West Lafayette, Ind. — D.J. Knox rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns, David Blough threw for three more scores and Purdue shook up the College Football Playoff chase with a 49-20 blowout of No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday night.
The Boilermakers (4-3, 3-1 Big Ten) won their fourth straight overall, their second in a row over a ranked team and pulled off their biggest upset since taking down then-No. 2 Ohio State 28-23 on Oct. 6, 1984. Purdue also set a school record for points scored against the Buckeyes, besting the previous mark of 41 in 1967 and setting off a raucous celebration as the students rushed the field.
Mistake-prone Ohio State (7-1, 4-1) had its 12-game winning streak snapped, fell out of the Big Ten East lead behind rival Michigan and now must fight away its way back into playoff position.
Blough outplayed Heisman Trophy candidate Dwayne Haskins Jr. on a night the Buckeyes didn’t reach the end zone until early in the fourth quarter.
Blough went 25 of 43 with 378 yards and sealed the victory with a 43-yard pass to Rondale Moore with 3:37 to play. It was Blough’s third straight 300-yard game and his fourth this season.
Haskins wound up 49 of 73, shattering the single-game school records in both categories, and had 470 yards and two touchdowns and one interception. But he missed receivers down the field on a windy night at Ross-Ade Stadium and was nearly picked off a couple of times before Markus Bailey scored on a late 41-yard interception return.
“Our defense played lights out,” Brohm said. “This team is hungry. They want to win. We still have a long way to go.”
The Buckeyes caused some of their own problems. They were called for 10 penalties and faced their largest halftime deficit of the season, 14-3, before giving up four scoring plays of more than 40 yards in the fourth quarter.
“My main message is we have to treat this like it’s life or death,” Buckeyes receiver Terry McLaurin said. “You have to have that type of mentality going into battle when someone’s trying to knock you off. If you don’t come ready, this happens.”
Isaac Zico capped Purdue’s longest scoring drive of the season, 98 yards, with a spectacular one-handed catch before running out of bounds to make it 7-0 late in the first quarter. Ohio State responded by quickly marching down the field helped by two 15-yard penalties against Purdue’s defense before settling for a 24-yard field goal.
Blake Haubeil then missed a 33-yard field goal wide left with 1:51 left in the first half and Blough took the Boilermakers 80 yards in 84 seconds, using punter Joe Schopper’s first-down run on a fake field goal to set up a 9-yard scoring pass to Moore.
The Buckeyes tried to turn up the pace and the intensity in the second half but that didn’t work, either.
After closing to 14-6 early in the third quarter, Davon Hamilton was called for roughing the kicker and the Boilermakers cashed in on their second chance with Knox’s 1-yard TD run. Haskins finally hooked up with Johnnie Dixon III on a 32-yard TD pass to make it 28-13 and Terry McLaurin on a 34-yard TD pass to make it 35-20 with 4:40 to go, but Blough’s TD pass to Moore and Bailey’s interception return sealed it.
Nobody could have been happier with the performance than Tyler Trent, the Purdue student who has terminal cancer. The Boilermakers’ adopted captain attended the game in a wheelchair.
More Big Ten
No. 18 Penn State 33, (at) Indiana 28: Trace McSorley passed for 220 yards, ran for 107 and had a hand in three touchdowns in Penn State’s victory over Indiana.
Penn State (5-2, 2-2) rallied to snap a two-game losing streak after Indiana (4-4, 1-4) took a 21-20 lead in the third quarter on Steve Scott’s 3-yard touchdown run.
Johnathan Thomas took the ensuing kickoff back to the Indiana 5, setting up McSorley for the go-ahead touchdown on the next play.
Brandon Wilson partially blocked the extra point, leaving Penn State’s lead at 26-21. Indiana forced Penn State to punt on the Nittany Lions’ next drive, but J-Shun Harris fumbled the punt return and turned the ball over. Five plays later, McSorley nearly walked into the end zone to make it 33-21 lead. Miles Sanders ran for 72 yards and a touchdown.
(At) No. 19 Iowa 23, Maryland 0: Nate Stanley threw for 86 yards and a touchdown for Iowa.
Anthony Nelson added a TD on a fumble recovery for the Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten). They held the Terrapins (4-3, 2-2) to 115 yards and seven first downs on a day when wind gusts topped 40 mph.
After settling for a pair of short field goals, Iowa went into halftime ahead 13-0 after Stanley found Brandon Smith for a 10-yard TD grab — which Smith made with one hand — with eight seconds left in the second quarter. Nelson, a defensive end, made it 23-0 late in the third quarter by falling on a botched handoff from backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome in the end zone.
Ivory Kelly-Martin ran for 98 yards for Iowa.
(At) No. 23 Wisconsin 49, Illinois 20: Jonathan Taylor rushed for 159 yards and Taiwan Deal ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns as Wisconsin took advantage of five first-half turnovers to rout Illinois.
Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1), which has won nine straight against Illinois (3-4, 1-3), had three interceptions and recovered two fumbles on the way to building a 28-10 halftime lead. Alex Hornibrook, coming off an awful outing in a loss at Michigan last week, threw two touchdown passes and two interceptions.
Illinois turned Hornibrook’s second interception into a 10-yard scoring drive to make it 28-17 early in the third quarter, but Wisconsin countered with a pair of touchdowns to push the lead to 42-17.
(At) Nebraska 53, Minnesota 28: Nebraska built a four-touchdown lead in the first half and survived some nervous moments in the second before pulling away to beat Minnesota, giving Scott Frost his long-awaited first win as Cornhuskers coach and ending a program-record 10-game losing streak.
A week after squandering a late 10-point lead at Northwestern and losing in overtime, the Huskers (1-6, 1-4 Big Ten) scored on three of their first four possessions on their way to a 28-0 lead.
Minnesota made things interesting, though, scoring on three possessions in a row spanning the halves, with backup quarterback Tanner Morgan replacing Zack Annexstad to open the third quarter and leading two straight touchdown drives to pull the Gophers to 28-22.
Adrian Martinez hit Stanley Morgan Jr. for a 35-yard TD and passed to him again for a 2-point conversion to make it 36-22. The Huskers stopped Minnesota on fourth-and-goal at the 3 and then chewed 7 minutes off the clock before Barrett Pickering kicked a 32-yard field goal to make it a three-possession game with 7:53 left.
Northwestern 18, (at) Rutgers 15: Isaiah Bowser scored on a 5-yard run with 8:12 to play and Northwestern avoided a major letdown by converting two fourth-downs plays on the game-winning drive to defeat struggling Rutgers.
Bowser also scored on a 3-yard run and Drew Luckenbaugh kicked a 23-yard field goal as the Wildcats (4-3, 4-1) won their third straight game by rallying from an eight-point third-quarter deficit. Clayton Thorson hit Flynn Nagel on a 2-point conversion pass after Bowser’s go-ahead run.
Isaih Pacheco scored on a 44-yard run for Rutgers (1-7, 0-5), which lost its seventh straight game. Justin Davidovicz kicked field goals of 42 and 26 yards, while Willington Previlon had a sack for a safety.