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Saturday's Big Ten: Ohio State holds off Indiana; Northwestern dumps Wisconsin


Mitch Stacy  |  Associated Press

Columbus, Ohio — Master Teague ran a career-high 169 yards and two touchdowns, Justin Fields accounted for three scores and No. 3 Ohio State held off a comeback bid by Michael Penix Jr., Ty Fryfogle and No. 9 Indiana to win 42-35 on Saturday.

The Hoosiers (4-1) rallied from a four-touchdown deficit in the second half and made it a one-score game with 10:26 left, when Penix and Fryfogle connected on a 56-yard touchdown.

Penix was 27 for 51 for a career-high 491 yards and five touchdown passes for Indiana.

The Buckeyes (4-0) put up 607 yards and led 35-7 early in the second half, but struggled to contain Penix and Fryfogle, who caught seven passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns.

Fields was 18 for 30 for 300 yards and two touchdown passes, but he also threw his first three interceptions of the season and was sacked five times.

“Of course I made bad decisions,” Fields said. “I ended up with three picks but we got the W today. That’s all that matters. We got the W, and we’re 4-0.”

Garrett Wilson had seven catches for 169 yards – his fourth straight game of 100-plus yards – and two scores for the Buckeyes.

The running game helped Ohio State maintain control when things were getting dicey.

Penix passed for four touchdowns in the second half but also made a critical error, tossing an interception that Ohio State’s Shaun Wade returned for a touchdown at the end of the third quarter.

Indiana had climbed its highest ranking in the AP Top 25 in more than a half-century, and the Hoosiers had pumped up their confidence by beating conference rivals Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State in the same season for the first time in program history.

“I loved what I saw today, but obviously we didn’t get the result wanted, so it hurts,” Penix said.

Other Big Ten games

(At) No. 19 Northwestern 17, No. 10 Wisconsin 7: Peyton Ramsey threw two touchdown passes and Northwestern shut down Graham Mertz and Wisconsin to take control of the Big Ten West.

Northwestern forced five turnovers – four in the first half – and sacked Mertz three times in its first win over a top-10 team since a 28-25 victory over No. 9 Nebraska on Nov. 5, 2011. Ramsey, a graduate transfer from Indiana, was 23 for 44 for 203 yards, and Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman had four receptions for 95 yards.

The Wildcats improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2015. They also moved to 5-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1996.

Wisconsin (2-1, 2-1) had committed just one turnover this year, a fumble during a 45-7 victory over Illinois on Oct. 23. The Badgers then had back-to-back games canceled because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the program before rolling to a 49-11 win at Michigan last weekend.

Mertz, a redshirt freshman, lost a fumble and threw the first three interceptions of his career against Northwestern. Senior running back Garrett Groshek also lost a fumble in his return after he missed the victory against the Wolverines.

The Badgers still managed to stay in the game thanks to their stout defense. But Charlie Kuhbander kicked a 32-yard field goal with 11:35 left, and Northwestern finished off another second-half shutout. The Wildcats have allowed just 10 points in the final two quarters this season.

Northwestern got off to a fast start. After Wisconsin went nowhere on its first possession, Ramsey tossed a 2-yard TD pass to Charlie Mangieri with 10:50 left in the first quarter. John Raine set up the score by drawing a pair of pass interference penalties in the end zone.

Groshek then fumbled the ball away for the Badgers, and Chiaokhiao-Bowman’s 36-yard reception on a pass by fellow receiver Riley Lees moved the Wildcats to the Badgers 1. The play was originally ruled a touchdown, but a replay review showed Chiaokhiao-Bowman stepped out of bounds.

The overturned call took on added significance when Isaiah Bowser fumbled on the next snap, and Spencer Lytle recovered for Wisconsin in the end zone. The Badgers then put together a six-play, 80-yard drive, tying it at 7 on Mertz’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Chimere Dike with 5:14 left in the opening quarter.

Wisconsin had a couple chances to move in front in the first half, but Mertz fumbled on a sack by Blake Gallagher and threw two interceptions to Brandon Joseph. The first pick was deflected by linebacker Paddy Fisher before it went through the arms of tight end Hayden Rucci.

After Joseph’s second interception, Northwestern put together a seven-play, 72-yard drive to go ahead to stay. Ramsey made a terrific throw to Chiaokhiao-Bowman for a tiebreaking 25-yard touchdown on an over-the-shoulder grab with 56 seconds left in the half.

Mertz was 23 of 41 for 230 yards. Jalen Berger had 15 carries for 93 yards for the Badgers.

Illinois 41, (at) Nebraska 23: Former Michigan quarterback Brandon Peters threw for one touchdown and ran for another in his first game in nearly a month, Illinois had two rushers go over 100 yards, and the Illini beat turnover-plagued Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers won at Illinois last year despite committing four turnovers. They couldn’t survive five, though, as the Illini won in Lincoln for the first time since 1924.

Luke McCaffrey, making his second start at quarterback, committed the first of his four turnovers on the first play from scrimmage. Wan’Dale Robinson coughed up the ball as the Huskers (1-3, 1-3 Big Ten) tried to come back in the second half.

Illinois (2-3, 2-3) led 28-10 after two quarters, their most first-half points against a conference opponent in 10 years, and was up 41-17 early in the fourth quarter. The Illini won their second road game in as many weeks.

Nebraska linebacker Collin Miller was taken off the field on a stretcher with about 12 minutes to play. He appeared to have been hurt while tackling Mike Epstein.

Medical personnel tended to Miller for several minutes near the south end zone as players from both teams took a knee. He was strapped to a backboard and taken out of the stadium. There was no immediate announcement on the nature of his injury.

Peters, who had been out since Oct. 24 because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the team, showed no rust in leading a balanced Illini offense that had 285 yards rushing and 205 passing.

Nebraska entered the game as a 16-point favorite and ran into trouble immediately.

McCaffrey ran 4 yards on the first snap and flung the ball into the turf – what was ruled a lateral instead of an illegal forward pass – and Illini linebacker Jake Hansen recovered at the 21.

Chase Brown, who ran for 110 yards on 26 carries, scored the first of his two touchdowns three plays later.

Tarique Barnes intercepted a scrambling McCaffrey’s desperation throw along the sideline on a fourth-and-4 play. Peters threw to Josh Imatorbhebhe for a 28-yard touchdown for a 21-7 lead.

Iowa 41, (at) Penn State 21: Spencer Petras smiled and admitted he’s not the strongest runner when he has the football in his hands.

But Iowa’s quarterback doesn’t have to be, especially when the 300-pounders in front of him do most of the hard work like they did on Saturday in Iowa’s win.

Petras completed 18 of 28 passes for 186 yards and ran for a late touchdown to lead Iowa to its third straight win and first at Beaver Stadium since 2009. The Hawkeyes (3-2, 3-2 Big Ten) got a combined 179 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Mekhi Sargent and Tyler Goodson, who ran through wide-open lanes and cut around missed tackles to snap Iowa’s six-game losing streak in the series.

“A really good team win for us tonight,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I almost forgot how good it feels to come out of here with a victory.”

Iowa players presented Ferentz with the game ball in the locker room after the Big Ten’s longest-tenured coach won his 100th game in conference play.

“We’ll turn our attention to the next opportunity, because it’s going to come fast,” Ferentz said.

The points came quick for the Hawkeyes who scored on their first two drives, forced four turnovers and stymied the Nittany Lions (0-5, 0-5) on a pair of first-half fourth-down tries.

Iowa led 31-7 midway through the third quarter before Sean Clifford replaced Will Levis at quarterback for Penn State. Clifford completed a pair of touchdown passes for 96 yards in a 3:54 span that cut Iowa’s lead to 10 with just over a quarter left.

Levis went 13 of 16 for 106 yards, added 34 rushing yards and fumbled twice. Clifford was 13 of 22 with 174 yards and two interceptions for the Nittany Lions, who fell to 0-5 for the first time in their 134-year history.

“We got in this situation together and we’re going to get out of it together,” Penn State coach James Franklin said.

A handful of chunk plays on Iowa’s opening drive set up a 40-yard field goal from Keith Duncan that opened the scoring. Penn State took its first lead since the final minutes of its season opener when Keyvone Lee scored from 6 yards out on his team’s next possession.

The first-half highlights ended there for Penn State who turned the ball over on three of its next four possessions before halftime.

The Hawkeyes took the lead for good on their next drive when Goodson capped a 75-yard drive with a 10-yard sprint to the goal line.