Nittany Lions wrest Big Ten lead from Buckeyes (Football)

David Kalan

In a game that featured two of the nation’s best defenses, No. 16 Penn State bested No. 6 Ohio State 17-10 on Saturday night in Happy Valley. The surprising Nittany Lions (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) managed to shut down the Buckeyes (3-2, 1-1), widely considered to be the class of the Big Ten and contenders for a national title. After a close win two weeks ago at Northwestern and a dismantling of Minnesota last week, Penn State finally had a win against a tried and tested opponent.

“Everyone feels that Penn State is back,” linebacker Dan Connor said. “We’re back on the map.”

For the first time since 1999, Penn State is a player in the national championship picture.

The going was easy for the Lions. Penn State managed only 195 yards of total offense against the Buckeyes. Ohio State gained 230 yards but had two turnovers while Penn State had none.

Having just completed a 74-yard drive on a 13-yard touchdown run by true freshman Derrick Williams, Penn State scored again after Calvin Lowry’s interception return to the two-yard line. Three plays later Michael Robinson scored on a keeper with 7:55 to go in the half to make it 14-3. The two scores came within 2:33 of one another and sent the crowd of 109,839 into a frenzy.

“I haven’t been around for much winning,” Robinson said. “But it’s definitely a highlight of my career.”

Minnesota 23, No. 21 Michigan 20

Jason Giannini watched his 30-yard field goal split the uprights with one second left to put the Gophers on top. After Michigan failed to return the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, the Little Brown Jug was Minnesota’s at last.

“I watched the heartbreak the last two years, and everyone said we couldn’t beat Michigan,” offensive tackle Tony Brinkhaus said. “When there was one second left, I kept looking around and wondering, ‘Where’s the Jug?’ “

The 102-year-old Jug is the oldest trophy in Division I-A college football. Minnesota (5-1, 2-1), which lost fourth quarter leads in its last two meetings with Michigan (3-3, 1-2), had not captured the Jug since 1986.

Michigan led 20-13 in the second half before Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney scored with 6:12 to go in the third quarter to tie the game.

Michigan kicker Garrett Rivas missed two chances to break the tie with a 42-yard kick in the third quarter and a 34-yarder with 8:27 left.

Michigan is off to its worst start since 1990, and has lost three games before Oct. 10 for the first time ever in the program history.

“Obviously, we’re in a position we’re not accustomed to being, but there are no promises out there,” Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. “We’ll see how we handle this particular position.”

Iowa 34, Purdue 17

Quarterback Drew Tate returned to form on his 21st birthday, throwing a career-high 357 yards and three touchdowns as Iowa rolled over Purdue.

The win gives hope to the Hawkeyes (4-2, 2-1), who have struggled most of the season, while the Boilermakers (2-3, 0-2) are off to their worst start in coach Joe Tiller’s nine-year tenure.

Purdue’s Brandon Kirsch also had a career day, throwing for 353 yards. Kirsch made a costly error in the fourth quarter, however, when he forced a pass into the endzone, with Purdue trailing 23-17. The pass was intercepted by Iowa’s Edmond Miles.

Iowa went 80 yards on the ensuing drive, capping it with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Tate to Clinton Solomon. Purdue never threatened again.

Solomon finished the game with five catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns.

The Boilermakers, who led the nation in rushing defense at one point this season, allowed 535 yards to the Hawkeyes. It was the third-straight game in which Purdue gave up 500 yards.

Indiana 36, Illinois 13

Sophomore quarterback Blake Powers led an offensive outburst for the Hoosiers with four touchdown passes against Illinois.

In a battle of traditional cellar dwellers, the Hoosiers (4-1, 1-1) racked up 405 yards of total offense against the Illini (2-4, 0-3) who have lost 10 consecutive Big Ten road games.

Powers broke Indiana’s single-season record for touchdown passes with his 18th of the year late in the fourth quarter.

The record had been held by current Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El.

Chris Taylor rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown for the Hoosiers, while wide receiver James Hardy had 118 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

Illinois quarterback Tim Brasic was 22 for 39 for 230 yards and a touchdown, but he threw a costly interception late in the first half and had a fumble early in the fourth quarter. Both turnovers led to scores for Indiana.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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