Golden Gophers unable to follow up big victory on the road
The Associated Press
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.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Justin Fields threw for a career-high 305 yards and matched his best with four touchdown passes to lead No. 2 Ohio State to a workmanlike 56-21 win over Rutgers.
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.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Shea Patterson threw for a season-high 384 yards and four touchdowns Saturday, sending No. 14 Michigan to a 44-10 romp over Michigan State for the Spartans’ fifth straight loss.
“This one is special,” Patterson said. “I’m proud of be part of this team and part of a dominating win like that.”
The Wolverines (8-2, 5-2, No. 15 CFP) scored 24 straight points after giving up the first touchdown and coasted to their most lopsided win in the rivalry since a 49-3 victory in 2002. The Spartans (4-6, 2-5) must win at Rutgers and against Maryland to be bowl eligible.
Michigan State got off to a solid start, leading 7-0 after the first quarter on Brian Lewerke’s 1-yard pass to Max Rosenthal.
The offensively challenged Spartans did little with the ball and simply couldn’t stop Michigan in the air.
Patterson completed 24 of 33 passes, but deflected credit to his teammates on offense.
“O Line did a heck of a job giving me time and receivers found open space,” he said.
The senior quarterback threw a 5-yard TD pass to Nick Eubanks in the second quarter; an 18-yard pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones for a score in the third; a 22-yard TD pass to Nico Collins in the fourth and a 39-yard pass to Cornelius Johnson with 2:33 left.
Michigan finished with 467 yards of offense — gaining 7 yards per play — and
“Ridiculous,” Michigan State defensive lineman Raequan Williams said. “That’s not ‘Spartan Dawg’ defense.”
Taylor leads Badgers
LINCOLN, Neb. — Jonathan Taylor ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns, Aaron Cruickshank ran back a kickoff 89 yards for a score, and No. 15 Wisconsin beat Nebraska 37-21 on Saturday.
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 Big Ten, 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.
EVANSTON, Ill. — 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 with a 45-6 victory over UMass on Saturday.
Hull, a freshman, had 220 yards rushing on 24 carries (an average of 9.2 yards) in his first significant action this season. He had a total of 15 yards and eight carries (an average of 1.9 yards) before Saturday.