1. Michigan (7-0, 4-0 B1G)
Last Ranking: 1
Last Result: 52-7 win vs. Indiana
Next: at Michigan State
Another week, another beat down of a Big Ten opponent by Michigan. This week’s victim was Indiana in a 52-7 laugher. Although the Wolverines started off slow, they kicked into high gear in the second quarter. Michigan scored 21 points in the second period, 17 in the third and 14 in the fourth, out-gaining its opponent in total yardage, 407-232.
Michigan’s defense also came to play, causing four turnovers and only allowing one first quarter touchdown as the lone score of the game for the Hoosiers. Look for Michigan to continue its roll next week at in-state rival Michigan State.
2. Penn State (6-0, 3-0 B1G)
Last Ranking: 2
Last Result: 63-0 win vs. UMass
Next: at Ohio State
Penn State started off slow against UMass on Saturday, fumbling on its first possession of the game, but after two three-and-outs by the Minutemen, Penn State returned a punt for a touchdown and scored every single time it touched the ball.
After the punt return, the Nittany Lions scored three touchdowns to end the half, scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the second half, returned another punt for a touchdown, forced an interception, scored another two touchdowns and then caused UMass to turn the ball over on downs before they kneeled to end the game.
It’s hard to nitpick a 63-0 shutout victory, but the Nittany Lions did lose two fumbles and committed six penalties. The real test comes next week when they head into the Horseshoe to face Ohio State.
3. Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 B1G)
Last Ranking: 3
Last Result: 41-7 win at Purdue
Next: vs. Penn State
Speaking of those Buckeyes, Ohio State had its own fun time at Purdue. Unlike Penn State and Michigan, Ohio State started its scoring early with touchdowns on its first two possessions. The Buckeyes were sloppy at times, giving up two turnovers, committing nine penalties and only averaging 3.9 yards per rush.
However, quarterbacks Kyle McCord, who threw for three touchdowns, and Devin Brown, who threw for a touchdown and rushed for another, as well as running back Dallan Hayden, who rushed for a score, carried the offense.
Ohio State has its toughest test yet this upcoming weekend against an undefeated Penn State team.
4. Iowa (6-1, 3-1 B1G)
Last Ranking: 5
Last Result: 15-6 win at Wisconsin
Next: vs. Minnesota
This Iowa defense just doesn’t quit. Although the Hawkeyes gave up 332 yards this game, they limited the Badgers to 2-for-17 on third downs and forced two turnovers. Wisconsin may have been able to move the ball into Iowa territory at times, but the Hawkeyes held them out of the end zone all afternoon to beat the Badgers in back-to-back years for the first time since 2008-09. The Heartland Trophy stays in Iowa City for another year.
How about Iowa running back Leshon Williams carrying the ball 25 times for a whopping 174 yards? His 82-yard touchdown run was the difference maker for a team that entered the day averaging less than 250 total yards per game.
Ranked in the top 25 for the second time this year, Kirk Ferentz might mess around and lead his Hawkeyes to their second Big Ten West Division title in three years.
5. Maryland (5-2, 2-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 4
Last Result: 27-24 loss vs. Illinois
This was a tough back and forth game that resulted in a loss for Maryland. There were four lead changes in this game and just when Maryland felt good, kicking a 48-yard field goal to tie the game with 1:31 left, Illinois marched down the field and kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired.
A fumble in the second quarter in Illinois territory and a missed field goal in the third quarter were just about the only things keeping the Terrapins out of the win column. A much needed bye awaits Maryland this week, but the Terps’ hope to rebound in their next game when they heads to Evanston to face the Wildcats.
6. Rutgers (5-2, 2-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 8
Last Result: 27-24 win vs. Michigan State
Next: at Indiana
What a win for Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights! His team found itself down, 24-6, in the third quarter and went on to score 21 unanswered points to win the game against Michigan State.
Running back Kyle Monangai had a great day for Rutgers, carrying the ball 24 times for 148 yards and a touchdown. Credit to Rutgers’ defense and special teams, who caused three fumbles and executed a clever kickoff to essentially win the game.
Look for the Scarlet Knights to carry this momentum next week when they head to Bloomington to play Indiana.
7. Wisconsin (4-2, 2-1 B1G)
Last Ranking: 6
Last Result: 15-6 loss vs. Iowa
Next: at Illinois
Wisconsin was another victim of Iowa’s suffocating defense. After scoring 24 points last week in a victory over Rutgers, the Badgers were held to just two field goals at home.
In a more depressing development, Wisconsin’s starting quarterback Tanner Mordecai is out indefinitely after breaking his throwing hand in the loss. To make matters worse, the Badgers go on the road to face an Illinois team coming off a solid victory over fellow Big Ten member Maryland.
8. Nebraska (3-3, 1-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 7
Last Result: Bye
Next: vs. Northwestern
A victim of the bye week and Rutgers’ win against Michigan State, Nebraska drops one spot to No. 8 in these power rankings.
Matt Rhule and the Cornhuskers host the Wildcats in Lincoln this weekend.
9. Minnesota (3-3, 1-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 9
Last Result: Bye
Next: at Iowa
Like Nebraska, Minnesota is on its bye and looks to improve after an embarrassing home loss to Michigan last time out. The Gophers will head to Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes this week.
10. Illinois (3-4, 1-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 13
Last Result: 27-24 win at Maryland
Next: vs. Wisconsin
Gotta give some love to Illinois, whose hard fought effort against Maryland earned the team its first conference win of the season.
Quarterback Luke Altymyer and running back Kaden Feagin had solid games, combining to score the team’s three offensive touchdowns. However, special mention has to be made to kicker Caleb Griffin, whose two field goals, including a game-winning one as time expired, helped lift his team to a victory.
11. Northwestern (3-3, 1-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 10
Last Result: Bye
Next: at Nebraska
A little rest and relaxation is just what the Wildcats needed after scrapping by a close win against Howard their last game.
Rested and (hopefully) refocused, Northwestern plays another team coming off a bye week when it heads down to Lincoln to play Nebraska this weekend.
12. Purdue (2-5, 1-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 11
Last Result: 41-7 loss vs. Ohio State
What can be said about this performance by the Boilermakers? Clearly, their defense couldn’t stop Marvin Harrison and Co. while Purdue itself only converted three of its 17 third downs attempts.
Two glowing spots for the Boilermakers are that they caused two turnovers and were called for only five penalties, a far better mark compared to Ohio State’s nine penalties.
After losing two consecutive conference matches, Purdue heads into a much needed bye week to get itself back on track.
13. Michigan State (2-4, 0-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 12
Last Result: 27-24 loss at Rutgers
Next: vs. Michigan
Entering the fourth quarter, it looked as though interim head coach Harlon Barnett might get his first win for the Spartans. However a fumble recovered for a touchdown by Rutgers started an avalanche of unfortunate events that led to Michigan State dropping this game.
After the lost fumble, defensive and special teams miscues by the Spartans led to Rutgers scoring 14 points.
This was a brutal loss that will sting even more if Michigan State posts an embarrassing outing again this weekend against rival Michigan.
14. Indiana (2-4, 0-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 14
Last Result: 52-7 loss at Michigan
Next: vs. Rutgers
Can you believe Indiana led this game for the entire first quarter? Shocking, but true! However, dreams of an upset against the No. 2 team in the country quickly disappeared along with the team’s offense and defense.
The Hoosiers only totaled 232 yards for the game and turned the ball over four times. Michigan simply had its way with Indiana from the second quarter until the final whistle.
Indiana will continue to try to earn its first conference win of the year when it hosts a Rutgers team coming off one of its more impressive comeback wins in program history.