In a surprisingly competitive game between No. 2 Ohio State and Maryland, the game came down to a late fourth-quarter drive by the latter with a few minutes left in regulation.
Trailing 36-30 with 42 seconds on the clock, Maryland junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and the offense trotted onto their 16-yard line. On the first play, Tagovailoa attempted to escape the pocket, but Ohio State senior defensive end Zach Harrison was in position for the strip sack to jar the ball loose. Ohio State senior linebacker Steele Chambers scooped the ball and ran it for a late Buckeyes touchdown. The Terps fell 43-30 in a valiant effort at SECU Stadium in College Park, Maryland.
Big Ten football had another eventful week filled with notable victories, surprising triumphs and heartbreaking losses.
Let’s get into it.
Upset game: Indiana vs. Michigan State
Heading into Saturday’s matchup with Michigan State, Indiana was on a seven-game losing streak. The point spread was indicative of their recent slide, as the former was favored by 11.5 points at home.
Indiana set the tone from the opening kickoff. The Hoosiers, starting from midfield, needed only four plays to find the end zone. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Dexter Williams II called his number and took a 34-yard carry into the end zone for the early 7-0 lead.
Michigan State got on the board with junior kicker Ben Patton nailing a 19-yard field goal to cut their deficit to 7-3.
The Spartans started the second quarter with a seven-play, 64-yard drive lasting over 11 minutes.
Michigan State junior quarterback Payton Thorne tossed a 5-yard touchdown to sophomore tight end Maliq Carr. The pair’s connection helped Michigan State take a 10-7 lead, its first of the afternoon.
With momentum swinging toward the home sideline, Michigan State’s offense headed back on the field seeking to stretch their lead.
The Spartans would do just that, embarking on an eight-play drive. Redshirt senior running back Elijah Collins powered his way into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown. Collins’ touchdown gave Michigan State a 17-7 lead.
With halftime on the horizon, Michigan State’s offense looked to put together another quality scoring drive.
Thorne led Michigan State on a nine-play, 34-yard drive, ultimately concluding the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Keon Coleman. The Spartans’ recent touchdown gave them a formidable 24-7 lead heading into intermission.
Coming out of the locker room, Indiana needed to end its first drive of the second half with points.
Indiana senior running back Shaun Shivers needed one play and 13 seconds to race 79 yards for a touchdown; the big play cut its deficit to 24-14.
Michigan State responded with Collins sprinting 31 yards for his second touchdown of the day. Collins’ rushing attack extended Michigan State’s lead to 31-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, freshman running back Jaylin Lucas took the ball 88 yards for a touchdown. Lucas’ special teams play made it a 31-21 game.
A successful 40-yard field goal by senior kicker Charles Campbell trimmed Indiana’s deficit to 31-24.
Trailing by one possession in the fourth quarter, Indiana went on a nine-play, 70-yard drive, with senior running back Josh Henderson finding the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown. Henderson’s score evened the game at 31 and forced overtime.
Shivers’ scored the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime period to give Indiana the 39-31 victory.
Indiana (4-7, 2-6) will wrap up its season next Saturday at home versus Purdue. Michigan State (5-6, 3-5) will travel to take on No. 11 Penn State.
Statement game: Illinois vs. No. 3 Michigan
There aren’t many teams defying the odds with their play this season more than the Illinois Fighting Illini. However, Illinois was headed to “The Big House” for a date with No. 3 Michigan.
Like it has done all season, Michigan matriculated down the field on the opening drive. The Wolverines’ seven-play, 75-yard drive concluded with junior running back Blake Corum muscling his way into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown. Corum’s touchdown gave Michigan a 7-0 lead.
After a 29-field goal by Illinois junior kicker Caleb Griffin to cut its deficit to 7-3, Michigan fans held their breath on the next offensive possession.
Late into the second quarter, Corum went down with a reported knee injury and would not return to the game.
The score would remain the same heading into intermission.
Michigan kicker Jake Moody unleashed a 46-yard field goal to extend its advantage to 10-3.
The Fighting Illini embodied their name on their next offensive possession.
A nine-play, 67-yard drive ended with junior tailback Chase Brown finding the end zone from eight yards. Brown’s touchdown tied the game at 10 early into the third quarter.
After Illinois’ defense forced a turnover on downs, the offense had a chance to take the lead in hostile territory.
Needing only three plays, Brown exploded for a 37-yard touchdown. Brown’s second touchdown of the day gave Illinois a 17-10 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Moody drilled three consecutive field goals to help Michigan escape with the 19-17 victory.
Illinois will take on its in-state rival next Saturday, while Michigan will head to Columbus for a highly anticipated showdown with No. 2 Ohio State.
Surprise game: No. 2 Ohio State vs. Maryland
Maryland head coach Mike Locksley and the Terps were 27.5-point underdogs heading into a home matchup with No. 2 Ohio State.
On the Buckeyes’ opening drive, Ohio State star junior quarterback C.J. Stroud led a methodical six-play, 75-yard drive. The drive ended with Stroud finding sophomore running back TreVeyon Henderson for a 31-yard touchdown to give Ohio State a 7-0 lead.
Maryland graduate kicker Chad Ryland sent two respective field goals of 31 and 21 yards to trim its deficit to 7-6.
To start the second quarter, Stroud and the Buckeyes went on a 75-yard drive that lasted nearly five minutes. Maryland’s defense forced Ohio State to settle for a 33-yard field goal by graduate kicker Noah Ruggles, extending its lead to 10-6.
On the ensuing possession, Maryland’s high-powered offense trotted onto the field with a sense of resolve after a competitive contest with the No. 2 team in the country.
Tagovailoa marched the Terps down the field on a 14-play, 75-yard drive. The Terps signal caller used a play action fake to find sophomore tight end CJ Dippre for a 1-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone.
Maryland headed into halftime with a 13-10 lead.
The second half started with the Buckeyes’ special teams making their presence felt early. Junior safety Lathan Ransom jolted through the offensive line to block a punt, setting Ohio State up deep in Maryland territory.
Ohio State freshman running back Dallan Hayden needed just two plays to charge in for the 8-yard touchdown. Hayden’s touchdown helped Ohio State reclaim a 17-13 lead.
On the Buckeyes next possession, Ruggles sent a 47-yard field goal through the uprights to stretch their advantage to 20-13.
With a 20-13 lead already in hand, Stroud and the Buckeyes were back on the field, searching for another scoring drive to put the game out of reach.
The Buckeyes utilized the legs of Hayden, as the freshman ball carrier scampered in for a 3-yard touchdown. Hayden’s score gave Ohio State a 27-13 lead late into the third quarter.
Like it did all afternoon, Maryland responded.
Maryland went on a five-play, 75-yard drive, with Tagovailoa finding paydirt on a 5-yard touchdown. The score cut its deficit to 27-21.
Following a 46-yard kickoff return by senior wide Xavier Johnson, Ohio State was near midfield with a chance to reclaim momentum.
The Buckeyes took advantage of the short field with Hayden scoring his third touchdown of the day on a 13-yard rush. Hayden’s score gave Ohio State a 33-21 lead.
Maryland senior defensive back Jakorian Bennett returned a block extra point all the way back for two points. Bennett’s heads-up play set the score to 33-23.
With one last chance to get back into the game, Tagovailoa led a seven-play, 74-yard drive. The drive culminated with Tagovailoa finding graduate wide receiver Jeshaun Jones for a short 1-yard touchdown pass. However, the magic ran out for the Terps thereafter.
Hayden had himself a day with 27 carries for 146 yards and the aforementioned three touchdowns.
Maryland will close the season next Saturday at home with a matchup with Rutgers. Ohio State will return home for a highly anticipated matchup with No. 3 Michigan.