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Big Ten weekend review: week nine

While Maryland was on bye, check out how the rest of the Big Ten fared.

Ohio State v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Maryland football was on its bye week this weekend. The Terps (6-2) return to the field on Nov. 5 for a road matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers.

Let’s look at how the rest of the Big Ten fared in week nine.

Biggest surprise: No. 17 Illinois vs. Nebraska

While the outcome certainly wasn’t a surprise, the season that now-No. 14 Illinois continues to have is.

The Fighting Illini were on the road for a Big Ten clash with Nebraska at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Illinois used its opening drive to march 75 yards down the field in just five plays. The drive concluded with Illinois senior quarterback Tommy DeVito connecting with sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Williams on a 46-yard touchdown. DeVito’s touchdown gave Illinois an early 6-0 lead.

Before the first quarter ended, Nebraska sophomore kicker Timmy Bleekrode chipped in a 26-yard field goal to trim his team’s deficit to 6-3.

Nebraska responded immediately with another scoring drive to take the lead. The Cornhuskers needed just five plays to go 93 yards, with junior quarterback Casey Thompson tossing a 56-yard touchdown to senior tight end Travis Vokolek. The touchdown gave Nebraska a 9-6 lead.

Illinois’ defense forced a second-quarter interception, setting its offense up in favorable scoring position.

Illinois junior running back Chase Brown — who has the 10th-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy on DraftKings Sportsbook — charged in for a 1-yard touchdown to reclaim a 13-9 advantage.

Prior to halftime, the Fighting Illini looked to extend their lead with another successful scoring drive.

The Illinois offense matriculated down the field on 11 plays, with DeVito throwing a 12-yard touchdown strike to Brown. Illinois headed to the locker room with a 20-9 advantage on the road.

Three second-half field goals and a strong defensive performance carried Illinois to a 26-9 victory. The Fighting Illini have won six consecutive games for the first time since 2011.

Illinois will return home Saturday for a 3:30 date with the Michigan State Spartans. Nebraska will host Minnesota.

Statement game: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 13 Penn State

Heisman Trophy candidate C.J. Stroud and No. 2 Ohio State went on the road for a noon matchup with No. 13 Penn State.

The Buckeyes jumped out to a 10-0 lead after junior running back Miyan Williams charged in for a 4-yard touchdown.

Penn State began the second quarter with an emphasis to trim its early deficit. The Nittany Lions used a six-play, 73-yard drive to get on the board, highlighted by senior quarterback Sean Clifford finding sophomore wide receiver Parker Washington for a 58-yard touchdown. Washington’s touchdown cut Ohio State’s lead to 10-7.

The Nittany Lions wouldn’t settle, instead putting another scoring drive together in front of a raucous crowd.

Clifford brought the Penn State offense 79 yards down the field, capping the drive off by tossing his second touchdown on the day to give his team the 14-10 lead.

Before heading into the intermission, Stroud led his team 45 yards down the field, ultimately setting up senior kicker Noah Ruggles for a successful 37-yard field goal attempt. Ruggles cut Penn State’s lead to 14-13 going into halftime at Beaver Stadium.

The second half started with Ruggles sending a 40-yard field goal through the uprights to give Ohio State a 16-14 advantage.

Facing another lead wouldn’t faze the Penn State offense, as it looked to string together another successful scoring drive.

To start the fourth quarter, Clifford guided the offense down the field on a lengthy 13-play, 75-yard drive. The drive concluded with freshman running back Kaytron Allen muscling his way into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown. Allen’s score helped Penn State reclaim a 21-16 lead.

Ohio State responded on the ensuing drive, needing only three plays to find pay dirt. Sophomore running back TreVeyon Henderson burst through a gaping hole on the left side for a 41-yard touchdown run to give Ohio State a 23-21 lead.

With Ohio State holding a 23-21 lead, Penn State received a chance to score in a back and forth contest.

The Buckeyes defense forced a turnover on a strip sack by sophomore defensive end JT Tuimoloau.

Stroud needed just one play to find senior tight end Cade Stover over the middle for a 24-yard touchdown. Stover’s touchdown extended the Buckeyes’ lead to 30-21.

Facing a two-score deficit, Penn State received the ball with a chance to lead a scoring drive of its own.

With just a few minutes remaining in the game, Clifford dropped back, attempting to toss a screen pass to Washington, but a heads-up play spelled doom for the Nittany Lions’ comeback attempt. Ohio State’s defense — led by Tuimoloau — disengaged a block and leaped for an interception that he returned for a 14-yard touchdown.

The star edge rusher had himself a career day with six tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and the aforementioned pick-six.

Ohio State held on for a 44-31 victory over Penn State, its second win over a top-25 opponent. The Nittany Lions’ four turnovers proved to be too much to overcome against a loaded Ohio State team.

Ohio State (8-0, 5-0) will remain on the road, as it travels for a noon matchup with Northwestern on Saturday. Penn State (6-2, 3-2) will travel for a clash with Indiana at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday.

Biggest twist: Northwestern vs. Iowa

While there were no upsets in the Big Ten this weekend, Northwestern versus Iowa proved to be another surprising game, at least for the Hawkeyes’ offense.

The Northwestern Wildcats traveled to Kinnick Stadium for a conference tilt with the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Iowa freshman kicker Drew Stevens got the Hawkeyes on the board first with a 29-yard field goal, giving Iowa an early 3-0 lead.

Iowa senior quarterback Spencer Petras led the offense on a 14-play drive that lasted nearly seven minutes, with Petras using a quarterback sneak for a 1-yard touchdown. Petras’ touchdown extended Iowa’s lead to 10-0.

After Stevens’ second field goal gave Iowa a 13-0 advantage, the Hawkeyes looked to add to their lead before halftime.

Following a short punt by Northwestern, Iowa used a six-play, 50-yard drive to effortlessly enter the red zone. The drive ended with Petra tossing a 6-yard touchdown to sophomore tight end Luke Lachey. Iowa took a 20-0 lead heading into intermission.

Coming out of halftime, Northwestern looked to get back into the contest. It would get on the board with an eight-play, 34-yard drive that ended with quarterback Brendan Sullivan tossing a short 1-yard touchdown to junior defensive lineman Duke Olges. Sullivan’s touchdown pass trimmed the Iowa lead to 23-7.

Iowa put the game on ice in the fourth quarter with a short three-play, 36-yard drive that ended with sophomore wide receiver Arland Bruce IV taking a jet sweep 23 yards for a touchdown.

The Hawkeyes cruised to a 33-13 victory over Northwestern to snap their three-game losing streak. It was the first time they scored 30 or more points this season.

This weekend, Iowa will hit the road for a clash with Purdue at noon. Northwestern will look to snap its seven-game slide as it hosts No. 2 Ohio State.