A lot more of the same in week seven’s stacking of the Big Ten. In a week without many surprises, the top teams continue to perform at impressive levels, notably Ohio State’s easy handling of a ranked Michigan State team in primetime and Penn State’s comprehensive win over an injured Purdue team. The most important win of the week was Michigan’s win over Iowa at home. In a defensive war, the Wolverines showed that they can compete with the league’s best even though they have had a few unconvincing wins. For the Hawkeyes, will they be able to find offense in the weeks to come?
Big Ten Football Week 6 Power Rankings
No. 14 Rutgers (1-3, 0-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last Result: Loss at No. 22 Michigan 0-52
Artur Sitkowski finished with just 106 yards in the air this week against Michigan. At the moment, Chris Ash’s Rutgers team is struggling to find any phase of the ball where they can muster up any success. The road only gets tougher from here for Rutgers as they face the gauntlet of the Big Ten East. Shots at Liberty, Indiana, and Illinois will be Rutgers’ three best opportunities for wins.
No. 13 Illinois (2-2, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last Result: Bye
The Illini are coming off of a much needed bye week as they have a road matchup against undefeated Minnesota this week. This one could be a shootout as both offenses are putting up over 33 points per game and the defenses are allowing a combined 710.8 yards per game.
No. 12 Purdue (1-3, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last Result: Loss against Minnesota 31-38
On a single play, Purdue lost two of their offensive stars when QB Elijah Sindelar and WR Rondale Moore got injured on the same play in two separate parts of the field. Purdue orchestrated an attempted comeback behind Jack Plummer, but 14 points unanswered in the fourth quarter were not enough to get out of the deficit that was built in the first half. Purdue is now 1-3 on the season with a lot of questions that have to be answered going into a road test against Penn State.
No. 11 N’western (1-3, 0-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last Week Result: Loss at #8 Wisconsin 15-24
Nothing in college football matters more than wins and losses, but Northwestern can hold their heads high after their performance in Madison. They held Wisconsin to just 7 points at halftime, and put together 12 unanswered points at the end to make the final score respectable. The Wildcats held Wisconsin to just 243 total yards and 4-16 on 3rd down. Their matchup next week at Nebraska will serve as a test of both teams’ character during a tough year.
No. 10 Maryland (2-2, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last Result: Loss against No. 12 Penn State 0-59
After a 2-0 start to the season, Maryland was looking to keep their hot play going. However after two straight losses, the recent being a 59-0 shutout against Penn State,the Terrapins may have to go back to the drawing board to get their season back on course. Maryland could just muster up 128 yards of total offense with 10 first downs. The running game averaged just 1.8 yards per carry and quarterback Josh Jackson threw 10-for-2, 65 yards and two interceptions for a rating of just 3.8. The Nittany Lions torched the Maryland defense with 619 total yards with 421 yards and three scores coming from the air. The Terrapins go on the road next week against Rutgers where they look to find their stride again.
No. 9 Indiana (3-2, 0-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last Result: Loss at No. 25 Michigan State 31-40
Another game against a tough opponent results in another difficult defeat for Tom Allen’s team. In a close battle, the Hoosiers took the lead over the Spartans but defensive struggles in the last two minutes gave MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke a free lane to Indiana’s one yard line. From there, MSU kicker Matt Coghlin connected on the game winning field goal with seconds to go. Indiana moved to 3-2 on the season entering their bye week and the question that remains is when can the Hoosiers finally get the win they need to breakthrough?
No. 8 Nebraska (3-2, 1-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last Result: Loss against #5 Ohio St. 7-48
“That’s where we want to get as a football team,” Nebraska coach Scott Frost said in retrospect after Ohio State obliterated his Cornhuskers in the national spotlight 48-7 on Saturday night. Maybe Frost needs to reset his goals and expectations; Nebraska, which once had Big Ten West Champion expectations, might miss a bowl game for a 3rd straight year. That hasn’t happened in Lincoln since 1959-1961.
No. 7 Minnesota (4-0, 1-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last Result: Win against Purdue 38-31
Minnesota survived its first true test to beat a struggling Purdue team that had high expectations this season. Their victory would look a lot better if there was not injuries faced by the Boilermakers to Sindelar and Moore. Minnesota persisted and answered. Minnesota can continue sneaking by with victories the next 4 weeks against Illinois, Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland. Tanner Morgan looked great all day with nearly 400 yards passing and 4 TDs.
No. 6 Michigan St. (4-1, 2-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last Result: Win against Indiana 40-31
Michigan State outlasted the Hoosier offensive attack with a 40-31 victory at home. Not a easy game to watch for Spartan nation, but it rarely is for teams that face the Hoosiers. The biggest concern for the Spartans is how their defense will hold up against an impressive Ohio State team next week when they travel to Columbus. If the Spartans get a victory over the next three weeks against Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State, it will be considered a good stretch.
No. 5 Michigan (3-1, 1-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last Result: Win against Rutgers 52-0
This is the first week the Wolverines do not have to answer questions directed at their offensive or defensive play. Patterson played better, but still has not looked like a top QB in the conference. He did account for four TDs, three of which came on short rushes in the red zone though. It will be a good test for the Wolverines to travel to Iowa City next week to face a Iowa team that has looked impressive all season. Michigan needs to play lights out the rest of the season to stand a chance in making the playoffs.
No. 4 Iowa (4-0, 1-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last Result: Win against MTSU 48-3
The Hawkeyes came off a bye week without much hesitation in their performance against Middle Tennessee State. Iowa had 644 yards of total offense with six total touchdowns to go along with it. Defensively, Kirk Ferentz’s team held the Blue Raiders to 3-of-12 on third downs and just 216 yards. The Hawkeyes use this game to roll to a 4-0 record as they resume conference play next week with a trip to Ann Arbor to face the Wolverines.
No. 3 Penn State (4-0, 1-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last Result: Win at Maryland 59-0
Out of the four blowouts by top-20 Big Ten teams this past weekend, the most impressive and unexpected one took place in Maryland on Friday night. PSU threw their hat into the Big Ten contender ring with a 59-point win over their “rival.” If PSU can cleanly navigate a tough October, their matchup against Ohio State on Nov. 23 could feature two top-five teams.
No. 2 Wisconsin (4-0, 2-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Result: Win against Northwestern 24-15
Wisconsin’s game against Northwestern serves as a reminder that anything can happen in college football. This week’s games including Clemson’s scare against UNC among others also show that the best teams find a way to win at the end. Wisconsin had the lead for the majority of the game, and ended up holding off the pesky Wildcats. They continue to look like the front-runner for the Big Ten West.
No. 1 Ohio State (5-0, 2-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last Result: Win at Nebraska 48-7
After another destruction of an opponent, Ohio State has some fans wondering if the Buckeyes are not only the best team in the conference, but also the best team in the country. If the Buckeyes run the table, they’ll have as good a case as anyone. Oh, by the way, QB Justin Fields has 23 touchdowns on the season, with no interceptions.