IOWA CITY—Nate Stanley threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns and Iowa rolled past Illinois 45-16 on Saturday, snapping a two-game losing streak.Safety Brandon Snyder added an 89-yard interception return for a score in his first game back from a knee injury for the Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten), who outscored Illinois (2-3, 0-2) 35-3 in the final 30:08 after a start reminiscent of the sluggish one they had before blowing past North Texas last month.
“I was just trying to take in the moment,” said Snyder, who tore his ACL just six months ago. “I’m just thankful to be healthy.”
A successful fake punt helped Iowa take a 17-13 lead into halftime, and Snyder’s pick-six came with 6:40 left in the third quarter and put Iowa ahead 24-13.
“It really kind of ignited us a bit,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He just continues to earn everybody’s respect within our program.”
Stanley found Matt VandeBerg for a 39-yard TD reception to push the lead to 15 early in the fourth quarter, and Akrum Wadley put the game away on an 18-yard touchdown run with 8:49 left.Wadley finished with 115 yards, surpassing the 100-yard mark for the third time this season, and he added a 2-yard TD reception.Jeff George Jr. threw for 246 yards in his first start of the season — but he also threw three interceptions without finding the end zone.
“That’s never a good thing,”” said Illinois coach Lovie Smith about George’s turnovers. “He made a lot of good plays as much as anything.”
The move from Chayce Crouch to George gave the Fighting Illini some life in the first half. But big mistakes led to big plays for the Hawkeyes, who scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to turn a tight affair into a blowout. Iowa also scored 17 points off of four Illini turnovers.Illinois entered play with the Big Ten’s worst rushing attack, but the Fighting Illini carved up Iowa’s front for 200 yards on the ground. Iowa’s defense once again stiffened after some halftime adjustments though, and its offense finally found life in the second half. The Hawkeyes also looked like they could really use the upcoming bye week. “We can kind of take a step back and reflect on the first half of the season,” said wide receiver Nick Easley.
Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each had a goal and assist to lead the Blackhawks over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 on Saturday night.Richard Panik also scored and Jan Rutta got his first NHL goal as the Hawks followed up on a season-opening 10-1 rout of Pittsburgh with another solid performance.Sonny Milano scored for the Blue Jackets, who blanked the New York Islanders 5-0 in their opener Friday in Columbus.Corey Crawford made 32 saves, while Joonas Korpisalo blocked 24 shots.Nick Schmaltz was hit hard by two defensemen as Kane scored the opening goal 1:33 in. He later left the game with with an undisclosed injury. Schmaltz tried to return with a short shift midway through the first period.Saad, one of four players to open the season with a hat trick this week, has four goals and an assist in his first two games. Kane boosted his totals to two goals and four assists.Columbus forward Artemi Panarin, a centerpiece in an offseason trade that sent Saad back to Chicago, got a loud ovation during a first-period video tribute.The Blackhawks jumped ahead 2-0 with a dominant first period.Kane scored on the Blackhawks’ first shot when he was left open at the low edge of the right circle. He beat Korpisalo with a quick shot into the upper-right corner.Jack Johnson and Gabriel Carlsson leveled Schmaltz on the left side of the crease during the play. Schmaltz took a minute to get up, then skated slowly to the bench with help from trainer Mike Gapski.Saad made it 2-0 at 6:04 with a power-play goal when he converted a rebound from a goalmouth scrum.The Hawks extended their lead to 4-1 after 40 minutes.Set up by Saad, Toews one-timed in his first goal this season from the left circle at 10:14 of the second. The play was set up when Panik knocked Seth Jones off the puck behind the Columbus net.Milano cut it to 3-1 31 seconds later when he poked in Nick Foligno’s feed that slid along the goal line behind Crawford.Rutta pinched in to the right circle and scored on a shot that deflected in off Korpisalo’s glove at 12:51 of the second to make it 4-1.Saad narrowly missed connecting again during a power-play midway through the third. His close-in shot trickled through Korpisalo, but Johnson swept the puck from the goal line.Panik completed the scoring with 5:55 left when he whipped in a loose puck after a faceoff.
NOTES—NBC and Blackhawks TV analyst Eddie Olczyk visited the United Center press box after having surgery for colon cancer 11 weeks ago. Some in the crowd of 21,264, chanted ”Eddie, Eddie,” when a live shot of Olczyk, who played 16 seasons in the NHL, was shown on the scoreboard. … Schmaltz had hobbled off the ice in the third period of Thursday’s game, but was back on a line with Kane and Ryan Hartman for his first shift Saturday before being injured again. … RW Tommy Wingels made his Blackhawks debut as C Tanner Kero sat out. Wingels, who signed a one-year free agent deal, is from Chicago’s north suburbs. … The Blackhawks had a pregame video tribute and moment of silence for Pierre Pilote, their captain from 1961 to 1968, who died last month at age 85.The Blackhawks Play at Toronto on Monday.
CHAPEL HILL—Notre Dame didn’t have its starting quarterback, and its best runner was limited by dehydration. The Fighting Irish also had to operate in rainy conditions on the road.And they did just fine.Josh Adams ran for 118 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown, and No. 21 Notre Dame stuck with its strong ground game to beat North Carolina 33-10 on Saturday.Adams, ranked among the national rushing leaders, carried the ball just 13 times before leaving the game. But Deon McIntosh added 124 yards rushing and two scores for the Fighting Irish (5-1), who won a third straight road game against a power-conference opponent despite not having starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush due to a right foot injury.McIntosh, a sophomore, capitalized on his extra work by scoring from 24 and 35 yards out – his third straight game with at least one rushing score.Notre Dame finally came up empty in the red zone.The Irish entered the game 22 for 22 on red-zone scoring chances, with 20 of those being touchdowns, and scored on their first two red-zone drives Saturday. But that streak ended with Book’s interception in the third after Notre Dame had reached the UNC 18.The Fighting Irish have a bye week before hosting Southern California on Oct. 21.
EVANSTON—Northwestern was outplayed by a better Penn State team, but the Officials did not do them any favors.Trace McSorley threw for 245 yards and a touchdown, Saquon Barkley ran for two scores in the second half, and No. 4 Penn State beat Northwestern 31-7 on Saturday.McSorley completed 25 of 34 passes. He threw a 10-yard touchdown to backup quarterback Tommy Stevens in the second quarter and added a 5-yard TD run in the fourth.Barkley scored on a 1-yard leap and 53-yard dash in the third quarter to make it 24-0. The Heisman Trophy candidate finished with 75 yards rushing after being held to minus-1 in the first half.Shaka Toney had two sacks, and the Nittany Lions (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) came away with an easy victory.Clayton Thorson threw for 142 yards and two interceptions while getting sacked four times in another rough outing for Northwestern (2-3, 0-2). Justin Jackson finished with 66 yards after rushing for 67 in the first half.The Wildcats also had two of their top defensive players get ejected for targeting in the second half, with linebacker Paddy Fisher flagged for a hit on McSorley and safety Godwin Igwebuike for striking Miles Sanders.Barkley flashed his Heisman form in the third and broke open a 10-0 game. He leaped in from the 1 in the opening minutes and scored on a 53-yard run through the middle and up the right side late in the quarter, making it 24-0.Barkley showed how dangerous he can be even when he’s being held in check. McSorley delivered another strong performance and the defense again gave an opponent little room to move.The Wildcats continue to struggle. And Thorson’s shaky play isn’t helping. He struggled again after throwing two interceptions and getting sacked eight times in a loss at Wisconsin the previous week.The Wildcats visit Maryland on Oct. 14.
The Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t too far removed from getting Stanley Cup championship rings for the second time in as many years, and they entered the 2017-18 season as the consensus favorites atop the Eastern Conference.But if the defending champs’ first two games of the new year are any indication (and, to a large extent, they shouldn’t be), there is at least a little reason for concern in Steel City.First, there was a 5-4 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues on the NHL’s opening night, a rough debut for Matt Murray in the goalie’s first start as the full-time net-minder post-Marc-Andre Fleury. And then? Then there was Thursday.By night’s end, Murray had been summoned from the bench in relief of ex-Dallas Star Antti Niemi, which in and of itself is probably never a good sign for the Pens, and Pittsburgh fell at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of — wait for it — 10-1.In other words, things couldn’t have been worse for the defending champs at United Center, just a day after they raised the title banner at PPG Paints Arena. And things couldn’t have been better for the Hawks in the home debut of its nostalgic reunion tour, what with Brandon Saad notching a hat trick to help his new (old) buddies throttle the Penguins.The Blackhawks didn’t waste time chasing Niemi from the net, dropping four goals on Pittsburgh’s new No. 2 in the first 9:16 of action and, at one point, lighting the lamp three straight times in a span of less than three minutes. And despite an 0-for-6 finish on power plays over the course of the night, the Blackhawks got contributions up and down their lineup, scoring more in the first period alone than they did in all of the 2016-17 postseason — Ryan Hartman had four assists, Patrick Kane totaled four points and a goal of his own, Nick Schmaltz had a pair of goals and Patrick Sharp, another acquisition back at home in Chicago, also put one into the Pens net to make it 5-0 at the end of the first period.Murray didn’t fare any better once Niemi was yanked, surrendering six (!) goals that sealed the decision — by a mile.The Blackhawks’ 10 goals was the most scored by the team in nearly 30 years, and it was the most surrendered by Pittsburgh since 1996. And it marks quite the start to the season for both sides, albeit in starkly contrasting fashion.In other words, things couldn’t have been worse for the defending champs at United Center, just a day after they raised the title banner at PPG Paints Arena. And things couldn’t have been better for the Hawks in the home debut of its nostalgic reunion tour, what with Brandon Saad notching a hat trick to help his new (old) buddies throttle the Penguins.The Hawks didn’t waste time chasing Niemi from the net, dropping four goals on Pittsburgh’s new No. 2 in the first 9:16 of action and, at one point, lighting the lamp three straight times in a span of less than three minutes. And despite an 0-for-6 finish on power plays over the course of the night, the Blackhawks got contributions up and down their lineup, scoring more in the first period alone than they did in all of the 2016-17 postseason — Ryan Hartman had four assists, Patrick Kane totaled four points and a goal of his own, Nick Schmaltz had a pair of goals and Patrick Sharp, another acquisition back at home in Chicago, also put one into the Pens net to make it 5-0 at the end of the first period.Murray didn’t fare any better once Niemi was yanked, surrendering six (!) goals that sealed the decision — by a mile.The Blackhawks’ 10 goals was the most scored by the team in nearly 30 years, and it was the most surrendered by Pittsburgh since 1996. And it marks quite the start to the season for both sides, albeit in starkly contrasting fashion.
SAN DIEGO—The No. 19 San Diego State Aztecs didn’t take too kindly to seeing star running back Rashaad Penny coming off the field in pain after having his right eye gouged by a Northern Illinois player in the second quarter Saturday night.
”It got us fired up,” cornerback Kameron Kelly said after the Aztecs got some big plays early and then held off NIU 34-28 to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1975. Juwan Washington brought back the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and freshman Tariq Thompson had two interceptions – including an 83-yard TD return.
Kelly said there was smack talk from NIU before the game. And then TV cameras picked up Antonio Jones-Davis sticking his hand into Penny’s facemask while the star running back was at the bottom of a pile after returning a kickoff.
”If that’s their attitude, we’ve got to have the same attitude, between the whistles, start making them feel it between the whistles,” Kelly said.
Penny went into the locker room for eye drops. When he returned to the game, there was a visor installed in his facemask.
”I just think that stuff shouldn’t happen,” said Penny, the nation’s second-leading rusher coming in who was held to 107 yards on 25 carries for his lowest output of the season. ”I thought we were all more mature than that. I bounced back. I can’t thank my teammates enough. They picked me up when I was down. It was all them. It was a great win.”
NIU coach Rod Perry said he talked to Jones-Davis ”and he admitted it to me. I’m going to get home and let the emotions die down and see what the next steps are. He’s a great kid but it was the emotions of a 22-year-old. But we are going to deal with it, for sure.”
While he wasn’t pleased to see it happen, SDSU coach Rocky Long said, ”A lot of times things like that happen when you’re in a pile. They just happened to get it on TV or no one would have known but us because he came to the sideline with his eyes hurting. But since they got it on TV, it’s a big deal.Penny caught a 33-yard scoring pass from Christian Chapman in the first quarter. It didn’t help the rushing game that guard Antonio Rosales, the only senior on the line, was out with an ankle injury.SDSU (5-0) is off to its best start since going 8-0 to open the 1975 season. It finished 8-3 that year.
SOUTH BEND—Brandon Wimbush threw for three touchdowns and ran for another and No. 22 Notre Dame beat Miami (Ohio) 52-17 on Saturday night for the 900th victory in school history.Josh Adams added touchdown runs of 72 and 59 yards in the first half before leaving the game with an injury to his left leg. Adams, who entered the game as the No. 9 rusher in the country, still led the Irish (4-1) with 159 yards on the ground despite the short night.
”Josh could have played; his ankle was not a serious situation,” said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.
Wimbush, who had his eighth rushing touchdown of the season in the first quarter, finished with 119 passing yards in three quarters and had 36 yards on 11 carries.The Irish led the RedHawks 45-14 at the half, the most first-half points scored by an Irish team under Kelly.It was only the second meeting between the Irish and the RedHawks (2-3), two teams that were coached by Hall of Famer Ara Parseghian.With its top three running backs – Adams, Tony Jones Jr. and Dexter Williams – questionable going forward, Notre Dame will need to find some healthy bodies soon. They face North Carolina next and then USC.Notre Dame forced two turnovers in the game, giving the Irish 11 (five interceptions, six fumble recoveries) for the season. The Irish have turned the 11 turnovers into 70 points while the opposition has scored just three points off five Notre Dame turnovers (two interceptions, three fumbles). The Irish take to the road for the third time in four weeks when they visit North Carolina next Saturday.
MADISON—Jonathan Taylor ran for two touchdowns to help the offense overcome a sluggish start and No. 10 Wisconsin’s defense swarmed Northwestern before holding on for a 33-24 win on Saturday.Alex Hornibrook threw for 197 yards and a touchdown, settling down after two interceptions in the first half. Garrett Dooley had three of Wisconsin’s eight sacks.Northwestern’s last drive was thwarted when quarterback Clayton Thorson couldn’t find a receiver out of his own end zone and was sacked by D’Cota Dixon for a safety.
”We knew it was going to be a hard one,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. ”There’s a lot of lessons to be learned in this one.”
Thorson was having a good quarter until getting sacked, throwing two touchdown passes in less than 2 minutes. The second to Garrett Dickerson with 2:53 left got the Wildcats within a touchdown.But Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) stood up the Wildcats (2-2, 0-1) again late to seal the win in each team’s conference opener.
”We got a little bit too lax, that was the only thing I was disappointed about,” Dixon said.
It was all Wisconsin in the second half until Northwestern’s late push in the fourth.Hornibrook hit Quintez Cephus on a 61-yard pass to the Northwestern 11 on the Badgers’ first drive of the third quarter. Taylor scored on the next play to give Wisconsin the lead for good, 14-10 with 9:16 left in the third.
”We had bad communication. The guy was (wide) open,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. ”Crazy concept when that happens.”
Safety Natrell Jamerson had a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown for a 31-10 lead with 9:54 left in the game, what initially looked like the final blow to Northwestern.But the Wildcats came back. Wisconsin allowed the two quick touchdowns before Dixon’s safety finally finished off Northwestern.Taylor, a freshman, finished with 80 yards on 19 carries. Dixon had a team-high 12 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.Hornibrook was 11 of 20. Thorson finished 29 of 45 for 219 yards and three touchdowns and two interceptions.
”We’ve got to do a better job of protecting him,” tight end Garrett Dickerson said. ”He can sling. We’ve just got to give him more time to.”
Things looked so good for the Wildcats at halftime, up 10-7 on a Wisconsin team having trouble holding on to the ball. Momentum changed in the third quarter. The offensive line couldn’t pick up Wisconsin’s pressures. The running game was bottled up in the third for minus-10 yards on seven carries. And the defense got burned by big plays. At least Northwestern mounted a late but futile comeback on the road, two games after a blowout defeat at Duke in Week 2.Wisconsin: Coordinator Jim Leonhard spiced up his defense just in time for Big Ten play, throwing different stunts and looks at NU to get to Thorson for three sacks in the pivotal third quarter. The secondary was active all afternoon, breaking up short timing patterns.Northwestern hosts Penn State next Saturday.
CHAMPAIGN—Nebraska couldn’t win at Home against Northern Illinois,but threy had no problems with Illinois on the road. When Nebraska ended its nonconference schedule with a loss to NIU, it didn’t just drop the Cornhuskers to 1-2. It also served as an early turning point in the season and cost athletic director Shawn Eichorst his job.Life in the Big Ten has been much easier.Last week, the Cornhuskers pulled out a back-and-forth victory against Rutgers. But on Friday, they were in total control.Entering the matchup, Tanner Lee led the FBS with nine interceptions and was held to 109 yards by the Scarlet Knights. Against Illinois, he threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns, helping lead Nebraska to a 28-6 win.
”I think it’s coaching,” Lee said. ”The looks we were expecting the looks we got, the plays we were running were things we practiced all week at practice. . I’m glad that we got into a rhythm there. We just looked good.”
The Cornhuskers (3-2, 2-0) led wire to wire, scoring on their first possession, a quick 88-yard drive capped by a 45-yard touchdown pass from Lee to De’Mornay Pierson-El, and was never under pressure.Pierson-El finished the night with four receptions for 94 yards and one score. Stanley Morgan Jr. also had a big night with a career-high eight receptions for 96 yards and a score.
”I think (Lee) passed well,” Morgan Jr. said. ”He did an excellent job, just finding open receivers and getting the ball to us.”
Morgan Jr’s strong outing also moved him up the list of Cornhusker greats. He now has 84 catches and 1,152 receiving yards which are ranked 12th and 16th, respectively, in school history.Led by running back Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska also dominated Illinois on the ground. Ozigbo had 106 yards on 18 carries. His 15-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was his first score of the season.Illinois (2-2, 0-1) continued to struggle behind run-first quarterback Chayce Crouch. He made several plays with his legs, including an impressive 19-yard tackle-breaking scamper just before the half, but he threw for only 99 yards. Crouch has yet to eclipse 150 passing yards this season.The Illini struggles showed after they kicked a field goal to cut the deficit to 21-6 midway through the third quarter. Patrick Nelson forced an Ozigbo fumble that was recovered by Stanley Green on the Nebraska 28. But the team lost 14 yards in three plays and was forced to punt.