Carlos Hyde ran for 246 yards and four touchdowns and Braxton Miller had another 184 yards rushing and two scores Saturday to push No. 3 Ohio State past Illinois 60-35.
But even with Hyde’s offensive explosion, the Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) needed a third-quarter defensive stop and safety to secure the win.
After trailing 28-0 in the second quarter, Illinois (3-7, 0-6) closed to 35-21 in the third on two Nathan Scheelhaase touchdown passes.
Illinois had the momentum when the Buckeyes’ Ryan Shazier sacked backup quarterback Reilly O’Toole in the end zone. Illinois recovered his fumble but the safety gave the Buckeyes a 37-21 edge and the ball. Minutes later, a Hyde touchdown put them up 44-21.
NO. 14 MICHIGAN ST. 41, NEBRASKA 28
Michigan State converted five Nebraska turnovers into 24 points and took a big step toward winning the Big Ten Legends Division with a 41-28 victory on Saturday.
Jeremy Langford ran 32 times for 151 yards and scored two touchdowns, and Keith Mumphrey caught a 27-yard touchdown from Connor Cook in the fourth quarter after the Cornhuskers pulled within six points.
The Spartans (9-1, 6-0) beat the Huskers (7-3, 4-2) for the first time in eight all-time meetings.
They would clinch the division with a win at Northwestern next week or a loss by Minnesota in either of its last two games.
Big Ten leading rusher Ameer Abdullah ran 22 times for 123 yards for Nebraska.
No. 17 WISCONSIN 51, INDIANA 3
James White rushed for a career-high 205 yards and Melvin Gordon added 146 as No. 17 Wisconsin trampled Indiana.
The Badgers (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) came in expecting a big game on the ground against the conference’s 10th-ranked rushing defense with the Hoosiers (4-6, 2-4) giving up an average of more than 217 yards a game.
Wisconsin topped that just minutes into the second quarter, had 323 yards rushing at the half and finished with 554.
Indiana’s high-flying offense, meanwhile, was nowhere to be found. Second in the conference at 527 yards a game, the Hoosiers were held to just 224 yards.
PENN ST. 45, PURDUE 21
Zach Zwinak ran for three touchdowns and Allen Robinson set Penn State’s single-season receptions mark, leading the Nittany Lions to victory over Purdue.
Zwinak had a pair of 1-yard TD runs in the first half and a 5-yard score in the second, boosting his season total to 12. Robinson’s fifth catch of the game was his 78th of the season, topping the 77 catches he had last season. He also holds Penn State’s single-season yards receiving record.
Christian Hackenberg threw a touchdown pass and ran for one to help the Nittany Lions (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten) clinch at least a .500 record. The Nittany Lions are still suffering from the sanctions the NCAA levied in the Jerry Sandusky scandal and are not eligible for a bowl game.
Raheem Mostert had a 100-yard kickoff return for the Boilermakers (1-9, 0-6).
MICHIGAN 27, NORTHWESTERN 19, 3OT
Devin Gardner scored on a 5-yard run to lift Michigan to a triple-overtime victory over Northwestern after the Wolverines’ Brendan Gibbons tied it with a 44-yard field goal at the end of regulation.
Gardner scored on an option and ran it in on the two-point conversion to make it an eight-point game.
Northwestern had one more chance, but Trevor Siemian got sacked for a 14-yard loss by Jibreel Black on second down. Then, his desperation pass on fourth down got intercepted by Thomas Gordan, giving the Wolverines (7-3, 3-3 Big Ten) their second win in five games and sending the Wildcats (4-6, 0-6) to their sixth straight loss.