EVANSTON, Ill. – Tanner Morgan led No. 11 Minnesota to scores on its first three possessions and finished with four touchdown passes, and the Gophers bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 38-22 win over Northwestern.
The Gophers (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten, No. 10 CFP), who lost at Iowa last week, clinched a share of the West Division title and clinched their sixth season with 10 or more wins.
“The word of the week was respond,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said. “We needed to and they responded. That was a clear message from the beginning, that we had to start fast.
“That's what championship football looks like – come out of the gate and put 21 points on the board like that.”
Morgan, the Big Ten's leading passer, came out firing following a week in the concussion protocol after absorbing back-to-back sacks by the Hawkeyes. The redshirt sophomore, listed as questionable until Saturday morning, has thrown 26 touchdowns this season to set a school record.
No. 19 IOWA 19, ILLINOIS 10: In Iowa City, Iowa, Nate Stanley threw for 308 yards and Keith Duncan kicked four field goals to set a new Big Ten single-season mark.
The Hawkeyes also forced three turnovers against the team that came into the game leading the nation in turnover margin. But quarterback Brandon Peters was intercepted twice and lost a fourth-quarter fumble as the Fighting Illini (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten) saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.
Iowa (8-3, 5-3) held Illinois to its lowest point total of the season, a week after doing the same thing to Minnesota.
MICHIGAN STATE 27, RUTGERS 0: In Piscataway, N.J., Cody White had career-highs with 11 receptions and three touchdowns and Michigan State kept its postseason bowl hopes alive by snapping a five-game losing streak.
White, who entered with two touchdown catches this season, caught scoring passes of 21, 16 and 7 yards from Brian Lewerke as the Spartans (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) sent the Scarlet Knights (2-9, 0-8) to their 20th straight conference loss.
Lewerke was 21 of 30 for 239 yards, Elijah Collins rushed for 109 yards and Matt Coghlin hit field goals of 46 and 36 yards as Michigan State posted its first shutout since beating Rutgers 49-0 in 2016.
NEBRASKA 54, MARYLAND 7: In College Park, Maryland, Nebraska ended a four-game skid and kept alive its hope of becoming bowl eligible by defeating mistake-prone Maryland behind a standout performance by quarterback Adrian Martinez.
The Cornhuskers (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) took a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and coasted to their first victory since Oct. 5.
Martinez ran for 94 yards and a score and went 16 for 25 for 194 yards and two touchdowns, both to JD Spielman. He was taken out in the third quarter with the score 44-0.
KENT STATE 41, BALL STATE 38: In Kent, Ohio, Dustin Crum passed for 369 yards and ran for another 101, Matthew Trickett kicked a 22-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining and Kent State defeated Ball State 41-38 on Saturday.
After Ball State's Caleb Huntley scored on a 42-yard run to tie the game at 38 with 4:14 remaining, the Golden Flashes (5-6, 4-3 Mid-American) drove 67 yards in 11 plays to set up Trickett, last season's All-MAC placekicker.
Ball State's MAC-leading rushing game piled up 330 yards and four touchdowns with Huntley gaining 192 yards on 30 carries with two touchdowns.
Plitt passed for 208 yards and one touchdown for the Cardinals (4-7, 3-4).