Saturday's Big Ten: Ohio State run away from Nebraska; Indiana stuns Penn State
Columbus, Ohio — Justin Fields and No. 5 Ohio State shook off the rust in the first half and then buried Nebraska the rest of the way.
Fields completed 20 of 21 passes for two touchdowns and ran for another, Master Teague III rushed for a pair of scores and the Buckeyes rolled over Nebraska 52-17 Saturday in the Big Ten teams’ pandemic-delayed opener.
Fields, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, completed his first 12 passes and threw for 276 yards. He ran for another 52 – including a stunning 17-yard third-quarter touchdown scramble around the left side that saw him spin past a defender and into the end zone.
His 42-yard touchdown pass to slot receiver Garrett Wilson on Ohio State’s second drive of the game couldn’t have been prettier. The only pass he missed on, in the second quarter, may have been catchable, but Chris Olave couldn’t hold on in the end zone.
“You guys saw the arm we saw,” Nebraska linebacker Collin Miller said. “He’s making throws guys on Sundays make.”
Olave caught six passes for 104 yards, and Wilson had seven for 129.
The Ohio State defense took most of the first half to figure out a way to contain quarterback Adrian Martinez, who marched the Huskers down for a touchdown in the opening 2 minutes of the game.
Nebraska (0-1, 0-1 Big Ten) tied the score at 14 in the second quarter, but an Ohio State (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten) field goal, a defensive stop and Teague’s second TD run gave the Buckeyes a 24-14 lead at the half. Then came Fields’ nifty touchdown run and a 55-yard scoop and score by Buckeyes cornerback Sevyn Banks, and Ohio State had it under control.
“That’s one heck of a run right there,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “It’s the best way you can end a half and start a half, and I thought it flipped the game.”
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(At) Indiana 36, No. 8 Penn State 35: Michael Penix forced overtime with a 2-point conversion run with 22 seconds left, then scored on a diving 2-point conversion to give Indiana a season-opening upset victory, ending the Big Ten’s longest streak of consecutive losses to Top 10 teams at 42.
The winning play went to a replay review before the officials announced the initial call stood.
Indiana beat the Nittany Lions for the second time in 24 matchups, and beat a Top 10 foe for the first time since a 31-10 victory at Ohio State on Oct. 10, 1987.
And it took every trick in the book to get it done.
“All I’d seen was an opportunity, an opportunity to go out and show the world what the Indiana Hoosiers are all about,” Penix said. “They were playing man, so we’ve got to score to win the game and I wasn’t going to let my team down, so I went out and gave it my all.”
After Indiana failed to gain a first down after Sean Clifford threw a go-ahead 60-yard touchdown pass to Jahan Dotson with 2:30 left, coach Tom Allen instructed his defense to let Penn State score.
Devyn Ford obliged with a 14-yard run with 1:42 to go. Penix then took the Hoosiers down the field, scored on a 1-yard TD run with 22 seconds to go, added the 2-point conversion and eventually wound up in overtime after Jordan Stout’s 57-yard field goal came up short with 3 seconds left in regulation.
“In really six years at Penn State and 10 years of being a head coach, we’ve not been a team to commit penalties and we’ve not been a team to get turnovers, and tonight we had both,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “We finally got into a rhythm in the second half a little bit, but you can’t not play well on the road in the Big Ten against good opponents.”
Penn State made it 35-28 when Clifford hooked up with Parker Washington in overtime, but Whop Philyor caught a 9-yard TD pass for the Hoosiers and Penix won it when he dove for the goal line and the ball hit the pylon.
(At) Purdue 24, Iowa 20: Sophomore receiver David Bell caught three touchdown passes, including the winner.
With the Boilermakers’ top receiver Rondale Moore sideline for undisclosed reasons, Bell caught 13 passes for 121 yards.
His difference maker was a 6-yard TD from Aidan O’Connell with 2:15 remaining in the fourth quarter to give Purdue the lead. Purdue’s defense stiffened on the final drive, stopping Iowa on fourth-and-10 from its own 44.
O’Connell, who was named starter just before the game, completed 31-of-50 passes for 282 yards. Zander Horvath, who got the start because King Doerur was out with a hamstring injury, led the Purdue rushing attack with 129 yards on 21 carries.
Purdue’s game winning drive was set up by a big turnover.
With Iowa leading 20-17 and driving, the Hawkeyes’ Mekhi Sargent had the ball stripped by Dedrick Mackey and Cam Allen recovered at the Purdue 28. The Boilermakers followed with a 12 play, 72-yard drive.
Spencer Petras completed 22 of 39 passes for 265 yards for Iowa.
Iowa took a 17-14 lead into halftime when Keith Duncan kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
Purdue wasted a nice opening third quarter drive when O’Connell was intercepted by Barrington Wade at the Iowa 3-yard line on second down-and-10 from the Iowa 11.
The Hawkeyes pushed the lead to 20-14 with Duncan’s 33-yard field goal with less than two minutes elapsed in the fourth quarter. Purdue’s 14-play drive stalled, and the Boilermakers settled for J.D. Dellinger’s 29-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 20-17.
Purdue had tied it at 14-all when Bell caught an 11-yard TD pass from O’Connell. Bell opened the scoring for Purdue with an 9-yard touchdown catch in the opening quarter
After Petras tied it at 7-all for the Hawkeyes with a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 10:21 left in the second quarter, Iowa went ahead 14-7 when Sargent capped off an 11-play, 73-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run.
(At) Northwestern 43, Maryland 3: Peyton Ramsey threw for 212 yards in his Northwestern debut, Drake Anderson ran for 103 and the Wildcats gave coach Pat Fitzgerald his 100th victory.
Northwestern raced to a 30-3 halftime lead and racked up 537 total yards. It was just the sort of start the Wildcats were seeking after going from playing for the conference championship in 2018 to finishing last in the Big Ten West.
Ramsey, a graduate transfer from Indiana, looked comfortable in his new surroundings. He completed 23 of 30 passes and scrambled for a first-quarter touchdown – a promising start for a quarterback who helped lead the Hoosiers to their first eight-win season since 1993 last year.
Anderson had a 37-yard TD run. A.J. Hampton helped set up a touchdown with an interception. Charlie Kuhbander kicked three field goals. And Fitzgerald, by far Northwestern’s winningest coach, got a milestone win to open his 16th season.
Maryland opted to start Alabama transfer Taulia Tagovailoa at quarterback over redshirt freshman Lance LeGendre. And he struggled in a big way.
Tagovailoa was 14 for 25 for 94 yards and three interceptions. And the Terrapins opened coach Mike Locksley’s second season on a familiar note after losing nine of their final 10 games in 2019.
Northwestern held the Terrapins to just 207yards while dominating the time of possession (37:21-22:39). After Maryland’s Joseph Petrino kicked a field goal on the game’s opening drive, the Wildcats took control in a hurry.
Ramsey led a 75-yard march, with Isaiah Bowser scoring from the 1. Hampton then intercepted a pass along the left sideline near midfield. And a scrambling Ramsey reached across the goal line as he was dragged to the ground on a 12-yard touchdown, making it 14-3 with 1:31 left in the first quarter.
Kuhbander kicked a 43-yard field goal to bump the lead to 14 with just over nine minutes left in the half. Anderson made it 24-3 with 5:43 remaining, when he burst through a hole in the line and got few good blocks on his 37-yard TD, and the Wildcats didn’t have to wait long to score again.
They took over at the Maryland 23 after Isaiah Jacobs muffed the kickoff and Cam Porter recovered the ball. That led to a 23-yard field goal by Kuhbander, and he added a 43-yarder as the half ended.