Champaign, Ill. — Alec Ingold and Garrett Groshek scored on short runs in the first half, offensive lineman Michael Deiter added another touchdown on a trick play late in the game, and No. 5 Wisconsin beat Illinois 24-10 on Saturday to remain unbeaten.
Star running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for just 73 yards but didn’t appear in the second half for Wisconsin because of a left leg injury. The freshman entered the game averaging 158.6 yards rushing.
Head coach Paul Chryst said he does not know the extent of Taylor’s injury.
“It was fun to see other guys have to step up,” Chryst said. “We’ll find out more about JT at practice this week.”
Despite Taylor’s absence, Alex Hornibrook made enough throws to get the team’s eighth win. None was better than on the trick play that freed Deiter for his first career touchdown.
Hornibrook dropped back on third-and-goal from the 4 and rushed right before throwing a backward pass to Deiter on the other side. Deiter caught it and hustled his 328-pound frame in for the score.
“I was super nervous,” Deiter said. “I’ve never touched a football in a football game other than @ center. I had the whole offensive line out in front of me. There was no way I wasn’t going to get in.”
Wisconsin (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) gained 303 yards, well below its season average of 462.7 yards, but was able to overcome a sluggish performance for its 11th consecutive conference victory.
After starting with consecutive three-and-outs, Wisconsin came alive behind Taylor, who gained 52 yards to set up Ingold’s 1-yard plunge on his only carry of the game. That capped a 15-play, 92-yard drive that took just over eight minutes.
Jeff George Jr. and Cam Thomas combined to go 9 of 31 for 152 yards. They were sacked five times. Thomas threw two interceptions.
“It was an outstanding defense that we were going against,” Illini coach Lovie Smith said. “We couldn’t establish the run. We had our moments with the passing game, but not enough consistency to win.”
The Illini (2-6, 0-5) finally found the end zone on a 3-yard run by Kendrick Foster, but it came with less than a minute left in the game. Thomas’ second interception — midway through the fourth quarter — ended any hopes of a comeback.
Nebraska 25, (at) Purdue 24: Tanner Lee threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan Jr. with 14 seconds left to rally Nebraska.
Lee capped the best night of his career with two TD passes in the final 11½ minutes to erase a 12-point deficit.
The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Cornhuskers (4-4, 3-2 Big Ten).
Purdue (3-5, 1-4) only had time for a couple of plays and the game ended when Anthony Mahoungou stepped out of bounds near midfield as time expired.
The Boilermakers have lost three straight.
(At) Iowa 17, Minnesota 10: Nate Stanley threw for 190 yards for Iowa, which beat Minnesota in Iowa City for the eighth straight time.
After missing one game, linebacker Josey Jewell returned to lead the Iowa defense with 11 tackles, six of them solo.
Each team converted just 15 first downs and committed three turnovers. Iowa (5-3, 2-3 Big Ten) and Minnesota (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten) combined to be 7-for-30 on third downs.
Rodney Smith led the way on offense for Minnesota, rushing for 82 yards on 15 attempts, although his efforts did not prove enough to push the Gophers to their first win at Kinnick Stadium since 1999 — Kirk Ferentz’s first year at the helm for the Hawkeyes.
The Hawkeyes only touchdowns came on their first drive of each half.
(At) Maryland 42, Indiana 39: Max Bortenschlager threw two touchdown passes, Jake Funk ran for a pair of fourth-quarter scores and Maryland kept the Hoosiers winless in the Big Ten.
The Terrapins (4-4, 2-3) trailed 33-28 before rallying to end a three-game losing streak. The comeback began with an 82-yard kickoff return by Javon Leake, and Funk put the Terrapins in front for good with a 1-yard touchdown with 14:56 remaining.
Funk scored again from the 1 with 10:14 left after Bortenschlager connected with DJ Moore for a 44-yard completion to the Indiana 17.
Indiana (3-5, 0-5) cut the gap to 42-39 but came up short in its bid to provide first-year coach Tom Allen his initial conference victory.