This past week, the biggest surprise in the Big Ten was the loss by Michigan State to Arizona State. Other than that, most of the teams in the Big Ten Football Power Rankings Week 3 took care of business. Ohio State is a juggernaut, Penn State and Michigan bounced back, and Iowa is on the rise.
Let’s take a look at the Big Ten Week 3 Power Rankings.
14. Purdue (0-2)
Lost to Eastern Michigan, 20-19
If Purdue wants to return to the top of the Big Ten, they can’t lose games to Eastern Michigan. It seems so simple, but you will always struggle to win games when you give up 347 yards in the air to the opposition. On the bright side, Purdue dominated on the ground, rushing as a team for 341 yards and a score. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the Boilermakers lost at home to a non-Power 5 school. That can’t happen. Purdue will look to pick up their first win against Missouri on Saturday.
13. Rutgers (1-1)
Lost to Ohio State, 52-3
Well, at least Rutgers tried. 52-3 is embarrassing, but Ohio State is on another level. The Buckeyes will be in the Top 10 all year. Rutgers had zero chance even if they were allowed 13 men on the field at all times. The only bright spot (by default) was kicker Justin Davidovicz, who made his lone field goal attempt. 134 yards of total offense is not going to beat any team, let alone Ohio State. Rutgers takes on Kansas this weekend in a very winnable game.
12. Illinois (2-0)
Beat Western Illinois, 34-14
Lovie gets (another) W! Illinois took care of business once again against inferior competition as they beat Western Illinois, 34-14. The ground game was the story as running backs Mike Epstein, and Reggie Corbin combined for 168 yards, and Corbin scored 1 TD. For a program that has not had a lot to cheer about in recent years, starting a season 2-0 is something to be proud of, no matter who they played. Illinois gets their first test of the season as South Florida comes to town. The game will be played at Soldier Field.
11. Nebraska (0-1)
Lost to Colorado, 33-28
Scott Frost’s debut did not go according to plan as Nebraska could not hold onto the lead late, surrendering a touchdown pass in the final minute to lose to Colorado, 33-28. Nebraska found its quarterback of the future in true freshman Adrian Martinez, who was sensational all game, combining for 304 all-purpose yards and 3 TDs. However, it may have come at a price as Martinez had to leave the game late with a leg injury. If Martinez can’t go this week, look for Andrew Bunch to get the start against Troy.
10. Minnesota (2-0)
Beat Fresno State, 21-14
The boat is off and running! Minnesota and its young core moved to 2-0 this past weekend with a win over visiting Fresno State. The game came down to the wire as Fresno State was a few yards away from tying the game late in the fourth quarter. Fresno tried a half-back pass on 1st-and-goal from the 4, but Antione Winfield Jr. made a spectacular play to intercept the pass and seal the game for the Golden Gophers. PJ Fleck will look to start 3-0 this weekend as Minnesota plays Miami (OH).
9. Indiana (2-0)
Beat Virginia, 20-16
I don’t care who you play. Winning a non-conference game on the road against a Power 5 school is impressive. Indiana went into Virginia and beat the Cavs 20-16. Indiana was not as explosive on offense as they were in week 1, but the Hoosiers found themselves a running back with Stevie Scott. The true freshman was a workhorse, rushing for 204 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. This weekend could prove to be a trap game for Indiana as they play Ball State before taking on Michigan State in two weeks.
8. Northwestern (1-1)
Lost to Duke, 21-7
I apologize to all the Northwestern fans for saying the ‘Cats should be 3-0 before the end of the month. The Cats could not stop Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, who threw for 3 TDs before leaving the game with an injury on their way to a 21-7 victory. Just like the first game, Northwestern came out firing out of the gates with a touchdown in the 1st quarter, but could not muster any points the rest of the way. If Northwestern wants to challenge for the Big Ten West title, they will need to fix their second-half offensive problems.
7. Maryland (2-0)
Beat Bowling Green, 45-14
Fear the Turtle! The Terrapins dominated Bowling Green on the ground, rushing for an impressive 444 yards with 5 TDs. Tayon Fleet-Davis lead the team with 2 TDs, and Ty Johnson, Lorenzo Harrison III, and Javon Leake all scored 1 TD. Maryland has another winnable game this weekend against Temple. The Terps could slowly turn into the dark horse of the Big Ten.
6. Michigan (1-1)
Lost to Western Michigan, 49-3
Poor Western Michigan. It was nothing personal, but the Wolverines had to beat them badly. Michigan lost a tough game to Notre Dame in their opener, and the media crushed them with Jim Harbaugh taking the most of the criticism. We knew Michigan was going to take out their frustration on Western Michigan and that’s exactly what happened. The Wolverines offense exploded 451 yards of offense in a 49-3 win. Michigan plays SMU at the Big House this weekend.
5. Iowa (2-0)
Beat Iowa State, 13-3
I said this last week, and I’ll say it again. To any opponent that plays Iowa at Kinnick Stadium, good luck because you are going to need it. The Kinnick Voodoo worked again as Iowa beat Iowa State 13-3, which marked their fourth straight victory over their in-state rival. The defense was the story as the Hawkeyes held the Cyclones to 188 yards on 56 plays. Iowa did what they do best. They ran the ball, played good defense, and controlled the clock. If Iowa gets past Northern Iowa this week, that will set the stage for a giant matchup with Wisconsin in, you guessed it, Kinnick Stadium.
4. Michigan State (1-1)
Lost to Arizona State, 16-13
Michigan State’s playoff hopes took a huge hit after the last second 16-13 upset loss at the hands of Arizona State. Sparty was leading 13-3 going into the fourth quarter before being outscored 10-0 to lose the game. While quarterback Brian Lewerke had a solid day (over 314 yards passing), the running game was left behind in East Lansing as the Spartans only mustered up 63 yards rushing. The silver lining for Michigan State is that this was a non-conference loss, so their hopes for a Big Ten title are more than alive. Michigan State is off this week.
3. Penn State (2-0)
Beat Pittsburgh, 51-6
It’s safe to say that Penn State woke up and learned from their Week 1 mistakes. The Nittany Lions dominated Pittsburgh from start to finish, outscoring the Panthers 44-0 after the first quarter in a 51-6 blowout. McSorley threw for 2 TDs, but the running game lead by Mike Sanders was the difference maker for Penn State as the Nittany Lions rushed for 211 yards and 3 TDs. Penn State plays Kent State this week in Happy Valley.
2. Wisconsin (2-0)
Beat New Mexico, 45-14
Jonathan Taylor runs the ball. Jonathan Taylor moves the chains. And Jonathan Taylor scores touchdowns. Rinse. Repeat. The running back had a dominating performance against New Mexico. Taylor ran for 233 yards on 33 carries and scored 3 touchdowns. Not that the Badgers needed to throw the ball, but quarterback Alex Hornibrook will need to throw the ball more than 8 times in order to win a Big 10 title. Wisconsin plays BYU at home in week 3.
1. Ohio State (2-0)
Beat Rutgers, 52-3
The “We can play defense, too” game. After surrendering 31 points to Oregon State a week ago, the Buckeyes defense responded in a huge way, allowing only 3 points in a 52-3 win over Rutgers. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had another tremendous day, throwing for 233 yards and 2 TDs. If Haskins can put up these numbers in Big 10 play, the Heisman campaign will only strengthen. The Buckeyes have a huge test this Saturday night as they travel to Texas to face TCU.