Saturday's Big Ten: Henderson, No. 5 Ohio State hold off No. 20 Penn State
Columbus, Ohio — TreVeyon Henderson ran for 152 yards and a touchdown and No. 5 Ohio State made just enough long plays and short field goals to hold off No. 20 Penn State 33-24 on Saturday night.
Facing their first real challenge in a month and half, the Buckeyes (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) finally finished off the Nittany Lions (5-3, 2-3) on Noah Ruggles’ fourth field goal, a 26-yarder with 2:41 left to make it a nine-point lead.
Coming off an ugly nine-overtime loss at home to Illinois, Penn State looked a lot like the team that had climbed into the top five before losing to Iowa in a game where quarterback Sean Clifford got hurt.
The senior looked sharp and healthy, going 35 for 52 for 361 yards and a touchdown after a tentative performance last week. Still, the Nittany Lions lost their third straight to fall out of contention in the Big Ten East.
Meanwhile, Ohio State, which had hardly been tested since losing to Oregon in Week 2, looked a like the team that struggled to get off the field on third down and finish drives against the Ducks.
The highest-scoring team in the country was held out of the end zone for the first 26 minutes before two explosive plays in the span of about a minute and a half gave Ohio State the lead.
C.J. Stroud floated a deep ball that Chris Olave ran down for a 38-yard touchdown to give the Buckeyes their first lead, 10-7 with 3:48 left in the first half.
Stroud finished with 305 yards passing.
Penn State responded by moving quickly into Ohio State territory, but Clifford was sandwiched by ends Tyreke Smith and Zach Harrison and the ball came loose. Jerron Cage scooped it up and sprinted untouched 57 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-7.
The 305-pound Cage was feted by teammates on the sideline with water and waving hands and towels to cool him off as he caught his breath.
Penn State tied it in the third quarter, taking the opening possession 75 yards and capping it with a 2-yard TD run on direct snap to star receiver Jahan Dotson.
Henderson, after a false start on the goal line that forced Ohio State to settle for a short field goal on its previous possession, ripped off a 68-yard run that setup a 1-yard scoring plunge by the freshman to make it 27-17 with 3:35 left in the third.
Penn State came right back with another long TD drive, finished off with Keyvone Lee’s 1-yard run to make it 27-24 heading into the fourth quarter.
Cam Brown’s interception of Clifford in Penn State territory set up a 25-yard field goal by Ruggles to make it 30-24 with 4:03 left.
More Big Ten
►(At) Wisconsin 27, No. 9 Iowa 7: Wisconsin forced three turnovers and produced six sacks in a victory that enabled the Badgers to maintain control of their destiny in the Big Ten West Division race. Each time a Wisconsin player made a big play on defense, he wore Wilder’s hat with the homemade slogan, “The Grit Factory.”
Consider it a more blue-collar, Midwestern version of Miami’s turnover chain.
“That’s the mentality of this whole program, is grit,” said Wisconsin safety Collin Wilder, who intended to dress up as a factory worker for Halloween. “I feel like that’s what this program was built on. When you talk about the grit factory, this is the factory of grit — the University of Wisconsin.”
That mentality has helped Wisconsin (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) win four straight after losing three of its first four games.
“A lot of people counted us out,” said Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz, who scored on two quarterback sneaks and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jake Ferguson. “Everybody in that locker room, that never even crossed our mind.”
Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen rushed for 104 yards on 20 attempts. The 17-year-old freshman has run for over 100 yards in four straight games after totaling just 12 carries in Wisconsin’s first four games.
Iowa (6-2, 3-2) has been outscored 51-14 in its last two games after being ranked second in the nation just a couple of weeks ago. This was the Hawkeyes’ first game since a 24-7 home loss to Purdue on Oct. 16.
“There’s no panic,” Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras said. “We’ve been there before. We started last season 0-2. The biggest thing is pushing through when you get knocked down like this. There’s no quit in this team.”
Iowa had no answers for a Wisconsin defense that limited the Hawkeyes to 24 yards rushing on 30 carries.
The Badgers built a 20-0 halftime lead as Iowa fumbled three times inside its own 20-yard line in the second quarter, leading to 10 points for the Badgers. Iowa was ranked third and Wisconsin tied for 124th among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams in turnover margin before Saturday’s game.
The tone was set from the start of the game after Iowa won the toss and chose to receive the opening kickoff rather than defer.
“We saw they wanted the ball,” Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal said. “We were like, ‘OK, we’re going to show you that’s not a good decision.’ ”
Iowa didn’t pick up a first down until just 1:15 remained in the second quarter. Iowa’s net yardage total didn’t get into positive territory for good until midway through the second quarter when the Hawkeyes already trailed 17-0.
“They played really well today, and obviously we couldn’t match their tempo,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Wisconsin’s defense showed its tenacity all day. Linebacker Jack Sanborn exemplified that as much as anyone.
Iowa trailed 20-7 and was threatening to get back into the game in the third quarter when Sanborn returned from a cut on a finger that required stitches. He teamed up with Scott Nelson to stop Iowa fullback Monte Pottebaum for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the 40, foiling the Hawkeyes’ second straight fullback dive attempt.
“I think it’s what everyone expected,” Sanborn said. “It’s Wisconsin vs. Iowa. I think everyone would have been disappointed if they didn’t do a fullback dive there.”
Iowa never threatened again.
Wisconsin’s student section poured onto the field after the game while the Badgers brought out the Heartland Trophy that goes to the winner of this annual matchup. In the meantime, Wilder was left to ponder how he might alter his Halloween costume.
“I don’t think I can wear this hat out there,” Wilder said. “I don’t think I can. It’s sacred now. I think I’ll have to find another hat.”
► (At) Maryland 38, Indiana 35: Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 419 yards and two touchdowns, and Maryland snapped its three-game losing streak with a victory over Indiana.
The Terrapins (5-3, 2-3) trailed 17-14 after a 66-yard touchdown run by Indiana’s Stephen Carr in the third, but Maryland answered with two touchdown drives before the quarter was over.
Challen Faamatau put the Terps ahead with a 1-yard scoring run, and then Tagovailoa connected with Carlos Carriere for a 14-yard touchdown that made it 28-17.
Tagovailoa’s second TD pass came in the final quarter on a 45-yard catch-and-run by Carriere. Then Donaven McCulley threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Peyton Hendershot for the Hoosiers (2-6, 0-5), and a 2-point conversion made it 35-28.
Joseph Petrino made a 41-yard field goal with 1:20 remaining to make it a 10-point game. McCulley’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Hendershot made it 38-35 with 1:00 to play, but Maryland recovered the ensuing onside kick.
► Minnesota 41, (at) Northwestern 14: Mar’Keise Irving ran for two touchdowns and a career-high 110 yards and Justin Walley scooped up a fumble and ran 25 yards for a score as Minnesota defeated Northwestern.
Irving, a freshman from Illinois, broke off a 41-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter to give the Gophers a 33-7 lead.
Tanner Morgan threw for 134 yards and ran for a touchdown and Ky Thomas added 106 yards on 21 carries as Minnesota (6-2, 4-1) improved to 3-0 on the road.
Before it could get its offense untracked Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald pulled starter Ryan Hilinski. Andrew Marty finished 10 of 16 for the Wildcats (3-5, 1-4) and threw a pair of touchdown passes.
► Purdue 28, (at) Nebraska 23: Aidan O’Connell threw for two touchdowns and Purdue intercepted four of Adrian Martinez’s passes as the Boilermakers (5-3, 3-2) bounced back from last week’s home loss to Wisconsin to move within one win of bowl eligibility for the first time in four years.
Nebraska (3-6, 1-5) lost its third straight game and would have to win out against Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa to get to a bowl for the first time in five years.
Purdue held on after Nebraska scored with 1:44 left on Martinez’s 12-yard pass to Rahmir Johnson. The Huskers failed to convert a 2-point try, and the Boilermakers ran out the clock after recovering the onside kick.
O’Connell completed 34 of 45 passes for 233 yards and threw short second-half touchdowns to Milton Wright and Jackson Anthrop to wipe out a 17-14 halftime deficit.
Martinez played one of his worst games, completing 14 of 29 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. He passed for 104 yards on his final series — a holding penalty made the field longer on the 94-yard drive — and his four interceptions were a career high.
► Rutgers 20, (at) Illinois 14: Noah Vedral threw for 138 yards and rushed for a touchdown to lead Rutgers past Illinois.
Isaih Pacheco rushed 21 times for 91 yards and Kyle Monangai ran 15 times for 77 yards and a touchdown for Rutgers (4-4, 1-4).
Ex-Wolverine Brandon Peters, starting for the injured Art Sitkowski, was 14 of 19 passing for 190 yards and two touchdowns for Illinois (3-6, 2-4), including a 52-yard TD pass to Isaiah Williams.
Rutgers put the game away in the second half. Vedral ran it in from 15 yards out early in the fourth quarter to give the Scarlet Knights a 17-14 lead. Valentino Ambrosio kicked a 25-yard field goal with 3:58 left in the game to make the score 20-14.
Illinois was unable to muster much on offense in the second half after leading 14-10 at the half.