Saturday's Big Ten: Iowa dismantles No. 3 Ohio State
Iowa City, Iowa — Big Ten teams with national title hopes should know by now to be wary of Kinnick Stadium in November.
The Ohio State Buckeyes weren’t — and their playoff aspirations are likely cooked because of it.
Nate Stanley threw for 226 yards and five touchdowns, and Iowa throttled third-ranked Ohio State, 55-24, on Saturday, dealing what’s likely to be a fatal blow to the Buckeyes’ hopes of reaching college football’s Final Four.
Josh Jackson added three interceptions for the Hawkeyes (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten), who beat their fourth top-5 opponent in their last five tries at home. Iowa also knocked off unbeaten teams Michigan (2016) and Penn State (2008) in the regular season’s final month.
“I didn’t see any signs. Usually I see signs and if I do I address them,” Meyer said when asked if his team suffered a letdown after coming off an emotional 39-38 comeback win over Penn State last week.
Iowa went up 7-0 on the game’s first play — a pick-six of J.T. Barrett — and raced out to a 31-17 halftime lead on a pair of Stanley touchdown passes to Noah Fant.
Stanley, following a successful and highly unusual fake field goal, later fired a 2-yard touchdown pass with a defender hanging onto his foot that put the Hawkeyes ahead 38-17 late in the third quarter.
“Our guys played with a lot of heart and toughness,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Ohio State (7-2, 5-1, No. 6 CFP) allowed its most points in a game under Meyer, and Barrett had a career-high four interceptions.
“They were baiting him … that’s their coverage,” Meyer said. “We just didn’t play very well.”
Defensive end Nick Bosa was also ejected for targeting in the first half, and the Buckeyes committed nine penalties in their most lopsided defeat since last year’s 31-0 loss to eventual national champion Clemson in the playoff.
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Northwestern 31, (at) Nebraska 24 (OT): Clayton Thorson sneaked into the end zone on fourth-and-1, and Northwestern’s defense came up with a big sack and pass breakup in overtime.
The Wildcats (6-3, 4-2) have had three straight games go to overtime, and they’ve won each of them. They also clinched bowl eligibility for a third straight year.
Northwestern scored the tying touchdown with 5:32 left in the fourth quarter, and after Thorson’s pass to the end zone was broken up on the final play of regulation, the Wildcats got the ball first in overtime.
The Cornhuskers (4-5, 3-3) kept Thorson out of the end zone on third-and-goal from the 1. Northwestern chose to go for the touchdown rather than kick a field goal, and Thorson got into the end zone on the next play with a push from Trey Pugh.
(At) Purdue 29, Illinois 10: Purdue’s aggressive defense registered nine tackles for loss, including five sacks, and the Boilermakers snapped a three-game losing streak.
The victory, however, was costly for the Boilermakers (4-5, 2-3), who lost starting quarterback David Blaugh to a leg injury with 12:27 remaining after he was tackled by Illinois free safety Stanley Green. Blough was carted off the field and left the field in an ambulance. Blough completed 16 of 24 passes for 194 yards before he was injured.
Illinois (2-7, 0-6) lost its seventh consecutive game, six in a row in the Big Ten.
The Purdue victory snapped a streak of five consecutive games in this series in which the visiting team came away with a victory, including the Boilermakers’ 34-31 overtime victory last season in Champaign, Illinois.
(At) Rutgers 31, Maryland 24: Gus Edwards ran for 109 yards and caught a go-ahead 23-yard touchdown pass with 7:30 remaining to rally Rutgers, which needs to win its final three games to become bowl eligible for the first time since joining the conference in 2014.
Robert Martin scored on a 10-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter as the Scarlet Knights (4-5, 3-3) scored the final 14 points to come back from a seven-point deficit to post their third conference win in four games.
This one was not secure until Rutgers cornerback Isaiah Wharton broke up a fourth-down pass by fourth-string quarterback Ryan Brand to DJ Moore in the corner of the end zone.
Brand replaced Max Bortenschlager — the third quarterback this season for Maryland (4-5, 2-4) — after Rutgers went ahead on Edwards’ touchdown in the fourth. On the previous series, Bortenschlager took a big hit on a third-down run that came up short.
No. 9 Wisconsin 45, (at) Indiana 17: Jonathan Taylor rushed for 183 yards and one touchdown and Alec Ingold had three scores to help Wisconsin pull away.
The Badgers (9-0, 6-0, No. 9 CFP) extended the nation’s second-longest winning streak to 10 and their school record for consecutive Big Ten victories to 12. They also remained one of a handful of unbeaten teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Indiana (3-6, 0-6) lost its 10th in a row in the series. It was the first meeting between the schools since 2013.
Wisconsin can clinch the West Division title and a trip to the Big Ten championship game with a win over Iowa next week.