This past weekend was the start of Big Ten play for most, while others got to round out their non-conference games. All that came together to reveal some updates to this week’s Maize n Brew Big Ten Power Rankings.
14. Nebraska Cornhuskers — Last week’s rank: 14
The Cornhuskers had the week off this past weekend and it was probably needed. They’ll face Indiana this weekend, which is coming off their first loss of the season. Nebraska is currently favored by 3.5 points, so maybe it will have the chance to move up the rankings.
Up Next: Indiana
13. Northwestern Wildcats — Last week’s rank: 13
Perhaps the only reason Northwestern can’t fall to last is because of its lone win over Nebraska. The Wildcats blew it, allowing Miami (Ohio) to tie the game in the fourth. Miami got the go-ahead field goal with less than 30 seconds left and Northwestern fumbled it away on the subsequent drive. Things might not be much brighter for the Wildcats as they head to Beaver Stadium.
Up next: Penn State
12. Indiana Hoosiers — Last week’s rank: 11
It probably should not have come as a surprise the Hoosiers fell to a College Football Playoff participant from a year ago. Indiana committed three turnovers, but the team stats were quite similar to the Bearcats when all was said and done. However, Indiana’s inability to score against stronger teams doesn’t bode well.
Up next: Nebraska
11. Purdue Boilermakers — Last week’s rank: 9
A win’s a win no matter how it looks. This is the Boilermakers’ third close game they have been in, and luck might have finally been on their side as FAU’s late two-point conversion failed to tie the game. That, and the Owls had six penalties that totaled 77 yards despite outgaining the Boilermakers 419-354. Luck will once again have to be on Purdue’s side if it wants to hang with Minnesota this weekend.
Up next: Minnesota
10. Michigan State Spartans — Last week’s rank: 6
In a repeat of last week’s game (being torched through the air), the Spartans gave up 268 passing yards while also allowing Minnesota to rush for 240 yards. To further pile on to Michigan State’s rough go of it, the Spartans turned the ball over three times and only rushed for 38 total yards. Looks like things won’t be much brighter for them as they face Taulia Tagovailoa and the Terrapins on the road.
Up next: Maryland
9. Rutgers Scarlet Knights — Last week’s rank: 8
This should have been Rutgers’ game, statistically speaking, but a flurry of turnovers that led to a pick-six and a fumble return would halt the Scarlet Knights in their tracks. If anything, both teams fared similarly offensively, with most drives ending in punts. A performance like that doesn’t bode well for Rutgers heading into Ohio Stadium.
Up next: Ohio State
8. Wisconsin Badgers — Last week’s rank: 5
It was another instance of it not being Wisconsin’s day. The defense sagged against the electric OSU offense, giving up 281 passing yards and 258 rushing yards. The Badgers only had 11 first downs the entire game while throwing an abysmal 104 total passing yards. They couldn’t keep up if they tried, but things should be more manageable for the Badgers in the coming weeks.
Up next: Illinois
7. Illinois Fighting Illini — Last week’s rank: 12
After a week away, the Fighting Illini returned on a Thursday night to shut out Chattanooga, their first loss of the year. Illinois outgained Chattanooga 502-142 and the Mocs put up a meager 49 passing yards and two interceptions. It was all Illinois, and in dominating fashion.
Up next: Wisconsin
6. Maryland Terrapins — Last week’s rank: 7
Maryland hung around with the Wolverines, but unfortunately turnovers did it in. The Terrapins cleaned up their game quite drastically, only being called for five penalty yards the entire game. While one part of their act got the changes it needed, there is still work to be done to bounce back. A perfect opportunity presents itself this weekend.
Up next: Michigan State
5. Iowa Hawkeyes — Last week’s rank: 10
Don’t let the three touchdowns fool you into thinking the Iowa offense found its footing. Two were from the Hawkeyes’ defense, with a pick-six and a fumble recovery for a score. Iowa struggled offensively still, punting three times in the first half and settling for a field goal. The second half fared similarly despite kicking off the second half with the lone offensive touchdown. With an impressive showing from their defense, it looks like the Hawkeyes could fare better than they did a year ago against the Wolverines.
Up next: Michigan
4. Penn State Nittany Lions — Last week’s rank: 4
Penn State capped off their non-conference schedule against Central Michigan. Sean Clifford threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for a touchdown. This was a pretty solid performance from the Nittany Lions overall, but they were only able to capitalize off one of CMU’s four turnovers, having missed two field goals. For the most part, this team has been clicking and should handle Northwestern accordingly.
Up next: Northwestern
3. Minnesota Golden Gophers — Last week’s rank: 3
After an impressive showing from Minnesota in the first three games, the cherry on top that would finally launch the Gophers into the AP rankings would be the blowout win against Michigan State. They were dominant in their Big Ten opener, out gaining MSU 508-240. They were led by Tanner Morgan’s 268 passing yards and three touchdowns. They remain perfect on the season heading into the meat of their schedule.
Up next: Purdue
2. Michigan Wolverines — Last week’s rank: 2
Struggle isn’t the right word to describe Michigan’s game against Maryland because it was the first time it was truly tested this season. Things were off to a fun start for the Wolverines as the opening kick off was muffed and recovered. Outside of that, it was quite a shaky game for the Wolverines. But they relied on the ground game (Blake Corum) to win and end Maryland’s winning streak that extended back into last year. With a clear list of things to work on, Michigan should look forward to another test on the road against Iowa.
Up next: Iowa
1. Ohio State Buckeyes — Last week’s rank: 1
Ohio State stayed true to themselves, being absolutely unforgiving offensively by putting up more than 500 total yards of offense. There were only three drives that didn’t result in a score for the Buckeyes — two were punts and one was their lone interception. OSU played a near complete game once more, hence why they reign supreme again.
Up next: Rutgers