Big Ten roundup: Iowa beats Purdue, extends road win streak to 9
West Lafayette, Ind. — For Iowa, the trend of playing its finest football when on the road continues. For Purdue, the unpleasant trend of failing to win back-to-back games at any point in fourth-year coach Darrell Hazell’s time with the Boilermakers also continues.
Iowa scored touchdowns on five of its six opening-half possessions and defeated Purdue 49-35 on Saturday, winning its school-record ninth consecutive road game.
The Hawkeyes (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) broke the former school record of eight consecutive road victories set from 1920-23. Of the nine consecutive road triumphs, eight have been against Big Ten opponents.
Purdue, now 9-33 in Hazell’s tenure — including 3-24 in Big Ten play — has lost the week following each of its three victories this season by an average margin of 25 points.
For Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, the road winning streak is a special accomplishment.
“Our guys do a good job when they get on the bus,” Ferentz said. “They really are focused on what we’re trying to get done. It is a business-like atmosphere when we come to different environments, but the game is still played on the field. A key is that we have had good leadership and good maturity.”
Iowa, 3-0 this season in Big Ten road games, completely dominated the first two quarters, running 41 plays for 397 yards, successfully converting 7 of 8 third-down opportunities.
Hawkeye quarterback C.J. Beathard ran 16 yards for one touchdown and passed 42 yards to wide receiver Riley McCarron for another first-half TD.
Running back LeShun Daniels ran 1 and 4 yards for Iowa touchdowns, and Akrum Wadley added a 75-yard TD run with 1:18 remaining in the second quarter, giving the Hawkeyes a 35-7 lead through 30 minutes.
“We wanted to get off to a fast start offensively,” Beathard said. “Going back to last week’s game against Minnesota, we didn’t play well offensively. We came out and scored on our first couple of drives and then did all right today.”
Wadley said the Hawkeyes were eager to improve their overall rushing attack and do so at Purdue’s expense.
“We had some big runs out of the shotgun, which we worked on in practice this week and then had the right calls at the right time in the game today,” Wadley said. “At the beginning of the season, Daniels and I talked about having a game when we both rushed for over 100 yards. Today, that was the first game it happened.”
Wadley averaged 12.1 yards per carry with a long run of 75, and Daniels added a 67-yard run.
Beathard said that made his job easy.
“When you can get both of those guys touches, and with the offensive line working the way they were working today opening up holes, they turn 8-yard runs into the long ones you saw today,” Beathard said.
Purdue’s David Blough threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brycen Hopkins and a 53-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cole Herdman, trimming the Iowa lead to 35-14, but Beathard countered with a 5-yard TD pass to Noah Fant, giving the Hawkeyes a 42-14 advantage.
Blough’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Bilal Marshall with 8:40 remaining pulled the Boilermakers (3-3, 1-2) to within 42-21, and his 54-yard TD pass to DeAngelo Yancey with 5:36 left cut the deficit to 42-28.
Iowa cornerback Desmond King’s 41-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:44 remaining capped the Iowa scoring before Blough threw his fifth TD pass — a 37-yarder to Hopkins — with 17 seconds on the clock.
Blough finished 30 of 60 for 458 yards.
“We didn’t do a good job with getting off to a good start,” Purdue coach Darrell Hazell said. “Every time we felt we were flipping momentum, they hit a big (play) on us. Something we have to get settled right now is stopping the long run. That’s killing us right now.”
Iowa rushed 53 times for 365 yards and added 155 passing yards.
While Blough’s final numbers were impressive, he said his performance was not good enough.
“We have to do it from the start, not against reserves or second-stringers,” Blough said.
Minnesota 31, (at) Maryland 10: Rodney Smith ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns, Rhoda threw for a score and the Golden Gophers cruised past error-prone Maryland.
Starting for senior Mitch Leidner, who was out with a concussion, Conor Rhoda went 7-for-15 for 82 yards without an interception. The former walk-on had previously thrown only two passes in a mop-up role.
“He managed the game well,” coach Tracy Claeys said. “Our kids believed in him. He did the things he needed to do.”
Rhoda spent most of the afternoon handing off the football to Smith and Shannon Brooks, who ran for 86 yards on 22 carries.
“I felt good once I got out there and took a couple hits,” Rhoda said. “Everything settled in from there and we got things cooking on offense.”
Minnesota (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) limited Maryland to 100 yards and four first downs through three quarters in building a 17-0 lead.
Smith’s 70-yard touchdown run with 9:30 left made it 24-3, and Antoine Winfield Jr. sealed the victory late in the game with an 82-yard interceptions return.
Maryland also started its second-string quarterback, using true freshman Tyrrell Pigrome for injured Perry Hills (shoulder). The Terrapins made a variety of mistakes on both sides of the ball in their second straight lopsided loss.
“Obviously, a very sloppy performance,” first-year coach DJ Durkin said. “We killed ourselves with penalties and turnovers, especially early in the game. Playing from behind is a hard thing to do with a freshman quarterback.”
Dukin said Hills was not healthy enough to play.
“I don’t feel it was in his best interest or our team to put him out there today,” Durkin said. “I think it’s one of those things where it’s a ticking time bomb, where it’s going to get hit again.”
Pigrome threw for 161 yards and ran for 71. But Maryland committed three turnovers and was penalized nine times for 75 yards.
“I know the story will all be about our freshman quarterback, but the guys around him need to play better, too,” Durkin said.
The Terrapins didn’t score in the second half last week in a 38-14 defeat at Penn State and had gone five quarters without a TD before Pigrome threw an 11-yard pass to D.J. Moore with 5:42 remaining.
It wasn’t enough to prevent Durkin from absorbing his first loss at home.
Durkin showed his frustration in the third quarter when Moore tumbled to the ground chasing a long pass in front of the Maryland bench. Durkin ran down the sideline, arms in the air, demanding an explanation why pass interference wasn’t called.
Maryland entered the game with only four turnovers, fewest in the Big Ten. But the Terrapins gave the ball away twice in the opening 16 minutes, and the second turnover proved costly.
After Pigrome threw an interception, Minnesota missed a 36-yard field goal. In the second quarter, however, William Likely muffed a punt on his own 15 to set up an 8-yard run by Smith for a 7-0 lead.
The Golden Gophers made it 14-0 just before halftime with a well-timed screen pass from Rhoda to Brooks, who caught the ball over the middle and sprinted in for a 17-yard score.
Illinois 24, (at) Rutgers 7: Riding a four-game losing streak, all Illinois coach Lovie Smith wanted was for a couple of his players to make some big plays.
Halfback Kendrick Foster did it early, Darius Mosely came through late and the Illini defense stepped up all game in forcing five turnovers in a 24-7 win over mistake-prone Rutgers.
“We feel good about winning the football game, yes,” Smith said. “About this one game. You have to celebrate every game to feel good about it. Sense of relief? Yeah. You can give it a few different descriptions. There definitely was a lot of excitement. There’s nothing like seeing a locker room after a big win and that’s what we had today.”
Foster, who rushed for 108 yards on 21 carries, ran 5 yards for a touchdown and caught a 5-yard scoring pass from first-time starter Chayce Crouch in helping the Fighting Illini (2-4, 1-2 Big Ten) win for the first time since the season opener.
The Illini defense forced five turnovers, recovering four fumbles and getting the game-clinching, fourth-quarter 75-yard interception return for a touchdown from Mosely, who also had a fumble recovery.
“We started him for the first time at the nickel position and that was probably the play of the game, that long interception return,” Smith said. “… Times like when you have a four-game losing streak going you need someone to elevate their game. He did.”
Gio Rescigno, who replaced Chris Laviano at the start of the second half, threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Nick Arcidiacono on the first play of the fourth quarter to snap an 11-quarter scoring drought and get Rutgers (2-5, 0-4) within 17-7.
It wasn’t enough to prevent the Scarlet Knights from losing their fourth straight game.
Rescigno had Rutgers at the Illini 25 with a first down on the next series, but Mosely intercepted his short pass to the left side. The clincher came after play was delayed a couple of minutes for an injury Scarlet Knights lineman J.J. Denman.
“It didn’t work out the way we thought it would, but it happens,” Rescigno said. “You have to get over it and move on to the next play.”
The first half was dominated by mistakes.
After having his first-quarter TD run following a muffed punt nullified by a holding penalty, Crouch threw an interception in the end zone.
Laviano (7 of 12 for 62 yards) and halfback Robert Martin both lost fumbles in Illinois’ territory. The low point for the Scarlet Knights might have been seeing Laviano and Rescigno mishandle snaps in the shotgun formation on fourth-down plays.
“You get five turnovers in a game and really you have no chance to win a football game,” Rutgers coach Chris Ash said. “That’s what it came down to. I thought we did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball. We ran the ball better. We threw the — at times threw the ball better today. Had a little energy going. And every time we were in critical situations, shot ourselves in the foot.”