BIG TEN Saturday’s other games
Nebraska 38, Minnesota 14
Taylor Martinez threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns to Kenny Bell while becoming No. 16 Nebraska’s all-time passing leader. The Cornhuskers (9-2, 6-1), who had to come from behind in the second half in four of its first five Big Ten wins, scored on four of their first six possessions against the Gophers (6-5, 2-5). Nebraska can clinch the Legends Division title — and a berth in the conference championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 1 — with a win at Iowa on Friday or a Michigan loss at Ohio State Saturday. Martinez passed 36 yards to a wide-open Bell for the Huskers’ first touchdown, and they later connected for a 30-yarder along the sideline. Minnesota had 98 total yards entering the fourth quarter. Nebraska pulled its starters, and the Gophers scored on MarQueis Gray’s 1- and 6-yard runs.
Northwestern 23, Michigan St. 20
EAST LANSING, MICH.
Jeff Budzien kicked a 27-yard field goal with 7:30 remaining, and Northwestern was able to hold on. Trevor Siemian threw for 165 yards, including a 41-yard pass to Dan Vitale that helped set up the winning kick. The Wildcats (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) then forced a punt near midfield, and by the time Michigan State (5-6, 2-5) got the ball back at its own 20, there was only 1:29 left. Northwestern lost fourth-quarter leads in gut-wrenching losses to Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan, but this time Michigan State’s Andrew Maxwell threw four straight incompletions to seal the Spartans’ fate.
Purdue 20, Illinois 17
Akeem Hunt turned a short pass into a 63-yard touchdown, and Purdue took another step toward a second consecutive bowl berth. Hunt’s big play gave the Boilermakers (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) a 13-3 lead in the third quarter. After Illinois pulled within 13-10 on a 16-yard touchdown run by Dami Ayoola, Ralph Bolden’s 63-yard run set up Akeem Shavers’ 6-yard TD scamper for a 20-10 Purdue lead. With their first back-to-back Big Ten road wins since 2009, the Boilermakers stayed alive in its chase for postseason play. If Purdue can beat Indiana at home next Saturday to earn bowl eligibility, it will be its first three-game winning streak in one season since 2007. Illinois (2-9, 0-7) remained the only team in the Big Ten without a conference win.