76 yards receiving and a TD. But Nebraska remained winless since a victory at Purdue last Oct. 28.
►Iowa 42, (at) Indiana 16: Nate Stanley threw for 320 yards and a season-high six touchdowns, and the Iowa Hawkeyes beat Indiana.
Stanley connected with nine different wide receivers, completing 21 of 33 throws in a game where he was only sacked once.
Indiana’s opening drive looked promising, as the Hoosiers took the ball deep into Hawkeye territory, but the Iowa defense doubled down in the red zone and held the Hoosiers to a field goal, setting the tone for what would become an abysmal day on offense for Indiana. On the ensuing drive, Stanley threw an interception, but a pass interference call negated the turnover, setting up a 9-yard touchdown pass to TJ Hockenson.
Stanley relied on his tight ends heavily, connecting with Noah Fant and Hockenson for eight of his 21 completions. The two tight ends accounted for 208 of Stanley’s 320 passing yards, with Fant finishing the game with 101 yards and Hockenson totaling 107 yards.
►(At) Maryland 34, Rutgers 7: Kasim Hill threw three touchdown passes, Ty Johnson ran for 132 yards and Maryland had five interceptions against woeful Rutgers.
The Terrapins (4-2, 2-1) led 24-0 at halftime and cruised to the finish. A Rutgers touchdown with 43 seconds remaining ended Maryland’s bid for its first shutout since a 37-0 win over West Virginia on Sept. 21, 2013.
Rutgers (1-6, 0-4) lost its sixth straight. Freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski was pulled late in the third quarter after going 2 for 16 for 8 yards and four interceptions.
Johnson’s 65-yard touchdown run in the first quarter started the onslaught, and Hill added a pair of touchdown throws in the second quarter.
The five interceptions were Maryland’s most since a seven-pick performance against Duke in 1998.
The Scarlet Knights had only four first downs and 41 yards over the first half. In the third quarter, Maryland used a field goal and Hill’s 8-yard TD pass to Jeshaun Jones to make it 34-0.
►Purdue 46, (at) Illinois 7: Purdue rolled over Illinois, dampening the Illini homecoming festivities and dimming their postseason hopes.
Illinois (3-3, 1-2) arguably played its worst game of the year. Purdue (3-3, 2-1) scored 46 unanswered points after the first series. Illinois began the game scoring on a five-yard keeper by quarterback AJ Bush following a 52-yard pass to Reggie Corbin.
Purdue racked up 611 yards in total offense compared to Illinois’ 250. The Illini, which led the Big Ten in takeaways and ranked sixth in the nation in turnovers gained per game, forced its only turnover late in the third quarter when Cameron Watkins tipped a David Blough pass and it was intercepted by Sydney Brown. Illinois was unable to capitalize on the interception.
Purdue sacked Bush four times and pressured him all game. D.J. Knox gained 150 yards rushing on 17 carries for the Boilermakers. Markell Jones had seven carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. Alexander Horvath also scored a touchdown.
Bush finished 12-of-25 for 170 yards passing and one interception. Bush also was the Illini’s leading rusher, gaining 24 yards on 20 carries.
Blough finished the day 25-of-36 passing for 377 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught a 7-yard touchdown pass on a reverse from wide receiver (and former quarterback) Jared Sparks. It was Sparks’ first career touchdown pass.