INDIANA 38, NEBRASKA 31
Indiana players started celebrating before the clock struck zeroes, and as they headed to the locker room they continued to whoop and holler.
“We’re going bowling,” they yelled.
Yes, they are. It’s not even November, and the Hoosiers have achieved the six wins needed to play in a bowl for the first time since 2016.
Leading the way in Saturday’s 38-31 win over Nebraska was Peyton Ramsey, the starting quarterback for two years before getting beat out in the preseason. Starting for the third time this season in place of the injured Michael Penix Jr., Ramsey passed for a career-high 351 yards and two touchdowns.
“Being so far from home, being our first time here at Nebraska, it was awesome,” Ramsey said. “It was a fun deal and we’re going to celebrate it.”
The Hoosiers certainly did.
“You should have seen us in the locker room after the game,” said Whop Philyor, who caught 14 passes for 178 yards. “We were going crazy. It was chaos.”
The Hoosiers (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) won a third straight conference game in the same season for the first time since 1993 and won in Lincoln for the first time since 1959.
“It feels pretty stinking good to stand here and answer your questions after a big-time road win,” Allen told reporters. “This is a big-time win. It changes a lot for our program.”
Nebraska (4-4, 2-3) lost its second straight, and second-year coach Scott Frost lamented two turnovers that were converted into touchdowns, breakdowns in pass defense, a missed field goal and poor punt that gave Indiana a short field for a scoring drive.
“It’s frustrating,” Frost said. “We’ve got a lot of guys on this team who really care. We have some guys who are tough and dedicated enough. We don’t have enough of them yet.
“We’re just OK right now. I’m not going to be happy with just OK. Just OK can’t exist around here.”
Philyor caught 14 balls in a game for the second time this season as the Hoosiers riddled Nebraska with crossing routes and a variety of other short passes.
“It’s so inspiring to watch,” Ramsey said. “He’s a tough little dude. He’s a fun guy to throw the ball to. You know you’re going to get yards after the catch.”
Ramsey, who completed 27 of 40 passes, put the Hoosiers up 31-24 with a 2-yarder to tight end Matt Bjorson on the last play of the third quarter. Kanawai Noa fumbled on the Huskers’ next possession, and the Hoosiers went 57 yards for a two-touchdown lead with 12 minutes left.
Nebraska started Noah Vedral in place of the injured Adrian Martinez, and he was helped off the field in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury.
Freshman Luke McCaffrey entered and, on his second series, led a six-play, 74-yard touchdown drive for a 21-16 halftime lead.
David Ellis’s 1-yard run put the Hoosiers up 24-21, and it was tied after Barret Pickering’s 30-yard field goal for Nebraska.
The Hoosiers went ahead again on Bjorson’s TD and, after Noa fumbled, Philyor converted a fourth-and-7 before Stevie Scott ran 9 yards for a two-touchdown lead.
McCaffrey led a quick scoring drive that Wan’Dale Robinson finished with a 4-yard run to pull the Huskers within seven. Vedral returned for the Huskers’ final drive, but they turned the ball over on downs near midfield and the Hoosiers ran out the clock.
ILLINOIS 24, PURDUE 6
Dre Brown kept Illinois grounded Saturday. Cornerback Tony Adams scored all the points the Fighting Illini needed.
That combination helped Illinois mop up at Purdue.
On a soggy afternoon, Brown splashed his way to a career-high 131 yards rushing, Adams returned an interception 13 yards for a touchdown and Illinois pulled away for 24-6 victory to claim the Cannon Trophy for the first time since 2015.
“It’s nice to leave the place a little better than we found it,” Brown said. “It’s such a small cannon but it’s cool to celebrate and take pictures with it.”
The steadily falling rain chased thousands of fans from their seats at halftime and turned the game into an ugly quagmire.
But there was no dampening this postgame celebration.
The Fighting Illini (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) continued building momentum following last week’s upset over then No. 6 Wisconsin. They’ve now matched the highest single-season win total in coach Lovie Smith’s four-year tenure.
All that was missing — completing the first shutout in Smith’s tenure.
Purdue avoided its first scoreless game since November 2013 by capping a 99-yard fourth-quarter drive with an 11-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Aidan O’Connell to Payne Durham. Otherwise, it was all Illini.
“I thought we’d come ready to play. I’ll take the blame for that,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said after finishing with 271 total yards. “But it was a bad performance. We got exposed in many areas and it’s a bad day.”
And the Boilermakers never really had a chance.
Brown’s 44-yard first-quarter run set up James McCourt for a 38-yard field goal and when Adams jumped the route early in the second quarter, the Illini lead 10-0.
Brohm responded by pulling starting quarterback Jack Plummer for two series and by the time he was back on the field, Brandon Peters had made it 17-0 on a 1-yard TD plunge late in the first half.
Plummer was yanked again after losing a fumble in the third quarter and the 29-yard return Stanley Green allowed the Illini to seal it with 20-yard scoring from Reggie Corbin.
Brown needed only 10 carries in the first half to record the first 100-yard game of his career and Peters threw only six times, completing three for 26 yards.
Plummer was 8 of 20 with 71 yards and the two turnovers.
“We didn’t have to look at the past week to get ready for Purdue,” Smith said. “They embarrassed us on homecoming last year. Most of our guys were there. The Cannon has been here for a lot of years.”
OHIO 34, BALL STATE 21
Nathan Rourke accounted for 258 yards of offense and ran for two touchdowns to lead Ohio to a 34-21 victory over Ball State on Saturday.
Ohio (4-4, 3-1) has won two of its last three games while Ball State (4-4, 3-1) lost its first Mid-American Conference game.
Rourke was 8-of-16-passing for 131 yards and had 127 yards rushing. O’Shaan Allison added 104 yards on the ground, and De’Montre Tuggle had a pair touchdown runs for Ohio.
Drew Plitt threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score for Ball State. Walter Fletcher ran for 156 yards on 14 carries that included a 73-yard touchdown run.
Rourke and Plitt traded 1-yard scoring runs in the first quarter. Louie Zervos kicked field goals from 20 and 23 yards to give the Bobcats a 13-7 halftime lead.
Tuggle scored on an 11-yard run and Fletcher answered with his 73-yarder on the next play from scrimmage. Tuggle’s 1-yard TD run stretched Ohio’s lead to 27-14 with 4:33 remaining in the third quarter.
Rourke capped a 9-play, 64-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run with about four minutes to play that made it 34-14.
MICHIGAN 45, NOTRE DAME 14
Zach Charbonnet ran for two touchdowns in the first half and Shea Patterson threw for two scores in the second, helping No. 19 Michigan rout No. 8 Notre Dame 45-14 in driving rain Saturday night.
The Wolverines (6-2) ended an eight-game losing streak against top-10 teams under coach Jim Harbaugh, who needed a signature win in his fifth season that likely won’t end with the Big Ten title he and college football’s winningest program desperately covet.
“We played our best game,” Patterson said. “When we do that, we’re a really tough team to beat.”
The Fighting Irish (5-2) were knocked out of the College Football Playoff picture on the rain-filled night that seemed to affect them much more than Michigan.
“It wasn’t necessarily that they threw anything at us that we weren’t ready for, we just didn’t hit our standard of offense,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said.
Notre Dame took advantage of a questionable call on pass interference to set up Ian Book’s 7-yard TD pass to Cole Kmet to pull within 10 points late in the third quarter.
Michigan responded with Patterson’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones on the ensuing drive, which got off to a good start with Hassan Haskins’ 49-yard run. The former linebacker finished with career-high 149 yards on 20 carries.
Charbonnet had 74 yards rushing on 15 carries, giving Michigan a tandem of running backs to control the game behind an offensive line that created huge holes.
Patterson threw his second TD early in the fourth, connecting on a 16-yard pass to Nico Collins, to put Michigan ahead 31-7.
On a windy and wet night, it was difficult to throw the ball and Michigan’s defense made it tough for the Irish to run.
Book was 8 of 25 for 73 yards the senior’s lowest total since last year’s opener when he threw just three passes and TD that averted a shutout.
“We knew once we hit (Book) a couple times we knew that he was going to be jumpy in the pocket,” Michigan safety Josh Metellus said. “I know what this defense is capable of. We can shut anybody out. If everybody is locked in, doing their job, we can shut out anybody in the country.”
With the game out of reach, Kelly put in sophomore Phil Jurkovec and he threw a 14-yard TD pass to Javon McKinley late in the game to cut the deficit to 31 points.
Notre Dame’s Tony Jones Jr. was held to 14 yards on eight carries, reminiscent of the game he had in a loss to No. 3 Georgia last month when he had just 21 yards rushing on nine carries. Jones ran for 100-plus yards in his previous three games before being shut down by the swarming Wolverines.