MADISON, Wis. — Montee Ball rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown, and No. 12 Wisconsin needed a big defensive play to survive a fourth-quarter scare from Northern Iowa in a 26-21 victory Saturday.
Wisconsin's defense didn't allow Northern Iowa on its side of the 50-yard line until the 4:27 mark in the third quarter — but then the Badgers nearly melted down. Leading 26-7 in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin allowed Northern Iowa quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen to throw a pair of long touchdowns to David Johnson, cutting the lead to five. With the Panthers facing fourth-and-1 at the Wisconsin 41-yard line, defensive lineman Ethan Hemer tipped the ball at the line of scrimmage to stop the drive.
LINCOLN, Neb. — Taylor Martinez threw for a career-high 354 yards and matched his high with five touchdown passes to lead No. 17 Nebraska to a victory over Southern Mississippi.
The Huskers won their nation-leading 27th straight opener.
CHICAGO — Damon Bullock ran for 150 yards and scored on a late 23-yard touchdown run to lead Iowa to a victory over Northern Illinois in the season opener.
The Hawkeyes simply got all they could handle from the reigning Mid-American Conference champions but came out on top after trailing most of the way.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Robert Marve passed for a career-high 295 yards and matched a career best with three touchdowns to help Purdue defeat Eastern Kentucky in both teams' season opener.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Braxton Miller rushed for 161 yards, a record for an Ohio State quarterback, and threw for two scores including Devin Smith's highlight-reel, one-handed catch as the 18th-ranked Buckeyes ushered in the Urban Meyer era with a win over Miami (Ohio).
Meyer, who won two national titles at Florida, moved to 11-0 in season-openers.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian hit Demetrius Fields for a 9-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds left and Northwestern held on to beat Syracuse in the teams' season opener.
Siemian, subbing for starter Kain Colter, drove the Wildcats 75 yards in 10 plays, taking advantage of a critical personal foul against Syracuse defender Keon Lyn for a late hit out of bounds on the previous play.
The decisive score in the sweltering Carrier Dome came after Ryan Nassib had engineered a stunning comeback for the Orange, throwing for four second-half touchdowns. Nassib finished 44 of 65 for 470 yards. His completions obliterated the school record of 29 he'd shared with Marvin Graves and Andrew Robinson.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — With quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase injured, Ashante Williams returned an interception 60 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown to help Illinois and new coach Tim Beckman hang on for a 24-7 win Saturday over Western Michigan in the season opener for both teams.