Saturday's Big Ten: No. 23 Iowa hands No. 7 Minnesota its first loss
Iowa City, Iowa – Minnesota’s undefeated season came to an end in a place where the Gophers have struggled for a while.
Nate Stanley threw two touchdown passes and Tyler Goodson ran for a score to help No. 23 Iowa beat No. 7 Minnesota 23-19 on Saturday, handing the Gophers their first loss while hurting their playoff prospects.
The Gophers (9-1, 6-1, No. 8 CFP) haven’t won at Kinnick Stadium since 1999, losing nine straight on the road in the series. The loss will hurt them in the rankings, but they stay in control of their own fate in the Big Ten West Division race.
That, coach P.J. Fleck said, is something his team needs to remember.
“This is one game,” Fleck said. “Everything else is sitting right in front of us. If we can play a game that poorly, we can come back from it.
“This is not the end of the world. It hurts. It should hurt – it’s a rivalry game. This is what college football is all about. … This is one game. That’s all that means.”
The Hawkeyes (7-3, 4-3) struck quickly, scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions, then held off Minnesota’s charge in the second half for their first victory over a ranked opponent this season.
“We did a great job of controlling the first half,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We knew we were going to have to score some points today. It’s no mirage how many points they’ve scored, the yards that they’ve had.”
“We had to open it up,” said wide receiver Nico Ragaini, who scored Iowa’s first touchdown on a 21-yard pass from Stanley.
“Defensively, we started too slow,” Minnesota linebacker Thomas Barber said. “You can’t do that in a Big Ten game.”
Minnesota got to 23-19 with 3:27 to play when Rodney Smith scored on a 1-yard dive. But Brock Walker’s extra-point attempt missed. Iowa’s Nate Wieting then recovered the onside kick.
The Gophers had a final chance. But quarterback Tanner Morgan was sacked by Joe Evans and A.J. Epenesa on back-to-back plays, then backup Cole Kramer’s pass was intercepted by Riley Moss on fourth down.
Stanley threw for 173 yards. Goodson rushed for 94 yards.
Morgan threw for 368 yards. Tyler Johnson had nine catches for 170 yards. The Gophers had 431 yards of offense.
“The biggest accomplishment there is we kept them out of the end zone,” Ferentz said.
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(At) No. 9 Penn State 34, No. 24 Indiana 27: Penn State’s best offense on Saturday wasn’t explosive or flashy. It was grinding and relentless and it helped keep the No. 9 Nittany Lions’ playoff hopes alive.
Penn State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten, No. 9 CFP) got three touchdowns from quarterback Sean Clifford who completed 11 of 23 passes for 179 yards and ran for 55 yards in Penn State’s win over No. 24 Indiana (7-3, 4-3).
With Penn State ahead by three with 10:45 to play, Clifford led an 18-play, 75-yard drive that burned 9:01 and ended when he plunged in from a yard out to put the game out of reach.
“For our offense to go on an 18-play drive, I haven’t been around many of them,” Penn State coach James Franklin said.
Journey Brown rushed 21 times for 100 yards and added a score for the Nittany Lions who’ll play at No. 2 Ohio State next week, where the top spot in the Big Ten East will be on the line.
Tight end Nick Bowers caught a 12-yard touchdown pass for Penn State and Jake Pinegar kicked a pair of field goals.
Peyton Ramsey completed 31 of 41 passes for 371 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more for the Hoosiers (7-3, 4-3) who outgained Penn State 462 to 371.
“Offensively, we did things for sure,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “Peyton was effective, tough, gritty. We played a good football team today. We’re a good football team too.”
No. 2 Ohio State 56, (at) Rutgers 21: Justin Fields threw for a career-high 305 yards and matched his best with four touchdown passes. Favored by a whopping 51 points, the Buckeyes (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten) rolled to their 16th straight win over the past two seasons. J.K. Dobbins ran for two touchdowns and cornerback Shaun Wade set up two early TDs with an interception and a forced fumble.
Isaih Pacheco scored on a 26-yard run, Johnny Langan threw a 45-yard scoring pass to Bo Melton and ran a yard for another touchdown with 1:09 left for Rutgers (2-8, 0-7). The loss was the 19th straight conference game for Rutgers, which fired coach Chris Ash in late September.
Playing just over a half, Fields finished 15 of 19 in topping his previous best of 234 yards against Florida Atlantic in the season opener. His touchdown passes covered 11 and 24 yards to Binjimen Victor, 35 yards to K.J. Hill and 14 yards to Luke Farrell on the opening series of the second half. The Georgia transfer has thrown 31 touchdowns and one interception in his first season as the Buckeyes’ starter.
Rutgers took the opening kickoff and turned the ball over twice in his first four plays from scrimmage, helping stake Ohio State to a 14-0 lead.
Wade intercepted Langan (12 of 26 for 121) on the second play from scrimmage, giving the Buckeyes the ball at their 40. Four plays later, Dobbins scored on an 18-yard run.
Wade forced receiver Isaiah Washington to fumble after a 6-yard catch on the second play of the next series and safety Jordan Fuller recovered at the Rutgers 33. Three plays later, Fields found Victor in the back of the end zone for a 14-0 lead 3:36 after the opening kickoff.
An 8-yard run by Dobbins pushed the lead to 21 points on the Buckeyes’ next series.
Rutgers scored after Garrett Wilson muffed a punt and Lawrence Stevens caught the ball in midair. Pacheco, who had 56 yards on 17 carries, broke through the line on a quick opener and ran 26 yards into the corner of the end zone.
Fields threw for three more touchdowns to stretch the lead to 42-7. New Jersey resident Chris Chungunov replaced him and added two more TD tosses, a 4-yarder to Jake Hausmann and a 32-yarder to Jaelen Gill.
Langan split those touchdown throws with a scoring pass to Melton late in the third quarter. His late TD run needed a lengthy review to overturn a lost fumble call.
No. 15 Wisconsin 37, (at) Nebraska 21: Jonathan Taylor ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns and Aaron Cruickshank ran back a kickoff 89 yards for a score for Wisconsin.
Taylor became the first Football Bowl Subdivision player since at least 2000 to run for 200 yards three times against the same team, according to Sportradar. He had 221 against the Cornhuskers last year and 249 in 2017.
The junior recorded his 11th 200-yard game, moving into a four-way tie for most in a career by an FBS player.
The Badgers (8-2, 5-2; No. 14 CFP) quickly erased a 14-10 deficit in the second quarter. Jack Coan threw over the middle to A.J. Taylor, who spun away from two defenders and ran the rest of the way untouched for a 55-yard touchdown. Wisconsin linebacker Jack Sanborn intercepted a tipped ball on the first play of Nebraska’s next series, and Taylor ran in from the 1 to finish a short drive that put the Badgers ahead 24-14.
The Huskers (4-6, 2-5) have lost four straight and five of their last six. They’ve dropped 10 in a row against Top 25 opponents.
(At) Northwestern 45, Massachusetts 6: Evan Hull had four rushing touchdowns, Chris Bergin added an 85-yard touchdown return on a blocked field goal, and Northwestern snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Hull, a freshman, had 220 yards rushing on 24 carries in his first significant action this season. He had a total of 15 yards and eight carries before Saturday.
Northwestern (2-8) last won on Sept. 14 with a 30-14 victory over UNLV.
Quarterback Randall West was 19 of 36 passing for 175 yards and Bilal Ally had 66 yards rushing on 16 carries for UMass (1-10), which has dropped five straight.