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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 7 Recap

Wisconsin pitches their fourth shutout, Penn St. gets a big road win and Minnesota remains unbeaten.

Find Week 6’s rankings here.

1. (1) Ohio State (6-0), BYE, Next Week: at Northwestern

The Buckeyes had a bye in Week 7. Quarterback Justin Fields and running back J.K. Dobbins have been sensational for Ohio State during their 6-0 start. The Buckeyes play at Northwestern on Friday night.

2. (2) Wisconsin (6-0), W - 38-0 vs. Michigan St., Next Week: at Illinois

Wisconsin’s defense posted their fourth shutout in six games, as Michigan State could only muster 149 total yards in a 38-0 loss. Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard’s unit allows the fewest points per game (4.8) and fewest total yards per game (173.7) in the nation through seven weeks. The Badgers had two interceptions including a pick-six, and held the Spartans to just 2-of-14 on third down attempts. Running back Jonathan Taylor only ran for 80 yards but had two touchdowns. Wisconsin will be heavily favored when they travel to Illinois this weekend.

3. (3) Penn State (6-0), W - 17-12 at No. 17 Iowa, Next Week: vs. No. 16 Michigan

The Nittany Lions went on the road to No. 17 Iowa and pulled out a 17-12 win on Saturday. Penn State relied upon their elite defense in the win, forcing two turnovers and allowing just 70 yards on the ground. Running back Noah Cain rushed for 102 yards and scored the touchdown that gave the Nittany Lions a two score lead late in the fourth quarter. Penn State will face their second straight ranked opponent this weekend with No. 16 Michigan coming to town.

4. (4) Michigan (5-1), W - 42-25 at Illinois, Next Week: at No. 7 Penn St.

After scoring just 10 points last week, Michigan’s offense came alive in a 42-25 win at Illinois. The Wolverines were led by two 100 yard rushers in Hassan Haskins (125 yards) and Zach Charbonnet (116 yards). Quarterback Shea Patterson completed just 11 passes but threw for three touchdowns and also ran for a score. After taking a 28-0 lead, Michigan surrendered 25 unanswered points and needed two fourth quarter fumble recoveries to pull away from the Illini. The Wolverines will be tested this weekend when they travel to State College to play No. 7 Penn State.

5. (6) Minnesota (6-0), W - 34-7 vs. Nebraska, Next Week: at Rutgers

After squeaking out wins in their first three games, Minnesota had their statement win of the season thus far, beating Nebraska 34-7. Three different players rushed for over 80 yards for the Golden Gophers, led by running back Rodney Smith’s 139. Quarterback Tanner Morgan only attempted 13 passes as Minnesota spent most of the game running roughshod over Nebraska’s shaky defense. With their next two games against Rutgers and Maryland, the Gophers have a real shot at being 8-0 before a November 9th home matchup against Penn State.

6. (5) Iowa (4-2), L - 17-12 vs. No. 10 Penn St., Next Week: vs. Purdue

The Hawkeyes lost their second straight game to a ranked opponent over the weekend, falling to No. 10 Penn State 17-12. Iowa has proven to be a tough out and both of their losses this year have been by a combined 12 points. Kirk Ferentz’s team will get a much easier matchup this weekend when Purdue visits Iowa City.

7. (7) Michigan State (4-3), L - 38-0 at No. 8 Wisconsin, Next Week: BYE

The Spartans struggled mightily on offense in their 38-0 shutout loss at Wisconsin. Quarterback Brian Lewerke completed just seven passes on 16 attempts, along with an interception before being pulled in the fourth quarter. Michigan State’s defense continues to play well, as they held Wisconsin’s star running back Jonathan Taylor in check for the most part. The Spartans’ defense will keep this team in most games, but their inconsistent offense has held them back from being one of the elite squads in the Big Ten.

8. (10) Indiana (4-2), W - 35-0 vs. Rutgers, Next Week: at Maryland

The Hoosiers were the latest to team to destroy Rutgers. Indiana recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown on the opening kickoff, and got two quick touchdowns passes from quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to go up 21-0 early in the first quarter. Head coach Tom Allen’s defense did the rest, as they allowed just 75 total yards to Rutgers’ inept offense. The Hoosiers will travel to Maryland this weekend in an important game for their bowl berth chances.

9. (8) Nebraska (4-3), L - 34-7 at Minnesota, Next Week: BYE

The Cornhuskers were gashed for 322 rushing yards in a 34-7 disappointing road loss at Minnesota. Nebraska’s defense was bullied in this one, as the Golden Gophers rushed for 6.6 yards per carry and dominated the line of scrimmage. Without starting quarterback Adrian Martinez, the Cornhuskers were limited offensively. Backup Noah Vedral threw for just 135 yards and added a team-high 49 rushing yards in a lackluster performance. Nebraska heads into a bye week hoping Martinez can return sooner rather than later.

10. (12) Purdue (2-4), W - 40-14 vs. Maryland, Next Week: at No. 23 Iowa

Purdue got a much needed win over Maryland on Saturday. Quarterback Jack Plummer threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns in the Boilermakers’ 40-14 blowout victory. Starting in his fourth straight game, Plummer had his best performance of the season against the Terrapins. Jeff Brohm’s team now sits at 2-4 as they head into into a difficult road game at No. 23 Iowa on Saturday.

11. (11) Northwestern (1-4), BYE, Next Week: vs. No. 4 Ohio St.

The Wildcats had a bye in Week 7. Pat Fitzgerald’s team will need to improve offensively if they want any chance to become bowl eligible. Northwestern will look to pull off a massive upset against No. 4 Ohio State this weekend.

12. (9) Maryland (3-3), L - 40-14 at Purdue, Next Week: vs. Indiana

Head coach Mike Locksley has had an up and down first season at Maryland. The Terrapins looked awful on Saturday, falling 40-14 to a Purdue team that was without multiple starters due to injury. A week after putting up 48 points on Rutgers, Maryland could only score 14 against an average Purdue defense. Backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome started in place of the injured Josh Jackson and threw two interceptions, but displayed his running talent, as he led the team in rushing with 107 yards. Maryland has a winnable home game against Indiana this weekend.

13. (13) Illinois (2-4), L - 42-25 vs. No. 16 Michigan, Next Week: vs. No. 6 Wisconsin

The Illini remained winless in Big Ten play with their 42-25 home loss to Michigan. Quarterback Matt Robinson started in place of the injured Brandon Peters, and threw for 192 yards and a touchdown, but also lost two crucial fumbles. Illinois’ defense could never slow down the Wolverines’ rushing attack and allowed three touchdowns through the air as well. Credit to Illinois for scoring 25 unanswered points to trim Michigan’s lead to three, but the Illini just don’t have the talent to be competitive in the Big Ten.

14. (14) Rutgers (1-5), L - 35-0 at Indiana, Next Week: vs. No. 20 Minnesota

Another week, another blowout loss for the Scarlet Knights. In a 35-0 loss to Indiana, Quarterback Johnny Langan completed just five passes for one yard; you read that right, ONE yard. Rutgers’ defense wasn’t much better, as they allowed running back Stevie Scott to rush for 164 yards on just 12 carries and surrendered 297 yards through the air. The Scarlet Knights are a complete disaster on both sides of the ball and have now lost 16 straight Big Ten games.