Saturday's Big Ten: Carr’s 3 TD catches help Northwestern down Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa — Northwestern finally found some points. Then the defense made a big play to secure a much-needed win.
Justin Jackson ran for 171 yards and Austin Carr caught three touchdown passes as Northwestern held on to beat Iowa 38-31 on Saturday.
Trae Williams’ interception in the final minute sealed the win for the Wildcats (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten), who scored touchdowns on three straight drives in the second half after Iowa ran off 17 straight points to take the lead.
“For us to weather that storm and then not to flinch after they went on a 17-0 run, I thought showed some maturity from this group and then to get the finish was critically important,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “We’ve got to squeeze everything out of this group. I think they’re coming along for us.”
C.J. Beathard threw for 204 yards and a touchdown for Iowa (3-2, 1-1), which snapped its nine-game regular-season Big Ten winning streak.
The Wildcats — ranked as the worst scoring offense in the Big Ten and 125th out of 128 FBS teams coming into Saturday — exploded for nearly as many points against Iowa as they scored in the last three games combined.
Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson threw for 164 yards. Carr — his favorite target and the Big Ten’s receptions leader — has caught a touchdown pass in four straight games. He’s the first Wildcat player to do that since 2000.
Jackson became the fourth player in Northwestern history to reach 3,000 career yards. The junior’s 58-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter regained the lead for the Wildcats.
Defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo had four of Northwestern’s six sacks.
The Hawkeyes had two chances to tie the game in the final seven minutes, but were forced to punt and then Williams intercepted Beathard at Northwestern’s 36-yard line.
Iowa’s mistakes — pass protection and penalties — were costly. The Hawkeyes had 70 penalty yards, including consecutive personal fouls on Northwestern’s last scoring drive.
“We’re not good enough to give up 15 yards, whether it’s a sack, a penalty,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We’re just not good enough, and not many teams are.”
Iowa’s LeShun Daniels Jr. and Akrum Wadley combined for 107 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Wadley has seven touchdowns in three games against Northwestern.
(At) Maryland 50, Purdue 7: Ty Johnson ran for 204 yards on seven carries, and unbeaten Maryland used a strong defensive performance to breeze past Purdue and provide first-year coach DJ Durkin a victory in his first Big Ten game.
The Terrapins (4-0, 1-0) scored four touchdowns and amassed 293 yards in taking a 29-0 halftime lead. Maryland finished with 400 yards rushing and outgained the Boilermakers 496-205 overall.
Purdue (2-2, 0-1) had no answer for the no-huddle offense that has scored a school-record 173 points over its first four games.
Taking over at Maryland after serving as Michigan’s defensive coordinator in 2015, Durkin has the Terrapins operating at a high level on both sides of the ball.
Perry Hills threw two touchdown passes to Teldrick Morgan and ran for an 11-yard score. Johnson peeled off a 76-yard run and scored on carries of 8 and 48 yards, and Lorenzo Harrison chipped in with a 62-yard touchdown sprint.
The defense sacked David Blough six times. The Boilermakers were ranked second in the nation in third-down conversions (59 percent), but in this game they went 6 for 20.
It was 36-0 before Purdue finally scored, on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Blough to Cole Herdman with 13:30 remaining.
Coming off two straight 300-yard games, Blough was limited to 46 yards passing before halftime and finished 18 for 41 for 132 yards.
The Boilermakers were guilty of a variety of ill-timed penalties, poor tackling and shoddy blocking by the offensive line.
Even when the Terrapins made mistakes of their own, Purdue couldn’t capitalize. Maryland hadn’t committed a turnover all year until Hill threw an interception on the opening series. The Terrapins subsequently jumped offside on third down, but Purdue’s J.D. Dellinger was wide right on a 35-yard field goal try.
Maryland promptly moved 80 yards in six plays, then fooled the Boilermakers with an unbalanced formation on the 2-point conversion.
On Purdue’s next series, an illegal formation wiped out a successful third-down play and forced a punt. Not long after that, Harrison burst up the middle on his 62-yard run.
Johnson’s first touchdown made it 22-0.
Desperate for a spark, Purdue coach Darrell Hazell opted to for it on a fourth down from the Boilermakers 32. They made it, but it merely delayed Maryland’s next touchdown.
(At) Penn State 29, Minnesota 26 (OT): Saquon Barkley scored on a 25-yard run on Penn State’s first offensive play of overtime and the Nittany Lions beat Minnesota.
Barkley finished with 63 yards on 20 carries for Penn State (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) and Trace McSorley completed 19 of 40 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown. McSorley added 73 rushing yards and another score for the Nittany Lions, who battled back from a 13-3 halftime deficit to salvage momentum in a season already soured by injuries.
“I think it was definitely something our players needed,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “Everyone needed it, there’s no doubt about it.”
Mitch Leidner completed 24 of 40 passes for 241 yards with a touchdown, and Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks added 104 and 100 rushing yards, respectively, for Minnesota (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten). Brooks and Drew Wolitarsky scored touchdowns for the Gophers and Irvin Charles hauled in an 80-yard score for Penn State.
Emmit Carpenter kicked four field goals for Minnesota, including a go-ahead 37-yarder with 54 seconds to go. But Tyler Davis’ third field goal, a 40-yarder with two seconds left, forced overtime. Carpenter’s 46-yarder put Minnesota up after the first half of overtime before Barkley ended it on the next play.
Penn State’s star running back was bottled up for much of the afternoon and was forced to the sideline when it appeared he was hurt in the first half. Barkley averaged just two yards per carry before his game-sealing run.
“I’m really proud of Saqoun because he’s handled adversity and you never see bad body language from him,” Franklin said. “Never.”