There is much more of the same in this week’s stacking of the Big Ten. For a Saturday 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 7 Power Rankings
No. 14 Rutgers (1-4, 0-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last Result: Loss against Maryland 7-48
Rutgers had a good opportunity to find a competitive game against a Maryland team that could have been very well beatable, but they did not take advantage of that opportunity. Given the change in the head coaching position, Rutgers has a lot of things to figure out internally within the program before they are competitive in the league, especially in the Big Ten East division. Will Rutgers get a win against a Big Ten team this season? Right now the outlook is very bleak.
No. 13 Purdue (1-4, 0-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last Result: Loss at #12 Penn State 7-35
Without their starting quarterback, Purdue is in a lot of trouble offensively. The good news for the Boilermakers is that there’s a chance Sindelar can return this season. The bad news is that it will be much later into the season, perhaps in 6 to 8 weeks. Purdue’s defense allowed them to prevent a complete blowout against Penn State, but the offense simply is no longer there for Purdue’s injury-ridden team.
No. 12 N’western (1-4, 0-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last Week Result: Loss at Nebraska 10-13
In another putrid offensive showing, the Wildcats failed to top 17 points for the fourth time in five games on Saturday. QB Aidan Smith, a Fort Wayne native, tried to keep Nebraska off balance with the running game, but a late interception doomed Northwestern. The defense has impressed this season; can junior LB and captain Paddy Fisher fluster Justin Fields and the Buckeyes in a couple weeks?
No. 11 Illinois (2-3, 0-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last Result: Loss at Minnesota 17-40
After a 2-0 start, the Fighting Illini have dropped three straight games after falling to the Golden Gophers on Saturday. Lovie Smith’s defense gave up 487 yards of offense with 332 coming on the ground for Minnesota. That is the second game in a row that Illinois has given up over 300 rushing yards. With that said, they have shown improvement the last couple games. The defense has to shape up as the Illini return home next Saturday in a cross-division matchup against Michigan.
No. 10 Maryland (3-2, 1-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last Result: Win at Rutgers 48-7
Entering the week with a record of 2-2, Maryland had lost its stride from where they started the season. However, a 48-7 blowout win against Rutgers brought some much needed help to the Terrapins if they want to stay afloat in the Big Ten. Big plays aided the Maryland offense as three of their touchdowns went for 80 yards or more. The Terrapins can use this win to build on as they are on the road next week against a struggling Purdue squad.
No. 9 Nebraska (4-2, 2-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last Result: Win against Northwestern 13-10
At the start of the season, Nebraska fans would have looked at you quizzically if you had told them that backup QB Noah Vedral and walk-on safety-turned-kicker Lane McCallum keyed a Big Ten win for the Huskers. That happened on Saturday, as they scraped by Northwestern in Lincoln. QB Adrian Martinez and WR J.D. Spielman suffered injuries and their availability for next week’s game at Minnesota is uncertain.
No. 8 Indiana (3-2, 0-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last Result: Bye
The Hoosiers are coming off their first of two bye weeks for this season. This week is Indiana’s homecoming as they host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights who have only managed to win one game so far this season. The Hoosiers sit at 3-2 on the season and are looking to get back on the winning side after a close loss to the Spartans at the end of September. The matchup against Rutgers gives Indiana another opportunity to notch a much needed win as they continue their quest for a bowl appearance for the first time since 2016.
No. 7 Minnesota (5-0, 2-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last Result: Win against Illinois 40-17
Minnesota had its most convincing win on the season against a lowly Illinois team 40-17. Minnesota relied heavily on a strong rushing attack with Smith and Brooks pummeling Illinois for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. Minnesota remains undefeated on the season and will try to push all the way through October with an undefeated record which is likely as they face Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland.
No. 6 Michigan St. (4-2, 2-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last Result: Loss at #4 Ohio St. 10-34
A 34-10 loss to Ohio State is not terribly surprising with how Ohio State has been playing this year, especially in Columbus. Michigan State made OSU QB Justin Fields struggle at times, but he and JK Dobbins ended up being too much for the Spartans to handle. It gets better for the Spartans after this week, but not by much as they travel to Wisconsin and then host Penn State.
No. 5 Iowa (4-1, 1-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last Result: Loss at #19 Michigan 3-10
Iowa could not keep their unbeaten record alive as they fell to Michigan in a low scoring bout Saturday in Ann Arbor. The Hawkeyes’ rushing attack ran into a brick wall constructed by the Wolverine defense, coming up with just a single rushing yard in 30 attempts. Kirk Ferentz’s team had a hard time keeping control of the ball as they recorded four turnovers on the day with three interceptions coming from quarterback Nate Stanley. Iowa does not have long to think about this game as the Nittany Lions make a trip to Iowa City for a primetime showdown.
No. 4 Michigan (4-1, 2-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last Result: Win against #14 Iowa 10-3
MIchigan scored a quick 10 points in the first quarter and their defense did the rest to secure a 10-3 victory over the previously unbeaten Hawkeyes. Michigan forced 4 turnovers and gave up 1 along with producing 8 sacks to Iowa’s 2. QB Shea Patterson and OC Josh Gattis will need to sort out the offense soon before future top opponents. Fortunately, they face Illinois next week. This was a much needed victory to prove to the Michigan faithful that they can still compete with the top of the Big Ten.
No. 3 Penn State (5-0, 2-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last Result: Win against Purdue 35-7
A program known for its tough defenses, Penn State recorded a mind-boggling 10 sacks against Purdue, the most by any Big Ten team since Ohio State in 2007. The Nittany Lions have not allowed a single point in the first quarter this season; they are the only FBS school to achieve that feat.
No. 2 Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Result: Win against Kent State 48-0
Wisconsin had their final tune up game before they head full steam ahead into conference play. The Badgers have three major tests starting next week: Michigan State, at Ohio State, and Iowa. If the Badgers find a way to win against the Buckeyes in Columbus, they may very well go undefeated during the regular season. Heisman Trophy candidate Jonathan Taylor scored five easy touchdowns against Kent State in their blowout win.
No. 1 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last Result: Win against #25 Michigan St. 34-10
In their first primetime home game this season, the Buckeyes squashed Michigan St. after a slightly bumpy start. They accumulated 529 yards (323 rushing) against one of the most stout defenses in the land. Senior WR K.J. Hill has caught a pass in 40 straight games, and ranks 2nd in school history with 171 receptions (David Boston – 191).