State College, Pa. — Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer took another hard sack then dragged himself to his feet. He tried to shake the pain out of his right arm before taking a slow walk to his team’s locker room.
The first half was mercifully over. No. 12 Penn State cruised to a 35-7 rout of the Boilermakers, but the punishment continued in the second.
The Nittany Lions (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) rolled behind 10 sacks, one shy of the program’s single-game record. They held the Boilermakers (1-4, 0-2) to 104 total yards – including minus-19 rushing. A week after shutting out Maryland, the Nittany Lions were dominant again.
“Defensively we’re doing some special things right now,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “We’re playing championship level defense right now, and we’ve been doing it for a number of weeks.”
Sean Clifford threw for 264 yards with three touchdowns and ran for another score for Penn State. The offense scored on its first four drives and that was enough.
Yetur Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney combined for five sacks and six other Nittany Lions defenders had a hand in at least one.
“Going into the year, we knew that we had a lot of guys that were good,” linebacker Micah Parsons said. “The way that we’re clicking right now and everyone’s vibing and playing off each other, it’s really special.”
Playing without starting quarterback Elijah Sindelar and star receiver Rondale Moore, the Boilermakers didn’t cross midfield until their sixth possession midway through the second quarter.
Penn State jumped out fast with four scoring drives lasting no more than 3:41.
KJ Hamler beat single coverage for a 23-yard touchdown catch to open the scoring and Clifford added a 3-yard touchdown run to cap Penn State’s second possession. The Nittany Lions turned a three-and-out by Purdue into an easy score immediately after when Jahan Dotson caught a pass over the middle and raced 72 yards, getting a good block from Hamler on the way to the end zone.
Penn State finished another quick drive with a 7-yard pass from Clifford to tight end Pat Freiermuth early in the second quarter. Noah Cain finished with 105 yards on 12 carries and added a 2-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth.
Clifford completed 20 of 29 passes.
Purdue finally broke Penn State’s seven-quarter shutout streak dating to Week 3 when Jack Plummer connected with Amad Anderson Jr. on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Anderson’s catch made it 28-7 in the second quarter.
Plummer finished with 119 yards on 13-for-27 passing. He was sacked on two of Purdue’s final three plays of the first half. He was replaced in the fourth quarter with Aidan O’Connell.
“We got handled early,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “It was good to see us improve as the game went on.”
More Big Ten
No. 8 Wisconsin 48, Kent State 0: Jonathan Taylor had four rushing touchdowns and caught a TD pass, Zack Baun had a career-high three sacks, and the eighth-ranked Badgers coasted over Kent State.
Taylor had 19 rushes for 186 yards, eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the 27th time in 32 career games with the Badgers (5-0).
Baun’s three sacks led a Wisconsin defense that pitched its third shutout of the season. The Badgers, who entered the day with the nation’s top-ranked defense, held Kent State (2-3) to 124 yards of total offense. Chris Orr, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Northwestern, added two sacks for a unit that has allowed four touchdowns through five games.
Dustin Crum and Woody Barrett combined for just 64 yards on 10-of-17 passing. Most of those yards came on a 28-yard completion to receiver Raymond James.
The Golden Flashes, coached by former Wisconsin quarterback and tight end Sean Lewis, have played two ranked opponents this season and been outscored 103-16 in those matchups. Kent State lost to then-No. 8 Auburn 55-16 on Sept. 14.
Taylor scored from 6 yards on the opening drive. The junior running back now has a touchdown on each of the Badgers’ five opening drives this season. Wisconsin is the only team in the FBS to open each game with a touchdown.
Taylor scored four first-half touchdowns before the Golden Flashes had their third first down. Taylor also crossed the goal line on 19-, 4- and 48-yard runs. Taylor and quarterback Jack Coan linked up for an 18-yard score that made it 28-0 at halftime.
Coan, who won his seventh straight start, finished 12 for 15 with 134 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Jake Ferguson was on the receiving end of the junior’s other touchdown. Their 2-yard score made it 41-0 with 8:01 left in the third quarter. Receiver Jack Dunn added the final score on a 3-yard run in the fourth.
Maryland 48, (at) Rutgers 7: Josh Jackson (Saline) threw two touchdowns before being hurt and Javon Leake scored three more as Maryland used big plays to rip downtrodden Rutgers, spoiling the debut of Scarlet Knights’ interim head coach Nunzio Campanile.
The Terrapins (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) had five touchdowns of 23 yards or longer and scored three touchdowns on three consecutive offensive plays in the second quarter in snapping a two-game losing streak and handing Rutgers (1-4, 0-3) its fourth straight loss.
Not only did Rutgers lose, it saw sophomore quarterback Art Sitkowski, who started the last two games, and junior halfback and captain Raheem Blackshear sit out the fourth game while pondering whether to redshirt a season quickly going down the tubes. One has to wonder whether they will transfer from the program now that former coach Chris Ash has been fired after three-plus seasons.
Jackson, who left the game after hurting his right ankle late in the first half, connected with Dontay Demus Jr. on an 80-yard pass play on Maryland’s first play from scrimmage. He added a go-ahead 23-yard TD pass to Tayon Fleet-Davis just three plays after Rutgers used a flea-flicker to help tie the game at 7 on a 3-yard run by new starting quarterback Johnny Langan.
Leake got his first score on the Terps’ next play from scrimmage. It was a 42-yard run, one play after Rutgers failed to get a first down on a fourth-and-1 gamble from its own 42 while trailing 14-7.
Maryland linebacker Ayinde Eley kept the surge coming, intercepting a Langan pass and returning it 39 yards to the 2. Anthony McFarland scored on the next play for a 27-7 lead.
Leake opened the second half with a 100-yard kickoff return, McFarland added an 80-yard touchdown run and Leake closed out the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run.
(At) Nebraska 13, Northwestern 10: Lane McCallum kicked a 24-yard field goal as time ran out. The Cornhuskers (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) won in a slog after Lamar Jackson intercepted Aidan Smith’s pass to set up the winning drive.
Noah Vedral, who played the fourth quarter in place of an injured Adrian Martinez, connected with Wan’Dale Robinson along the sideline for 32 yards to the 16 and then ran twice to get to the 12 with 3 seconds left.
Northwestern (1-4, 0-3) called three timeouts before McCallum, who transferred from Air Force intending to play safety, put the ball through from the left hash mark.
After the kick, McCallum sprinted toward the other end of the field. Teammates mobbed him and carried him off the field.
Nebraska’s kicking game has been plagued all season, since Barret Pickering went out with an undisclosed injury before the opener. McCallum took over the kicking duties from punter Isaac Armstrong. McCallum made a 35-yard field goal to give Nebraska a 10-0 lead in the first half but his try from 29 yards in the fourth quarter hit the right upright and bounced away.
The Huskers are 5-4 against Northwestern since joining the Big Ten in 2011, and a total of 24 points separates the teams over the nine games.
The previous two games went to overtime, and seven of the nine meetings have been decided by one score.
The Huskers won with Martinez and top receiver JD Spielman on the sideline. Martinez got up limping after getting tackled at the end of a run on the last play of the third quarter. Spielman went out earlier in the third with a knee injury.
Northwestern, the Big Ten West defending champion, has lost three straight conference games for the first time since 2014. The Wildcats had a chance to take the lead in the middle of the fourth quarter, but Charlie Kuhbander missed a 34-yard field goal.
The teams combined for 19 punts as yards were hard to come by. The Huskers finished with 319 total yards and the Wildcats had 293.
(At) Minnesota 40, Illinois 17: Rodney Smith ran for a career-best 211 yards and a touchdown, Shannon Brooks added 111 rushing yards and a touchdown in his second game back from injury and Minnesota totaled 332 yards on the ground.
Tanner Morgan was 9-of-17 passing for 155 yards and three touchdowns for the Gophers (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who have won seven straight games dating to last season and rushed for more than 300 yards for the first time since tallying 409 yards against Nebraska in 2017.
Minnesota’s defense allowed just three points and held Illini running back Reggie Corbin, the third-leading rusher in the Big Ten, to 68 yards on 14 carries.
Illinois (2-3, 0-2) scored two defensive touchdowns. Dele Harding returned an interception of Morgan for a touchdown in the first quarter to give the Illini an early lead and Milo Eifler returned a fumble for another score in the third after Jake Hansen stripped Morgan on a sack.
Illinois lost starting quarterback Brandon Peters in the first half after he hit the turf hard while being tackled. He walked off the field with assistance and was replaced by Matt Robinson, who was 15-of-29 passing for 125 yards.
Smith helped the Gophers grab momentum in the second after a slow start by both teams. He had a season-long 64-yard run to set up the Gophers' first touchdown.
Minnesota put together its best rushing game of the season as it gets healthier in the backfield with the return of Brooks, who had played just two games in the past two seasons because of knee injuries.