Saturday’s Big Ten: Ohio State, Maryland cruise; Nebraska loses in OT on FG by 32-year-old

Associated Press
Ohio State's Justin Fields spots a receiver in the first half.

Columbus, Ohio — Justin Fields passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more scores, and No. 5 Ohio State cruised to a 42-0 rout of Cincinnati on Saturday.

J.K. Dobbins rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns — all in the first half  as the Buckeyes (2-0) dismantled Cincinnati in Luke Fickell’s return to Ohio Stadium. The third-year Bearcats coach played at Ohio State then spent years on the other sideline as an assistant, and interim coach in 2011.

“They just ruined any sentimental thought you had,” Fickell said. “I’m just disappointed we couldn’t give them a real game.”

The Bearcats (1-1) came in with confidence after an opening week win over UCLA but their chances of beating Ohio State for the first time in 122 years began to dissipate when Justin Fields scurried up for the middle for a 7-yard touchdown run on the Buckeyes’ second drive of the game. By halftime it was 28-0.

The Ohio State defense held down Cincinnati and shut the door with a blocked field goal, an interception and fumble for a touchback on the three occasions the Bearcats threatened. The Buckeyes sacked quarterback Desmond Ritter five times.

“I think today was another step in the journey, the right step – where we want to be,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.

With the drama surrounding the return of Fickell, the Bearcats were expected by many to give Ohio State more of a game. But the Buckeyes’ defensive line made it tough to establish any ground game. Ritter hit a few passes for big gains but otherwise the offensive highlights were few.

More Big Ten

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley runs the ball against Rutgers during the second half.

(At) No. 20 Iowa 30, Rutgers 0: Nate Stanley threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns as Iowa rolled in its Big Ten opener.

New Jersey native Ihmir Smith-Marsette caught two TD passes for the Hawkeyes (2-0, 1-0 Big Ten), who’ve allowed just 14 points in two games ahead of next week’s rivalry showdown at No. 25 Iowa State.

Stanley found Smith-Marsette and Tyrone Tracy for first-half touchdowns to help Iowa take a 20-0 lead at the break. Stanley then connected with Smith-Marsette from 23 yards out to make it 27-0.

Iowa’s defense smothered Rutgers (1-1, 0-1), which scored 48 points in its opener over UMass. The Scarlet Knights gained just 125 yards, punted 10 times and turned it over three times.

(At) Colorado 34, No. 25 Nebraska 31 (OT): James Stefanou’s 34-yard field goal in overtime gave Colorado its first lead and the Buffaloes beat Nebraska when punter Isaac Armstrong’s 49-yard try sailed wide right.

Stefanou, from Australia, is 32, the oldest player in the FBS.

The Buffaloes rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit and improved to 2-0 under coach Mel Tucker while keeping Cornhuskers’ second-year coach Scott Frost from winning his first road game.

Before Saturday, unranked Buffaloes teams were 1-22 all-time against ranked Nebraska teams with their only win coming in 1976 when the Cornhuskers were ranked third.

Rank this one right up there with that one.

It included the longest touchdown in Colorado’s history, a 96-yard flea-flicker from Steven Montez to K.D. Nixon in a frenetic fourth quarter that featured 38 points and began with Nebraska up 17-7.

Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson passes during the first half.

(At) Maryland 63, No. 21 Syracuse 20: Josh Jackson (Saline) threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns to anchor another prolific offensive performance by Maryland, which scored 42 first-half points.

Anthony McFarland Jr. ran for two scores and caught a 6-yard TD pass from Jackson during a sparkling first half in which the Terrapins amassed 397 yards and built a 29-point lead against a Syracuse team coming off a season-opening shutout of Liberty.

After beating Howard 79-0 in their first game under coach Michael Locksley, the Terrapins (2-0) came up with an impressive encore against a highly regarded foe.

The 63 points were the most ever by Maryland against a ranked opponent. Although Locksley eased up after a 64-yard touchdown run by Javon Leake early in the third quarter, the Terrapins finished with 650 yards.

(At) No. Penn State 45, Buffalo 13: Sean Clifford threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns and Penn State overcame a halftime deficit to beat Buffalo.

Trailing 10-7 at half, the Nittany Lions (1-0) took the lead for good when John Reid ran back an interception 37 yards for a touchdown early in the third.

Clifford opened the scoring with a 28-yard pass to Jahan Dotson on Penn State’s second drive of the game. He tossed a pair of TDs to tight end Pat Freiermuth in the third quarter and Noah Cain added a 2-yard TD run to give Penn State a 35-13 lead heading into the fourth.

Jaret Patterson led Buffalo (1-1) with 75 yards on 23 carries. Matt Myers was 16-for-31 for 236 yards with a touchdown pass to tight end Julien Bourassa late in the first half.

(At) No. 17 Wisconsin 61, Central Michigan 0: Jonathan Taylor rushed for three touchdowns and caught another, Quintez Cephus scored his first two touchdowns of the season and Wisconsin cruised past Central Michigan in its home opener Saturday.

While Wisconsin (2-0) had 599 yards of total offense, Central Michigan (1-1) managed just 58 yards and three first downs. Chippewas quarterback Quinten Dormady completed 5 of 12 passes for 36 yards.

Cephus finished with six receptions for 130 yards — both career highs — and tied a career high with his two scores.

Taylor had 102 yards on the ground, surpassing the 100-yard rushing mark for the 24th time in 29 career games.

Illinois 31, (at) Connecticut 23: Former Michigan quarterback Brandon Peters set career highs, throwing for 225 yards and four touchdowns as Illinois overcame an early 13-point deficit to beat UConn.

It was the first nonconference road win for the Illini (2-0) in a dozen years.

Jakari Norwood had 62 yards to lead a rushing attack that accounted for 130 yards.

Freshman Jack Zergiotis, making his first start, completed 21 of 31 passes for 275 yards for the Huskies (1-1).

(At) Indiana 52, Eastern Illinois 0: Backup quarterback Peyton Ramsey was 13-of-14 for 226 yards and two touchdowns as Indiana shut out Eastern Illinois.

All it took was one quarter for the Hoosiers (2-0) to put it away. They dominated on defense and took an early lead with touchdowns on their first three possessions.

Michael Penix Jr., Indiana’s starter at quarterback, was 14-of-20 with 197 yards and two touchdowns before taking a seat late in the second quarter.

The Panthers (0-2) didn’t have any answers.

(At) Purdue 42, Vanderbilt 24: Elijah Sindelar passed for 509 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another TD for Purdue.

Purdue speedy sophomore Rondale Moore caught 13 passes for 220 yards, both career highs.

The Boilermakers scored quickly after taking the second-half kickoff to take a 21-10 edge. Jared Sparks hauled in a wide-open 50-yard TD pass from Sindelar as one Vanderbilt defender fell down on the coverage. It was junior Sparks’ first TD and the longest catch of his career.

Minnesota 38, (at) Fresno State 35 (2OT) : Antoine Winfield Jr. intercepted a pass in the end zone in the second overtime to seal Minnesota’s come-from-behind victory.

The Golden Gophers (2-0) tied the game twice late with Tanner Morgan throwing a 20-yard TD pass to Chris Autman-Bell on fourth down in the final minute of regulation and Morgan then scoring on a 4-yard keeper in the first overtime.

Michael Lantz then made a 37-yard field goal for the Gophers on the opening possession of the second overtime before Winfield intercepted Jorge Reyna’s pass to Cam Sutton.

Winfield also preserved a win for Minnesota against Fresno State (0-2) last year with a fourth-quarter interception.

The overtime followed a roller-coaster fourth quarter that started with Minnesota tying the game on Mohamed Ibrahim’s 1-yard run early in the quarter. Fresno State went back ahead on Reyna’s 2-yard run with 5:58 remaining following a muffed punt by Demetrius Douglas.

But the Gophers weren’t done, surviving two fumbles on the drive to tie the game at 28-all with 46 seconds remaining on Morgan’s pass to Autman-Bell.

The teams then traded touchdowns in the first overtime with Reyna throwing a 5-yard TD pass to Ronnie Rivers a play after a roughing the passer penalty extended the Fresno State drive.

Morgan then answered with a 4-yard keeper that tied the game at 35.

Morgan threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Ibrahim and Rodney Smith ran for scores for the Gophers.

Reyna completed 24 of 35 passes for 288 yards and three TD passes but threw a late end-zone interception that sealed a loss for the second straight week.