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College Football Week 9: B1G Summary + Notre Dame

Kenneth Walker III made his case for the Heisman in the Paul Bunyan game and ran MSU into playoff contention, Ohio State survived a test against Penn State, and Iowa stumbled again.

Associated Press Chicago Journal
Associated Press / Chicago Journal
24 min read
College Football Week 9: B1G Summary + Notre Dame

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#5 Ohio State vs. #20 Penn State

Henderson, No. 5 Ohio State hold off No. 20 Penn State 33-24

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- — Facing adversity for the first time in more than a month, Ohio State showed off the mettle the Buckeyes believe they'll need to get through the rest of a rugged Big Ten schedule.

TreVeyon Henderson ran for 152 yards on a season-high 28 carries 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.

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.

Three days before the first College Football Playoff rankings, the Buckeyes like where they stand.

"We weren't trying to get style points against Penn State," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. "That's not how it works."

Coming off an ugly nine-overtime loss at home to Illinois, Penn State looked more like the team that had climbed into the top five before losing to Iowa in a game where quarterback Sean Clifford was injured.

"I thought we were more physical, broke some tackles, made some people miss things like that," Penn State coach James Franklin said. "We've got to continue to build on it."

Clifford looked healthy and sharp, 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.

"I feel like I could have done so much more to change the outcome," said Clifford, an Ohio native.

"We're being tested right now," he added.

Ohio State had hardly been tested since losing to Oregon in Week 2. Against Penn State, the Buckeyes played a lot like they did against the Ducks: struggling to finish drives and get off the field on third down.

The Buckeyes are tied for first in the East Division with unbeaten Michigan State, which defeated No. 6 Michigan in a thriller earlier Saturday. Ohio State finishes the season with consecutive games against the Spartans and Wolverines.

"College football right now, it's about surviving and moving on," Day said.

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 1:24 gave Ohio State the lead.

C.J. Stroud floated a pass Chris Olave ran down for a 38-yard touchdown to make it 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.

Harrison's reaction when he saw Cage cruising toward the end zone? "What? Is he running for the score?"

Day laughed, pointing out Cage's shaky ball security.

"He was carrying it like a loaf of bread," Day said.

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 at 17 in the third quarter on 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 field goal on its previous possession, ripped off a 68-yard run to setup a 1-yard scoring plunge by the fabulous freshman. That made it 27-17 with 3:35 left in the third.

"It was tough," Henderson said "That was a physical game, but I stayed the course. We stayed the course."

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 in Penn State territory set up a 25-yard field goal by Ruggles to make it 30-24 with 4:03 left.

"These type of games are definitely needed when you go into this Big Ten play, especially this year, a lot of Big Ten teams are great," Stroud said.


Penn State: The Nittany Lions were almost unrecognizable from last week's performance against Illinois when they could not stop a one-dimensional team from running all over them and could neither sustain drives nor convert a 2-point play on six of seven attempts.

Ohio State: A month of pummeling overmatched opponents had the Buckeyes looking as if they might be emerging as the clear favorites in the Big Ten East after some early struggles, especially on defense. The conference still runs through Columbus, but Ohio State appears vulnerable against teams with more comparable talent.


Penn State is in danger of being unranked for the first time this season while Ohio State is probably holding steady at best when the AP poll comes out Sunday.


Penn State: The Nittany Lions look to snap their skid at Maryland.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes go to Nebraska next week.

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#6 Michigan vs. #8 Michigan State

No. 8 Michigan State rallies to beat No. 6 Michigan 37-33

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Kenneth Walker ran for 197 yards and five touchdowns, helping No. 8 Michigan State top No. 6 Michigan 37-33 in a thrilling comeback victory Saturday.

The Spartans (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) trailed by nine at halftime and 30-14 with 6:47 left in the third quarter before Walker boosted his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy.

Walker’s fifth touchdown — a 23-yard run — lifted the Spartans to a 37-33 lead with 5:08 remaining.

The Wolverines (7-1, 4-1) forced a final punt and had the ball at their 33 with 1:15 and no timeouts left.

After a roughing-the-passer penalty gave Michigan the ball at midfield, Michigan State cornerback Charles Brantley sealed the victory by picking off a floating pass from Cade McNamara.

McNamara threw for 383 yards and two touchdowns, but his interception was costly, as was freshman quarterback J.J. McCarthy’s lost fumble in the fourth quarter.

The rivals were on the same field with 7-0 or better records for the first time, matching up as top-10 teams for the first time since 1964.

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#9 Iowa vs. Wisconsin

Defense carries Wisconsin to 27-7 triumph over No. 9 Iowa

MADISON, Wis. -- — Wisconsin safety Collin Wilder was planning his Halloween costume this week when he bought a red and white hat for $7 at a mall and wrote a message on it with a Sharpie.

Just like that, he came up with the object that best symbolizes how the Badgers have turned their season around.

Wisconsin forced three turnovers and produced six sacks in a 27-7 victory over No. 9 Iowa on Saturday 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 Wilder, who intended to dress up as a factory worker or mechanic 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 Wisconsin's 40-yard line, 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."


Wisconsin tight end Clay Cundiff was carted off the field in an ambulance with his right leg in an air cast after he got hurt in the closing seconds of the third quarter. His teammates gathered around him to offer support before the ambulance took him away.

Cundiff gave a thumbs-up to a cheering crowd as he went into the ambulance.

Wisconsin officials said Cundiff was released from the hospital Saturday night.


Iowa: The Hawkeyes simply don't have enough firepower on offense to survive the mistakes they made in the second quarter. Iowa would have lost by an even greater margin if the Hawkeyes hadn't played such strong red-zone defense. ... Before Saturday, Iowa had held opponents to 24 points or fewer in 29 straight games.

Wisconsin: The Badgers have beaten ranked opponents in each of their last two games, as they won 30-13 at then-No. 25 Purdue a week ago. Before this stretch, Wisconsin had lost eight straight games to Top 25 teams.


Iowa obviously will fall out of the top 10 and could plunge all the way into the 20s after a second straight loss.


Iowa: At Northwestern on Saturday.

Wisconsin: At Rutgers on Saturday.

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#11 Notre Dame vs. North Carolina

Williams has 91-yard TD run, No. 11 Notre Dame beats NC

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — On a night when he had a 91-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, Kyren Williams once again gave credit to his offensive line as No. 11 Notre Dame held off Sam Howell and upset-minded North Carolina 44-34 on Saturday in a game that had over 1,000 yards in offense.

“Their blocking means everything to me because I know what they do every week,” the 5-foot-9, 199-pound Williams said after rushing for a career-high 199 yards on 22 carries. “I just appreciate all of my boys working collectively as a group.”

Coach Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish improved to 7-1 with their third straight victory — and ruined the 400th collegiate game for North Carolina Hall of Fame coach Mack Brown.

“We did some good things with good balance on offense running it and throwing it,” Kelly said. “I really love this team. I love their grit but I like they are getting better.”

The Irish won despite being outgained by the Tar Heels (4-4) in total yardage, 554-523. But the Irish outrushed the Tar Heels 293-223.

Despite the loss, Brown was impressed by both teams’ play. “I thought it was a great game,” he said. “Both teams played really hard, both offenses ran up and down the field ,and neither defense played great.”

Howell, who became the Tar Heels’ first quarterback with over 10,000 passing yards in his junior season, finished with 341 yards on 24-of-31 passing with one touchdown and one interception. He added another 101 yards on 18 carries, one a 31-yard touchdown run that kept the Tar Heels in it at 41-34 with 7:23 to play. It was the third game this season he has passed for over 300 yards and rushed for more than 100.

“He’s a warrior,” Kelly said,

Howell, naturally, was disappointed.

“I thought we played a pretty good game,” Howell said. “(I) had the pick late that hurt us … we had some penalties as well. But I thought we played a decent game on offense. We had all of our weapons kind of involved in the game plan.”

After Howell’s touchdown run, Notre Dame responded with a 13-play, 73-yard drive that ate up 5:46 of the clock, leading to Jonathan Doerer’s third field goal of the game from 21 yards that were the final points of the wild scoring night.

With Notre Dame, which led 17-13 at halftime, clinging to a 31-27 lead early in the fourth quarter, Williams, took a simple handoff from quarterback Jack Coan right and then reversed his field, breaking past defender Tomon Fox.

“I knew I was going to score as soon as I stiff-armed No. 12 (Fox),” Williams said. The Irish running back got a block downfield from tight end Michael Mayer before outracing linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel to the end zone, tying the sixth longest touchdown run in Notre Dame history.

“It’s frustrating because you got them backed up,” Brown said. “That was a 14-point swing. We lost leverage. We had him in the backfield and he bounced out completely. It was one of the best runs I’ve ever seen.”

Coan finished with 213 passing yards on 16-of-24 passing with one touchdown — a 21-yarder to Kevin Austin — and added a 21-yard running touchdown in the third quarter. Freshman Tyler Buchner threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Avery Davis to get the Irish started, and Williams’ freshman sub Logan Diggs added a 1-yard scoring run in the third quarter.

North Carolina running back Ty Chandler had 3- and 53-yard scoring runs and finished with 83 yards on 15 carries.


North Carolina: Notre Dame never really had a handle on the 6-foot-1 1/4, 225-pound junior Howell, who showed off a talented right arm along with his elusive feet. The Fighting Irish did manage the one interception and also three quarterback sacks. Howell wasn’t impressed with the records he broke Saturday night.

“It’s definitely not why I play the game, but it’s not something I take for granted — I’m very blessed,” Howell said, who came into the game with 483 rushing yards this season. “Honestly, it just feels like I’m back to high school. In high school I ran it probably 25 times a game.”

“I think he’s been unbelvieable,” Brown added. “We wouldn’t have won as many games as we have without Sam Howell, and he’s helped our recruiting.”

Notre Dame: The Irish played up-tempo most of the game, with Buchner making several appearances in place of Coan whenever the Irish needed to run the ball. Each quarterback threw a touchdown pass in the first half as the Irish took a 17-13 lead to the locker room. Even more important, the Irish did not commit a turnover and Coan was sacked just once.

Coan wasn’t surprised by his 21-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

“I don’t take anything for granted when I’m running,” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I’m still going.’ There were a few play calls that had me running the ball. I’m healthy and it’s something I think I can do, and I was excited for it.”


Notre Dame entered the game ranked No. 11 and should move up with losses by No. 6 Michigan, No. 9 Iowa and No. 10 Mississippi.


North Carolina: Hosts Wake Forest on Saturday in a nonconference meeting of Atlantic Coast Conference schools.

Notre Dame: Hosts Navy on Saturday.

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Maryland vs. Indiana

Maryland snaps skid with 38-35 victory over Indiana

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- — Taulia Tagovailoa and Maryland can still move the ball through the air, even after a couple big injuries on the receiving corps.

Tagovailoa threw for 419 yards and two touchdowns, and the Terrapins snapped their three-game losing streak with a 38-35 victory over Indiana on Saturday. Maryland is without receivers Dontay Demus and Jeshaun Jones, lost to season-ending injuries earlier this month, but Tagovailoa still had the program's biggest passing game since 1993.

"It just feels good to win," Tagovailoa said. "The stats, and all that stuff, obviously it comes with it."

The Terrapins (5-3, 2/3 Big Ten) 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.

"We prepare for a four-quarter game, and today it was," Terrapins coach Michael Locksley said. "It didn't have to be, but it was."

Tagovailoa passed for the third-most yards in Maryland history, and the most since Scott Milanovich threw for a school-record 498 against Virginia Tech in 1993.

Tagovailoa and the Terrapins won their first four games this season before blowout losses to Iowa and Ohio State and a road defeat against Minnesota. They got back on track in their homecoming game against the struggling Hoosiers.

Maryland scored touchdowns on its first two drives, on 1-yard runs by Tayon Fleet-Davis and Faamatau. Petrino missed a 40-yard kick that would have made it 17-0, and Indiana drove the other way and scored on a 1-yard run by Carr.

The game bogged down a bit after that. Indiana blocked a punt and took over at the Maryland 13, but came away with no points. A sack and a penalty forced the Hoosiers to try a 42-yard field goal, which Charles Campbell missed.

Campbell made up for that when he made a 55-yarder in the final seconds of the half to make it 14-10.

The long run by Carr gave Indiana its first lead of the game, but it was brief.

"Had a chance after we took the lead on that big run by Stephen, and two straight scoring drives just killed us," Indiana coach Tom Allen said. "The kids didn't quit, they kept fighting. We needed to get one more stop, and we didn't get any takeaways."

With Michael Penix Jr. and Jack Tuttle injured, McCulley played quarterback for the Hoosiers. The freshman was 14 of 25 for 242 yards and two TDs.

"I think it was the whole team coming together," Hendershot said. "We have a freshman quarterback and it made the team come together and play harder. I feel like we had great energy. We came out early and were sluggish, but we didn't lay down."


Indiana: The Hoosiers are still winless in the Big Ten, a remarkable disappointment for a team that began the season in the Top 25. Indiana's previous five losses were against teams that have been in the top 10 at some point, but this game showed just how far the Hoosiers have fallen.

Maryland: This was a big win for the Terps as they attempt to reach the six-win mark that would assure bowl eligibility. Maryland's next three games are against Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan. The Terrapins then face Rutgers in the regular-season finale.


Carriere had eight catches for 134 yards. He had seven receptions all season before this game.

"He's a guy that's kind of always been a role player," Locksley said. "With injuries, we always talk about the next man stepping up."


Indiana had seven penalties to Maryland's five — but the Terps had only one 15-yarder, and the Hoosiers had four pass interference flags, an unnecessary roughness and an unsportsmanlike conduct.


Indiana: The Hoosiers play at No. 6 Michigan next Saturday.

Maryland: The Terrapins host No. 20 Penn State on Saturday.

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Rutgers vs. Illinois

Rutgers edges Illinois 20-14 for its first Big Ten win

By TERRY TOWERY | Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Noah Vedral threw for 138 yards and rushed for a touchdown to lead Rutgers past Illinois 20-14 on Saturday.

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 Big Ten).

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. Williams caught 3 passes for 67 yards and the touchdown. Daniel Barker caught 2 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Chase Brown carried 18 times for 67 yards for the Illini.

Illinois only managed 107 yards on the ground against Rutgers after racking up 357 last week in a stunning 9-overtime win against then-No. 7 Penn State.

"I thought today was huge," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "After a team that really ran the ball well a week ago, to be able to stop the run was huge."

Schiano said he saw improvement in his defense.

"If you can be a great tackle team, you can play great defense," he said. "We weren't great tackling today, but we were much better than we were a week ago, and that's what's got to continue to improve."


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.

"It's very discouraging," Illinois coach Bret Bielema said. "We can't seem to play a four-quarter game at home for some reason. And that's one-hundred percent my responsibility. We came out in the second half and laid an egg. My fault."

Rutgers quarteback Vedral left the game early in the first quarter with an unspecified injury and was replaced by Cole Snyder. Vedral returned midway through the second quarter after spending several minutes in the injury tent.

Rutgers scored first on a 7-yard run by Monangai that capped a 10-play, 61-yard drive that saw three personal foul penalties resulting from a brief scrum between players.

Illinois scored with 10:13 left in the first half on a 52-yard pass from Peters to Williams to make the score 7-7.

"I thought BP (Peters) this past week had his best week of preparation of the year," Bielema said. "But that all gets lost in defeat, unfortunately."

The Scarlet Knights took a 10-7 lead with 5:42 left in the half on a 35-yard field goal by Ambrosia.

Illinois answered with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Peters to Barker to make the score 14-10 at the half.


Rutgers coach Schiano: "That was a team victory. We were far from perfect. But that was what we said it was going to be. It was a tough, Midwestern football game – had to really get dirty today to win the game. I thought our guys just kept chopping every play. That's what we talked about. Can you sustain that, stay focused? That's the hardest thing."


There was some concern that the Illini, on the heels of a 9-overtime upset win over Penn State last week on the road, would come out lackluster. They were, despite what was perhaps Peters' best quarterback performance of the year. Rutgers needed its first conference win and got it.


Rutgers: Hosts Wisconsin on Nov. 6.

Illinois: At Minnesota on Nov. 6.

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Minnesota vs. Northwestern

Irving runs for 110 yards in Minnesota's 41-14 win

EVANSTON, Ill. -- — 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 41-14 Saturday.

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 Big Ten) improved to 3-0 on the road.

Already thin at running back with season-ending injuries to Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts, Minnesota's Bryce Williams suffered a lower leg injury, putting pressure on Irving, a freshman, and Thomas, a redshirt freshman.

Williams' status is unknown as he undergoes tests.

"Everybody knows we're going to run the football. I don't think that is a secret. I don't think we're catching anyone off guard by that," Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said.

Thomas was banged up early in the game but returned. The Gophers' depth chart has taken so much of a hit that Fleck experimented with linebacker Derik LeCaptain at running back. LeCaptain had a 24-yard run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

"Bryce went down today, Ky was done for a while and we were down to Bucko (Irving) and we had Derik (LeCaptain) on deck. Again, those are the cards we're dealt," Fleck said.

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.

Fitzgerald would not name a starter going forward.

"We have to help him (Marty) a little bit more, we had more drops in the second half than we had in a long time and those are opportunities for first downs and being able to sustain drives," Fitzgerald said. "I thought he gave us a spark and that was encouraging. So who is going to be our quarterback for next week? We will work through that."

The Gophers never trailed after opening the game with a 13-play, 67-yard drive capped by a 26-yard field goal by Matthew Trickett.

On the next play from scrimmage, Hilinski completed a pass to Malik Washington, who was stripped by Mariano Sori-Marin and Walley picked up the loose ball and scored.

Minnesota held Northwestern to a three-and-out and capitalized with another field goal from Trickett for a 13-0 first-quarter lead.

Marty came in during an 11-play 75-yard drive and capped it with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Evan Hull, who accounted for 50 yards of total offense on the drive.

The Gophers answered on their next possession with Irving scoring from the 3.

Trailing 20-7 late in the first half, Northwestern got a key defensive stop when Coco Azema tipped a Morgan pass and Brandon Joseph made a diving catch in the end zone for the interception.

Morgan had an 18-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

Marty threw a late, 17-yard touchdown pass to Berkeley Holman.


Minnesota: With an impressive win against Northwestern, Minnesota sits alone at the top of the Big Ten West standings despite losing its two top running backs.

Northwestern: Fitzgerald will need to find stability at quarterback for Northwestern to compete the rest of the way. Fitzgerald started the season with Hunter Johnson, replaced him with Hilinski, and now has Marty as a potential starter.


Irving and Thomas ran for a combined 216 yards. That got center John Michael Schmitz's attention."Those young backs are special," he said.


Marty wasn't sure if he was going to stay in the game after the touchdown pass to Hull. "I wasn't expecting really anything," said Marty. "Whenever my name's called I've been ready to go. I was on a roll and I wanted to go back in and it eventually happened."


Minnesota: Hosts Illinois on Saturday.

Northwestern: Hosts Iowa on Saturday.

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Purdue vs. Nebraska

Tough 2nd-half defense lifts Boilermakers past Huskers 28-23

LINCOLN, Neb. -- — Purdue didn't let a bad performance in its previous game carry over to the next one.

Aidan O'Connell threw for two touchdowns, Purdue intercepted four of Adrian Martinez's passes, and the Boilermakers beat Nebraska 28-23 on Saturday.

Purdue (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) 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.

"We know we didn't play good last week," O'Connell said. "It was probably our worst game of the season offensively. So we knew we could play better. It wasn't like we were pondering if we can play football. We know we can play good football."

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.

The Huskers entered the game as a touchdown favorite, and the loss is certain to ratchet up the pressure another notch on fourth-year coach Scott Frost.

Nebraska was coming off an open date following its 30-23 loss at Minnesota and had two touchdowns and a field goal on its first four possessions. But the Huskers fell flat coming out of halftime.

"We've just got to play better," Frost said. "We're a good team. We're not a great team talent-wise. A team shouldn't need me to motivate them all the time. That's my job. That's what I do. A great team doesn't need a coach to motivate them all the time.

"We got them ready to play. I thought they came out ready to play in the first half. I don't think they were not ready to play in the second half. We just stubbed our toe again a few times and made too many mistakes and got beat."

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.

It was a solid bounce-back for the Boilermakers, who knocked off a then-No. 2 Iowa 24-7 on the road before committing five turnovers and allowing 297 yards rushing in a 30-13 home loss to the Badgers on Oct. 23.

"For our guys to respond the way they did after a tough loss against a really good team," Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. "This might be the most proud I've been of our team."

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.

Nebraska had 36 yards and one first down in the second half before getting the ball with 5:45 to play and down 11 points.

By then, most of the fans were heading for the exits — a rare sight at Memorial Stadium.

"I'm grateful to the fans. I'm grateful to coach at my alma mater," Frost said. "I'm impatient to have these games turn out a different way. I was just as frustrated as them in the second half."


Purdue: The Boilermakers avoided back-to-back losses with a sharp road performance. They got back Zander Horvath, who missed five games with a broken fibula, and his return aided what had been a struggling ground game.

Nebraska: Boos poured out of the Memorial Stadium stands when Martinez threw his third interception — a snapshot of the state of the program right now.


Jalen Graham had the first two interceptions of his career, returning the first one 45 yards for Purdue's first touchdown. Graham would have had three picks but dropped one on Nebraska's first series.

It was the second time in three games that the Boilermakers had four interceptions.


Purdue rushed for 116 yards, the first time it went over 100 yards on the ground against a conference opponent since last November. ... David Bell caught nine balls for 74 yards. ... Frost dropped to 5-18 in one-score games at Nebraska. ... Walk-on Chase Contreraz took over as kicker for the struggling Connor Culp. Contreraz made a 33-yard field goal and both of his extra-point attempts.


Purdue hosts Michigan State on Saturday.

Nebraska hosts Ohio State on Saturday.

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