Saturday’s Big Ten: Ohio State routs Illinois, clinches East
Columbus, Ohio — No. 8 Ohio State scored on its first six possessions — including J.T. Barrett’s 100th career touchdown pass — as the Buckeyes routed Illinois 52-14 on Saturday and clinched the Big Ten East title.
Barrett, playing in his last game at Ohio Stadium, threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Buckeyes (9-2, 7-1) dominated from the opening kick. Barrett became the Ohio State leader in rushing yards among quarterbacks (3,070), eclipsing Braxton Miller. He now holds 35 Big Ten and school records.
Ohio State’s defense limited the Illini (2-9, 0-9) to a season-low 105 yards in handing them a ninth straight loss. They didn’t record a first down until near the end of the first half and ended with just five.
“I love our focus,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “I like where we’re at.”
Barrett was 11 for 19 for 141 yards, with backups Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow playing most of the second half. Running back Mike Weber (Detroit Cass Tech) picked up 108 yards on 11 carries and scored twice, including on a 43-yard breakaway romp in the first quarter.
The Buckeyes led 28-0 after the first quarter and 38-0 at halftime when heavy rain rolled through Columbus, slowing the pace in a messy second half.
“If you stay in coaching long enough, you have games like this where the (other) team is better than you from start to finish,” Illinois coach Lovie Smith said. “You want to see how guys are going to fight, and I think our guys fought hard.”
(At) No. 13 Penn State 56, Nebraska 44: Saquon Barkley broke Penn State’s career touchdown record with three scores and had 208 of 224 total yards in the first half.
Barkley passed Lydell Mitchell for the record with his 39th touchdown.
Trace McSorley ran for a touchdown and threw for 325 yards on 24-of-36 passing with three touchdown passes for Penn State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten). Mike Gesicki caught two scoring passes and became Penn State’s career touchdowns leader by a tight end with 13, and DeAndre Thompkins also had a touchdown catch.
Backup quarterback Tommy Stevens added a touchdown pass to tight end Nick Bowers to help the Nittany Lions go unbeaten at Beaver Stadium for the second straight season.
Nebraska’s Tanner Lee returned from concussion protocol to complete 26 of 41 passes for 399 yards and three touchdowns.
(At) Northwestern 39, Minnesota 0: Clayton Thorson had three touchdown passes, Justin Jackson added 166 yards rushing on 31 carries and Northwestern won its sixth straight.
The Wildcats (8-3, 6-2 Big Ten) also forced five turnovers on defense. Cornerback Montre Hartage had an interception and a fumble recovery to set up up two touchdowns.
Thorson finished 9 of 13 for 86 yards and Garrett Dickerson had two touchdown receptions.
Minnesota quarterback Demry Croft completed just 2 of 11 passes for 43 yards with three interceptions. Rodney Smith had 96 yards rushing for the Gophers (5-6, 2-6).
Jackson has 1,010 yards on the season and became just the second Big Ten player — and 9th in FBS history — to rush for 1,000 yards in four straight seasons. Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne (1996-99) is the other Big Ten player.
Jackson has 5,139 career yards and moved past Michigan’s Mike Hart (5,040) for fifth place on the Big Ten’s all-time rushing list.
Northwestern has won 21 of the last 22 games in which Jackson has rushed for 100 yards or more.
Purdue 24, (at) Iowa 15: Sophomore Elijah Sindelar threw for 229 yards and a career-high three touchdown passes for Purdue.
Anthony Mahoungou had 135 yards receiving, catching two of those Sindelar TD receptions in the opening 3:01 of the second half for the Boilermakers (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten). They won their first Big Ten road game of the year and ended Iowa’s four-game win streak in the series.
Noah Fant caught a 6-yard TD for Iowa (6-5, 3-5) with 1:04 to go, but Nate Stanley’s two-point conversion toss was incomplete. Iowa will finish with a losing record in the Big Ten for the first time since 2012.
(At) Indiana 41, Rutgers 0: Richard Lagow threw two touchdown passes and Morgan Ellison ran for two more scores for Indiana.
The Hoosiers (5-6, 2-6 Big Ten) have won two straight to move within one victory of becoming bowl-eligible for the third straight season and they posted their first Senior Day shutout since 1958 despite a 1-hour, 47-minute lightning delay late in the third quarter.
Rutgers (4-7, 3-5) has lost two in a row and has lost by 20 or more points four times this season.