Big Ten Power Rankings: September 3rd Power Rankings
|Wow, Justin Fields. That was some announcement to the Big Ten football world. In the first quarter against FAU, the sophomore QB scored a mind-boggling four touchdowns, including 7/9 passing for 115 yards and 3 carries for 54 yards, as OSU jumped out to a 28-0 lead. The Buckeyes put it on cruise control after that. In-state foe Cincinnati comes to the Horseshoe on Saturday, as Fields will try to keep his hot start going.
|Michigan did not play up to its lofty expectations against Middle Tennessee State this weekend. It is unfortunate that a 40-21 victory is viewed as disappointing, and Michigan had other issues including numerous penalties and missed opportunities to really push the game away. The Wolverines have another three weeks before their first true test against a strong looking Wisconsin team as they play Army and have a bye week beforehand.
|Yep, folks, don’t adjust your screens, that’s not a typo. Penn St. roasted, seasoned, and devoured Idaho in game #1. PSU out-rushed the Vandals, 331-4 (!), and held their opponents to 1-15 on third down. Penn State’s next game will take place under the lights, as tricky MAC program Buffalo comes to Beaver Stadium.
|Wisconsin played as well as any team in the league this week, blanking the University of South Florida and also piling on 49 points. Heisman candidate Jonathan Taylor scored 4 out of the team’s 7 touchdowns and he is making an early campaign statement for the race.
|Michigan State is the same story as any other year. They look like a strong defense with a decent offense. If they can sort their offense out and create consistent productivity, they can make a push in the Big Ten East that looks to be as tough as ever.
|With a slow start and only a 10-7 lead at halftime, Iowa opened the gates in the second half outscoring Miami (Ohio) 28-7 the second half for a 38-14 victory. Quarterback Nate Stanley threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns while running back Mekhi Sargent added 91 yards and a score on the ground. The game was a win but left tackle Alaric Jackson went out with a right knee injury early on. The Hawkeyes will be looking to start Big Ten play off strong when Rutgers comes to Kinnick Stadium next week.
|For a team that has aspirations of winning the Big Ten West, that opener left a lot to be desired. Even though the Huskers emerged victorious, 35-21, over 36-point underdog South Alabama, Nebraska was out-gained, 314-276, and recorded fewer first downs, 19-15. They did not score any offensive points in the second half; two defensive touchdowns and a punt return TD helped push Nebraska over the finish line. Up next comes an old Big 12 foe, Colorado, on the road in Boulder. We ain’t ever gettin’ older.
|Let’s face it: Northwestern was never supposed to win at #25 Stanford. But after an off-season during which head coach Pat Fitzgerald derided the lack of national respect for his team, the Wildcats looked unprepared and over-matched in a 17-7 loss in the Bay Area. They totaled a measly 210 yards of offense and turned the ball over four times. Starting QB and Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson finished 6-17 with 55 yards and 3 turnovers. Second-string QB TJ Green suffered a serious foot injury that added salt to the wound. Northwestern gets UNLV for their home opener next week, but after that, 5 consecutive ranked opponents come calling. The Wildcats could be staring at a 1-6 start.
|The Gophers had a surprising struggle against the Jackrabbits. Fortunate for them, they have to wait 4 weeks before their conference play starts at Purdue. They have a lot of work to do in a month’s time, but games against Fresno State and Georgia Southern will give them opportunity to improve.
|Purdue holds one of the worst losses in week one across the country and they are happy that the Volunteers took some of the news from them; however, the Boilermakers are still one of the toughest teams in the league. All things considered, they took a difficult road game out west and they played a Nevada team that finished with 8 wins and a bowl victory.
|It was close, but a win is a win. Indiana endured a slow start early on but manage to be ahead when it counted to defeat Ball State in Indianapolis. The passing attack was stellar with quarterback Michael Penix throwing for 326 yards and one score in his first start. However, Ball State moved the ball down the field effectively the whole game. The Hoosiers were aided by kicker Logan Justus who went four-for-four on the day with his new career long being a 50 yard success late in the 4th. Looking ahead, Indiana needs to sharpen things up on both sides of the ball with their next game against FCS foe Eastern Illinois if they want to compete with Ohio State the following week.
|No one expected this from Maryland the first week of the season, a 79-0 thrashing of Howard. The Terrapins offense put up 56 points in the first half and were able to cruise the rest of the way for the victory against the Bison. Quarterback Josh Jackson threw for four scores in his debut. The game was completely one-sided as Maryland totaled 623 yards compared to Howard’s 68. It will be interesting to see where Maryland goes from here with No.22 ranked Syracuse coming to town next weekend. Can the Terrapins show that they are here for the long run, or will this victory just be a one hit wonder?
|Illinois used a balanced offensive attack to defeat Akron 42-3. The Illini recorded 407 yards in total offense with 207 on the ground and 194 through the air. Graduate transfer and former Indiana Mr. Football Brandon Peters (Avon) brought in four touchdowns on the day with one of those being with his legs. Defensively, Lovie Smith’s squad held the Zips offense to only 192 yards and recorded a takeaway. Both sides played well keeping Akron in check the entire game. Next week Illinois travels to UConn looking to go 2-0 on the year.
|For Rutgers, any win is a good win. The offense continues to be an impressive part of the game for Rutgers and their first week result may be an indicator for the rest of the season. Expect games to be won (and to be lost) in shootouts. These types of teams are especially dangerous with an upset-hungry team.