clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 8 recap

Illinois stuns Wisconsin, Penn St. outlasts Michigan and Indiana is one win away from going bowling

1. (1) Ohio State (7-0), W - 52-3 at Northwestern, Next Week: vs. No. 13 Wisconsin

It was business as usual for the Buckeyes on Friday night. Led by stellar performances from quarterback Justin Fields and running back J.K. Dobbins, the Buckeyes destroyed the Wildcats 52-3 in Evanston. The Buckeyes completely outplayed Northwestern behind Fields’ four touchdown passes and Dobbins’ 121 rushing yards. Ohio State’s defense had another dominating performance and now rank second in the country in scoring defense (8.0 points allowed per game). The Buckeyes will get their first real challenge of the season when No. 13 Wisconsin visits Columbus in Week 9.

2. (3) Penn State (7-0), W - 28-21 vs. No. 16 Michigan, Next Week: at Michigan St.

The Nittany Lions won their second straight game over a ranked opponent on Saturday, beating No. 16 Michigan 28-21 behind four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) from quarterback Sean Clifford. Penn State’s defense allowed a season-high 417 yards, but came up with a crucial fourth down stop as Michigan was going in for the game-tying score with 2:01 left in the game. James Franklin’s team has now beaten Iowa and Michigan in consecutive weeks, and will travel to play Michigan State this weekend.

3. (2) Wisconsin (6-1), L - 24-23 at Illinois, Next Week: at No. 3 Ohio St.

In the biggest upset of the college football season thus far, the Badgers lost to Illinois 24-23 on a last-second field goal. It was both an embarrassing and devastating loss for a Wisconsin team that might have been looking ahead to their matchup with No. 3 Ohio State this weekend. Despite out-gaining the Illini 420-315 and dominating time of possession by more than 20 minutes, Wisconsin was doomed by two fourth quarter turnovers and some suspect play calling in the red zone.

4. (5) Minnesota (7-0), W - 42-7 at Rutgers, Next Week: vs. Maryland

The Golden Gophers took care of business on Saturday, beating Rutgers 42-7 on the road. Minnesota out-gained the Scarlet Knights 443-189 and picked off quarterback Johnny Langan three times in the blowout victory. Running back Rodney Smith rushed for 111 yards (his fourth straight 100+ yard game) and two touchdowns to lead the Gophers’ offensive attack. Minnesota is 7-0 for the first time since 1960 and have a great shot at moving to 8-0 with a home matchup against Maryland upcoming this weekend.

5. (4) Michigan (5-2), L - 28-21 at No. 7 Penn St., Next Week: vs. No. 8 Notre Dame

In a hostile environment, the Wolverines fought hard and nearly pulled off an upset win, but ultimately fell 28-21 to the Nittany Lions. Michigan actually out-gained Penn State 417-283 and converted 26 first downs, but the Wolverines’ defense surrendered a couple of big touchdown plays that proved costly. The Wolverines will host No. 8 Notre Dame this weekend in a non-conference rivalry game.

6. (6) Iowa (5-2), W - 26-20 vs. Purdue, Next Week: at Northwestern

After dropping two straight games to ranked teams, the Hawkeyes got back in the win column with a 26-20 victory over Purdue on Saturday. After the Boilermakers cut the lead to 19-13 late in the fourth quarter, a failed on-side kick attempt allowed Iowa to put the game away just two plays later with a 14 yard rushing touchdown from running back Mekhi Sargent. The Hawkeyes will look to avoid an upset loss against Northwestern in Week 9.

7. (7) Michigan State (4-3), BYE, Next Week: vs. No. 6 Penn St.

The Spartans had a much needed bye in Week 8 after suffering back-to-back road losses to Ohio State and Wisconsin. Sparty gets another challenge this weekend when No. 6 Penn State travels to East Lansing.

8. (8) Indiana (5-2), W - 34-28 at Maryland, Next Week: at Nebraska

The Hoosiers moved one step closer to securing a bowl berth with a 34-28 road win at Maryland. Backup quarterback Peyton Ramsey threw for 193 yards and a touchdown in relief of injured starter Michael Penix Jr., while running back Stevie Scott added 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Cornerback Reese Taylor came up with a clutch interception on Maryland’s final drive to seal the road victory for Indiana. The Hoosiers will look to become bowl eligible with a win at Nebraska this weekend.

9. (9) Nebraska (4-3), BYE, Next Week: vs. Indiana

Scott Frost’s team had a bye in Week 8. The Cornhuskers get a winnable home matchup against Indiana this weekend.

10. (13) Illinois (3-4), W - 24-23 vs. No. 6 Wisconsin, Next Week: at Purdue

What a victory for the Illini. Head coach Lovie Smith’s team did the unthinkable and pulled off a 24-23 upset win over No. 6 ranked Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon. Illinois never had a lead until the clock hit 0:00 but forced two key fourth quarter turnovers that helped them pullout the win. Illinois’ offense was held in check for the most part but two 40+ yard touchdowns allowed the Illini to hang around and eventually take the lead as time expired. This was no doubt a massive win for a program that has arguably been the worst in the Big Ten over the past decade. The Illini will look to keep it going when they travel to Purdue on Saturday.

11. (10) Purdue (2-5), L - 26-20 at No. 23 Iowa, Next Week: vs. Illinois

Purdue gave the Hawkeyes a game, but couldn’t pull out the win in a 26-20 road loss in Iowa City. Quarterback Jack Plummer threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns but the Boilermakers could get nothing going on the ground. Hampered by injuries all year, Jeff Brohm’s team now sits at 2-5 heading into a must-win game in Week 9 against Illinois.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 Purdue at Iowa Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

12. (12) Maryland (3-4), L - 34-28 vs. Indiana, Next Week: at No. 17 Minnesota

The Terrapins fell to 3-4 on the season with a 34-28 home loss to Indiana on Saturday. Quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome started his second straight game for injured starter Josh Jackson and threw for 210 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Despite the loss, running back Javon Leake was a bright spot for Maryland and finished with 158 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Maryland’s defense was never able to slow down Indiana’s passing attack and allowed 334 yards through the air. The Terrapins have now lost four of their last five games and will travel to face No. 17 Minnesota this weekend.

13. (11) Northwestern (1-5), L - 52-3 vs. No. 4 Ohio St., Next Week: vs. No. 20 Iowa

It has been a rough year for the Wildcats and head coach Pat Fitzgerald. Northwestern suffered their fourth straight loss after a 52-3 home defeat to Ohio State on Friday. The Wildcats struggled to move the ball and were out-gained 480 to 199 in the game. Northwestern now has third worst scoring offense in the country through eight weeks, as they average just 12.5 points per game. The schedule doesn’t get any easier with No. 20 Iowa visiting Evanston this weekend for a Big Ten West matchup.

14. (14) Rutgers (1-6), L - 42-7 vs. No. 20 Minnesota, Next Week: vs. Liberty

Rutgers lost their sixth straight game on Saturday, a 42-7 home defeat to No. 20 Minnesota. The Scarlet Knights are dead last in the country in points per game with just 11.1 and have allowed almost 39 points per game on defense. Simply put, this is by far the worst Power Five team in the country and I’d be surprised if they win a conference game this season.