With a 17-0 lead in hand, Maryland’s offense looked to put together another scoring drive against a visiting Rutgers team. Maryland freshman running back Roman Hemby capped off a seven-play, 75-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown to give the Terps a comfortable 24-0 lead. The Terps completely neutralized a struggling Rutgers offense, as they only relinquished 135 total yards.
Maryland’s dominance in all three phases carried the Terps to a resounding 37-0 victory over Rutgers in the season finale at SECU Stadium on Nov. 26. The Terps closed the 2022 campaign with a 7-5 record in a year where they flashed their potential and made strides as a football program.
This week in Big Ten football was filled with marquee games that produced pivotal victories, surprising triumphs and deflating losses.
Let’s break down the action.
Upset game: Nebraska vs. Iowa
After firing previous head coach Scott Frost following a 1-2 start, Nebraska made the trip to Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, for a Black Friday clash with Iowa.
Nebraska and Iowa exchanged punts during the onset of the game, as both teams struggled to establish an early offensive rhythm.
With fewer than nine minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Nebraska received the ball at its own 13-yard line.
Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson delivered an 87-yard touchdown strike to junior wide receiver Trey Palmer. Thompson’s pass gave the Cornhuskers an early 7-0 lead.
Nebraska sophomore kicker Timmy Bleekrode successfully sent a 21-yard field goal through the uprights to extend its advantage to 10-0.
To begin the second quarter, Nebraska’s defense halted a 13-play drive by Iowa on a fumble recovery.
The Cornhuskers took advantage of the good field position, as Thompson and Palmer connected on a 19-yard drive. Thompson connected with Palmer again on a 18-yard score to take a 17-0 lead into intermission.
After exiting the locker rooms with a 17-0 lead, Nebraska received the ball after a short Iowa punt.
Thompson connected with junior wide receiver Marcus Washington on a 4-yard touchdown to take a commanding 24-0 lead.
The Hawkeyes clawed their way back into the game following a successful scoring drive.
Iowa freshman running back Kaleb Johnson exploded for a 44-yard touchdown run to cut its deficit to 24-7.
With momentum favoring its sidelines, Iowa had another chance to get into the game.
Iowa junior quarterback Alex Padilla delivered a 14-yard touchdown to sophomore tight end Luke Lachey. Their connection made things interesting, as Nebraska’s lead was down to ten.
Iowa trimmed its deficit to a 24-17 game following a 45-yard field goal by freshman kicker Drew Stevens.
Nebraska’s defense would go on to force a turnover on downs to escape with a 24-17 victory over Iowa.
Nebraska (4-8, 3-6) closed out a disappointing season but hopes newly-hired head coach Matt Rhule will return the program to its glory days. Iowa (7-5, 5-4) lost its first game immediately following a five-game winning streak.
Statement game: No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 2 Ohio State
There were not many games on viewers’ minds this week other than No. 3 Michigan traveling to Columbus for a date with its rivals, No. 2 Ohio State.
The Buckeyes established the tone with star junior quarterback C.J. Stroud leading a 12-play, 81-yard opening drive. The drive concluded with Stroud finding sophomore wide receiver Emeka Egbuka for a 4-yard touchdown to give Ohio State an early 7-0 lead.
Michigan responded immediately with a 10-play drive deep into Ohio State territory. The Buckeyes’ defensive stand forced a 49-yard field goal by Michigan senior kicker Jake Moody to trim its deficit to 7-3.
With fewer than six minutes left in the first quarter, Ohio State’s explosive offense searched for another scoring drive to extend its lead in the highly anticipated contest between two Big Ten elites.
Stroud and the Buckeyes traveled on a 10-play, 58-yard drive that eventually reached the red zone. The offense stalled on third down, which forced a 32-yard field goal by graduate kicker Noah Ruggles. Ohio State took a 10-3 advantage into the second quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, Michigan received the ball with a chance to close the gap. The Wolverines’ short three-play drive ended with sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy finding senior wideout Cornelius Johnson for a catch-and-run 69-yard touchdown. Johnson’s touchdown evened the game at 10 apiece.
Moody connected on a 47-yard field goal to reclaim a 13-10 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Michigan needed just one play to find the end zone. McCarthy dropped back and launched a rocket that found the hands of Johnson for its second touchdown of the quarter. The Wolverines took a 17-13 advantage late into the second quarter.
Ohio State responded with a scoring drive of its own. The Buckeyes needed just four plays for Stroud to find sophomore wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. for a 42-yard touchdown. The star duo’s connection gave Ohio State a 20-17 lead heading into intermission.
Michigan received the opening kickoff of the second half, as it looked to continue posing problems for the Ohio State defense.
McCarthy marched 75 yards down the field in seven plays, ultimately ending the drive with a 45-yard touchdown pass to freshman tight end Colston Loveland. The score led to a 24-20 score to start an eventful second half of action.
After Michigan’s defense neutralized Ohio State’s offense, McCarthy and the offense trotted onto the field with a chance to extend their lead in the top five matchup.
The Wolverines ran the ball nine times during a 15-play drive, ending with McCarthy scampering into the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown run to take a 31-20 lead.
Ohio State senior kicker Noah Ruggles sent a 27-yard field goal through the uprights to be within one possession in a 31-23 ball game.
With less than seven minutes left, Michigan sophomore running back Donovan Edwards took the first play 75 yards to the house for a crowd-silencing score. Edwards’ touchdown gave Michigan a 38-23 advantage.
Michigan’s defense would go on to force two turnovers late and control the clock for a 45-23 surprising victory over No. 2 Ohio State at Buckeye Stadium.
The Wolverines (12-0, 9-0) will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium next Saturday at 8 p.m. for the conference title game. On the other hand, Ohio State (11-1, 8-1) will wait and see how its postseason fate will play out during the final College Football Playoff rankings.
Pivotal game: Purdue vs. Indiana
The Purdue Boilermakers were on the road as they took on Indiana with a chance to clinch their spot in next week’s Big Ten Championship following Iowa’s loss.
Purdue senior kicker Mitchell Fineran booted a 29-yard field goal for the first points of the game.
Facing a meager 3-0 deficit, Indiana received the football with a chance to even the score or take the lead with a trip into the end zone.
Indiana needed only two plays for freshman running back Jaylin Lucas to sprint 71 yards for a touchdown. Lucas’ explosive run gave Indiana a 7-3 lead that it would take into halftime.
With Purdue narrowly trailing Indiana, senior quarterback Aidan O’Connell orchestrated an eight-play, 82-yard drive. O’Connell found senior tight end Payne Durham for the 15-yard touchdown to reclaim a 10-3 advantage.
After forcing an Indiana three-and-out, Purdue received the ball with a chance to extend its lead on the road.
With a drive focused on the rushing attack, the Boilermakers would do just that. Running back Devin Mockabee bursted out for a 27-yard touchdown. Mockabee’s score gave Purdue the 17–7 lead late into the second half.
Indiana chipped at the lead after a 28-yard field goal by senior kicker Charles Campbell. The special teams unit cut its deficit to 17-10.
O’Connell led his offense back between the lines with another shot to make it a two-possession game. The offense found pay dirt after Purdue’s signal-caller found senior wide receiver Charlie Jones for a 60-yard touchdown to take a 24-10 lead.
Purdue would put the game away following a pick-six by redshirt senior Cory Trice. The Boilermakers cruised to a 30-16 victory over Indiana.
Purdue (8-4, 6-3) will shift its focus to a date with No. 3 Michigan next Saturday for Big Ten supremacy. Indiana (4-8, 2-7) closes out a disappointing 2022 season and will head into the offseason.