Saturday's Big Ten: Purdue, Minnesota earn bowl bids
Bloomington, Ind. — David Blough and Rondale Moore executed Jeff Brohm’s game plan perfectly Saturday.
Now after extending Purdue’s season by another month, the dynamic duo must wait to see if they’ll get another chance to work with their innovative head coach.
Blough threw three touchdown passes, while Moore scored twice and tied a school-record with his seventh 100-yard game of the season, leading the Boilermakers past rival Indiana 28-21 for a second straight Old Oaken Bucket victory and a second straight bowl bid.
“I’ve been completely focused on this,” Brohm said when again asked about the job opening at his alma mater, Louisville. “The last two weeks has been a little tough.”
Speculation about Brohm’s future has raged wildly since the Cardinals fired Bobby Petrino.
Brohm’s resume appears to have everything Louisville could want.
In five seasons as a head coach, he has led every one of his teams to the postseason. This year, he helped Purdue (6-6, 5-4 Big Ten) upset three ranked opponents for the first time in 15 years and become bowl-eligible in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2011-12.
And he did it behind Blough, a fifth-year senior at quarterback, and Moore, last year’s Mr. Football Award winner in Kentucky at receiver.
“Rondale is a special player,” Brohm said. “The more guys you get like that, the more special you can be. When we get a guy like that we’re going to make sure he gets his touches.”
Brohm delivered on his promise repeatedly Saturday.
Moore matched a season-best with 12 receptions for 141 yards and became the second player in school history with 100 receptions in a single season. He has 103, trailing only Chris Daniels (121) and he’s tied with Steve Griffin and John Standeford for most 100-yard games in a season.
Blough was 27 of 35 with 310 yards and one interception and has matched his career-best with 25 TD passes this season. He also threw 25 in 2016 and both marks are tied with Drew Brees (1999) for fifth in Purdue history.
Indiana (5-7, 2-7) lost six of its final seven games, again falling one win short of the postseason.
Stevie Scott led the Hoosiers by rushing 20 times for 104 yards and one TD, giving him a school-record six 100-yard games by a true freshman. Peyton Ramsey was 36 of 51 with 345 yards and one interception but struggled to consistently put the Hoosiers in scoring position.
But the defense couldn’t stop Moore or Blough when it mattered most.
“Just left a really hurting and disappointed locker room,” coach Tom Allen said. “A lot of tears.”
Moore’s 56-yard TD catch in the second quarter broke a 7-7 tie and he made it 21-7 late in the third quarter by turning Blough’s perfectly thrown ball into a 33-yard TD reception.
Ramsey cut the deficit to 21-14 with 7:33 left to play on a 23-yard TD run.
But Purdue sealed the win with three big plays – Markell Jones’ 32-yard run with 3:48 left, Navon Mosley’s interception on the Hoosiers’ ensuing possession and an onside kick recovery with 76 seconds left after Ramsey hooked up with Nick Westbrook on a 40-yard TD pass with 1:17 left.
More Big Ten
(At) No. 12 Penn State 38, Maryland 3: Trace McSorley completed 12 of 22 passes for 230 yards and had a hand in three touchdowns to help Penn State rout Maryland.
McSorley added 64 rushing yards on 11 carries for the Nittany Lions (9-3, 6-3, No. 12 CFP). He threw a 34-yard bullet through freezing rain to KJ Hamler on the game’s first play, sprinted downfield to throw a block that opened Miles Sanders up for a 35-yard run on the next, then skipped into the end zone from 3 yards out to cap the quick opening drive.
McSorley added another touchdown run two possessions later when he scrambled through a pair of defenders up the middle for 20 yards and a 14-3 lead.
Ricky Slade added 8- and 1-yard touchdown runs and tight end Pat Freiermuth caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from McSorley in the fourth quarter.
Tyrrell Pigrome completed 14 of 23 passes for 185 yards but was sacked five times for the Terrapins (5-7, 3-6). They will miss out on a bowl trip for the third time since joining the Big Ten.
(At) No. 19 Northwestern 24, Illinois 16: Clayton Thorson accounted for three touchdowns, Isaiah Browser rushed for 166 yards on 18 carries and Northwestern beat Illinois for its seventh straight Big Ten win.
Thorson completed 12 of 18 passes for 110 yards and two TDs. He also ran for a score, and Bowser posted his fourth 100-yard game of the season.
The Wildcats (8-4, 8-1, No. 19 in CFP) will face No. 10 Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game next weekend in Indianapolis.
Illinois (4-8, 2-7) lost for the sixth time in seven games. AJ Bush Jr. completed 23 of 39 passes for 281 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and Ricky Smalling finished with seven receptions for 72 yards and a TD.
Minnesota 37, (at) Wisconsin 15: Demetrius Douglas returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown, Minnesota’s defense held up on the road and the Golden Gophers ran away from Wisconsin to snap a 14-game losing streak in the rivalry and reclaim Paul Bunyan’s Axe.
Mohamed Ibrahim ran for 121 yards and a 10-yard touchdown run on 26 carries for Minnesota (6-6, 3-6), which became bowl eligible for the first time under second-year coach P.J. Fleck.
The Gophers took a page from the Badgers’ playbook by pounding away on the ground in the second half. Bryce Williams ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, both coming on drives after turnovers by Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook.
A memorable night for Minnesota was made sweeter by beating the Badgers (7-5, 5-4) on the road to take back the Axe for the first time since 2003. They won in Madison for the first time since 1994.
Jonathan Taylor, the nation’s leading rusher, had 120 yards on 19 carries. Hornibrook, starting for the first time since missing two games while in the concussion protocol, threw three interceptions and lost a fumble on a sack.
Minnesota scored 24 points off those turnovers.