In our weekly column, we check in on some of Penn State's past football opponents and what’s going on with the teams the Nittany Lions have already faced.
Akron Zips (6-5)
Beat the Bobcats
Ohio started with a quarterback 68-yard touchdown run two minutes into the game. Akron responded by driving to the Ohio two-yard-line but only managed a field goal. The scoring continued back and forth in the rest of the half, with Ohio up 14-10 by the end of the first quarter, then Akron up 30-24 by halftime.
In the third quarter, only Ohio scored, with a field goal. In the fourth, the Zips snagged their second interception of the game, setting up a touchdown for a score of 37-27. The Bobcats scored again, but the Zips kept the lead to win.
Zips quarterback Kato Nelson threw a career-best 322 yards and four touchdowns, and wide receiver Kwadarrius Smith had a career-high 125 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Zips picked off two passes, and linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III had 11 tackles.
Akron next plays the 2-9 Kent State Golden Flashes.
Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, Akron earned the No. 5 national seed in the NCAA men’s college soccer championship. Congratulations, Zips!
Up Next: Kent State Golden Flashes (2-9)
Pitt Panthers (4-6)
Taken Down by the Tar Heels
The Pitt Panthers lost to the 2-8 North Carolina Tar Heels 34-31 last week. In North Carolina’s second win of the season, the game started with the Tar Heels’ Anthony Ratliff-Williams returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. It was back and forth scoring in the first half, with the Tar Heels up 24-17 by halftime.
Pitt tied the game 24-24 in the third, but North Carolina responded with a field goal. At the start of the fourth, the Panthers ran in a touchdown for a 31-27 lead, but with just 6:18 left in the game, the Tar Heels scored a touchdown to seal the deal 34-31.
Pitt’s Darrin Hall ran for 121 yards on 23 carries and a career-high four touchdowns. Quarterback Ben DiNucci passed for 142 yards on 11-of-17 attempts, and rushed for a career-high 83 yards on 14 attempts for an average of 5.9 yards per carry.
The Panthers go on the road this weekend against the Virginia Tech Hokies, 7-3, who are favored by over 15 points even though they’re coming off two losses in a row.
Up Next: Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3)
Georgia State Panthers (6-3)
Beat the Bobcats
It’s been a bad week for Bobcat mascots. The Georgia State Panthers took down the Texas State Bobcats 33-30 in a road win, and became bowl eligible. Texas State started the scoring with Georgia State responding with 10 points in the first quarter for a Panthers’ lead of 10-7. By the half, the Bobcats brought the lead to 14-13.
In third quarter, control of the game flipped after a field goal and touchdown by the Panthers for the 23-17 lead. Things got really crazy and close in the fourth, with back and forth scoring. Trailing 30-26 with just over six minutes to play, Georgia State’s Kyler Neal got a 22-yard touchdown run, capping a seven-play, 75-yard drive to set the final score.
For the Panthers, quarterback Conner Manning was 26-for-40 passing for 368 yards and two touchdowns, Devin Gentry finished with three catches for 120 yards, and Brandon Wright kicked a school record four field goals, including two 48-yarders.
Georgia State is off this week, but next plays Appalachian State, top in the Sun Belt conference and 6-4.
Up Next: Appalachian State Mountaineers (6-4)
Iowa Hawkeyes (6-4)
Winless Against Wisconsin
What happened, Iowa? A week after their spectacular defeat of the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Iowa Hawkeyes lost to the still undefeated No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers 38-14, with Wisconsin clinching the Big Ten West champions and a trip to the conference title game.
It was all about the defense. Iowa’s defense forced three Wisconsin interceptions, with the Badgers turning over the ball a total of four times. Hawkeye cornerback Josh Jackson nailed two touchdowns on two of those turnovers, and accounted for all of the Hawkeyes’ points. Jackson had more yards as a defensive player than the entire Iowa offense.
The Hawkeyes were held to 66 total yards, the week after gaining 487 yards against Ohio State. Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley finished 8 of 24 for 41 yards and was sacked four times. Stanley passed for 226 yards and five touchdowns last week against Ohio State.
Iowa next plays at home against the 4-6 Purdue Boilermakers.
Up Next: Purdue Boilermakers (4-6)
Indiana Hoosiers (4-6)
Beat the Fighting Illini
Congratulations to the Indiana Hoosiers who broke a four-game losing streak and earned their fourth win. Indiana beat the Illinois Fighting Illini 24-14, leaving Illinois the only winless team in the Big Ten.
Both teams started slow, but with 1:28 left in the first quarter Illinois snagged an interception, but couldn’t convert. Hoosier Morgan Ellison broke the scoreless tie with a touchdown under three minutes left in the first half for a 7-0 Indiana lead.
In the start of the second half, Illini quarterback Jeff George Jr. threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to Louis Dorsey but Indiana still led the game 14-7. The teams scored back and forth in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough for an Illini win.
Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow completed 32 of 48 attempts and threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns. The Hoosiers racked up 428 yards offense. Indiana had 139 rushing yards, led by Cole Gest who ran for 82 on 17 carries. Simmie Cobbs Jr. was second on the team with 54 receiving yards.
The Hoosiers’ defense recorded eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss, and held the Illini to 72 yards of total offense and just 33 rushing yards.
Indiana next takes on Big Ten powerhouse Rutgers, also 4-6 this season.
Up Next: Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-6)
Northwestern Wildcats (7-3)
Beat the Boilermakers
The game was scoreless through most of the first half but the Wildcats scored 14 unanswered points in the second quarter to end the half 14-0. In the third quarter, Northwestern hit two field goals to extend their lead 20-0. The Boilermakers responded with a touchdown for a 20-7 score, but the Wildcats scored another field goal for a 23-7 lead before a last-minute Purdue touchdown with 2:28 to go – not enough for a Purdue win.
The Wildcats' defense allowed just 40 rushing yards in the game, the lowest of the season.
Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson had two touchdowns and was 26 of 46 for 296 and Charlie Kuhbander hit all three of his second-half field goal attempts. Wildcat Bennett Skowronek had seven receptions for 117 yards.
Next Northwestern plays the 5-5 Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Up Next: Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-5)
Michigan Wolverines (8-2)
Took Down the Terrapins
The No. 24 Michigan Wolverines defeated the Maryland Terrapins 35-10. Michigan absolutely dominated Maryland in the first half, scoring 28 unanswered points by halftime. The Terrapins scored for the first time in the third quarter with a field goal, and then again in the fourth with a touchdown. The game was already sealed, though, and Michigan scored another touchdown with under five minutes to go. With this win, Michigan moved into the top 25 in the CFP
Wolverine Karan Higdon rushed 10 times for 50 yards before departing due to injury. Quarterback Brandon Peters went 9-of-18 for 145 yards with touchdown passes to tight ends Zach Gentry and Sean McKeon.
For the defense, Tyree Kinnel led with ten tackles, while Maurice Hurst had nine.
Next the Wolverines have to play the undefeated 1-0 No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers.
Up Next: Wisconsin Badgers (10-0)
Ohio State Buckeyes (8-2)
Mauled Michigan State
Ohio State ran the ball over and over again, outgaining Michigan State 524-195, and the Buckeyes defense limited Spartan quarterback Brian Lewerke to 131 yards and forced two interceptions.
The Buckeyes scored 35 unanswered points in the first half before the Spartans scored a field goal at the end of the second quarter. The Buckeyes dominated for the rest of the game.
J.T. Barrett threw two touchdown passes and ran for two touchdowns, was 14 for 21 for 183 yards – this after throwing four interceptions last week against Iowa. Barrett also ran nine times for 55 yards.
Mike Weber rushed for 162 yards and two of touchdowns for Ohio State. J.K. Dobbins, who split time with Weber, rushed 18 times for 124 yards.
Ohio State's defense dominated with Tuf Borland leading the team with 11 tackles.
The 2-8 Illinois Fighting Illini, winless in the conference, don’t have a fighting chance against Ohio State when the two teams play this weekend.
Up Next: Illinois Fighting Illini (2-8)
Michigan State Spartans (7-3)
Destroyed by the Buckeyes
What happened, Michigan State?
Maybe the Spartans were tired after having such a hard time beating Penn State the week before by just a slim margin of three points. As a side note, Penn State only lost by one point to Ohio State. No, I’m not salty.
Spartan quarterback Brian Lewerke was 18 of 36 with 131 yards and no touchdowns, two interceptions and three sacks. Ouch.
Up Next: Maryland Terrapins (4-6)