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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 9 recap

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Ohio State is scary good, Michigan destroys Notre Dame and Indiana becomes bowl eligible.

Find Week 8’s rankings here.

1. (1) Ohio State (8-0), W - 38-7 vs. No. 13 Wisconsin, Next Week: BYE

On a rainy day in Columbus, the Buckeyes stomped Wisconsin 38-7 behind a 163 yard rushing performance from J.K. Dobbins. The junior running back gashed one of the country’s best defenses for 8.2 yards per carry and two touchdown runs of 9 and 14 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Chase Young was unblockable and finished with four sacks. Ohio State is rolling on all cylinders right now and heads into a bye week as the clear cut favorite in the conference.

2. (2) Penn State (8-0), W - 28-7 at Michigan St., Next Week: BYE

The Nittany Lions remained undefeated on the season after a 28-7 road win at Michigan State. In another game that was affected by heavy rainfall, Penn State’s defense forced four turnovers (two INTs, two fumbles) and held the Spartans to just 83 rushing yards and 2.7 yards per carry. Quarterback Sean Clifford threw for 189 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Nittany Lions’ offensive attack. James Franklin’s team has looked awesome on both sides of the ball through eight games and a November 23rd trip to Ohio State looms on the horizon.

3. (4) Minnesota (8-0), W - 52-10 vs. Maryland, Next Week: BYE

However unlikely it may be, the Golden Gophers are 8-0 on the year after a 52-10 blowout win over Maryland. Running back Rodney Smith had his fifth straight game with 100-plus rushing yards, finishing with 103 yards and a touchdown against the Terps. The Golden Gophers completely dominated time of possession 42:53 to 17:07 and converted 30 first downs in their convincing win. Minnesota’s schedule to date hasn’t exactly been a murderer’s row, but the Gophers deserve a ton of credit for winning the games in front of them and putting themselves in a position to control their own destiny in the Big Ten West.

4. (3) Wisconsin (6-2), L - 38-7 at No. 3 Ohio St., Next Week: BYE

The Badgers ran into a buzzsaw and were completely outplayed in a 38-7 loss to Ohio State on Saturday. The nation’s top scoring defense heading into Week 9 was exposed by running back J.K. Dobbins who finished with 163 yards against the Badgers. The harsh reality is that the Buckeyes have more talent and executed better in just about every facet of the game in Wisconsin’s road loss. The Badgers still have a realistic path to reach the Big Ten title game, but they no longer control their destiny in the Big Ten West.

5. (5) Michigan (6-2), W - 45-14 vs. No. 8 Notre Dame, Next Week: at Maryland

In a statement win, the Wolverines completely dominated Notre Dame 45-14 at The Big House in Week 9. Michigan relied on their running game in a downpour, with Hassan Haskins totaling 149 yards on the ground and Zach Charbonnet finishing with 74 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The weather made it difficult to throw the ball and Michigan’s defense took advantage by loading up the box and holding the Irish to only 47 rushing yards and 1.5 yards per carry. After disappointing losses to Wisconsin and Penn State earlier this season, the Wolverines and head coach Jim Harbaugh desperately needed this win.

6. (6) Iowa (6-2), W - 20-0 at Northwestern, Next Week: BYE

Iowa’s defense continued their dominant 2019 season, holding Northwestern to just 202 total yards in a 20-0 shutout win. The Hawkeyes allowed only 64 yards on the ground and sacked quarterback Aidan Smith five times in another great performance by the defense. Iowa’s offense did just enough to win, as quarterback Nate Stanley threw for 179 yards and a touchdown, while committing no turnovers. The Hawkeyes head into a bye week squarely in the mix for the Big Ten West crown.

7. (8) Indiana (6-2), W - 38-31 at Nebraska, Next Week: vs. Northwestern

The Hoosiers became bowl for the first time since 2016, after an impressive 38-31 road win at Nebraska. Indiana has been a pleasant surprise in the Big Ten this year, mainly because of their dynamic offense. Whether it be Michael Penix Jr. or Peyton Ramsey under center, the Hoosiers have had no problem moving the ball this season. It was Ramsey’s turn on Saturday, as the redshirt junior threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 42 yards and another score. Wide receiver Whop Philyor, one of the most underrated players in the Big Ten, had his third game of the season with 10-plus catches, finishing with 14 receptions for 178 yards in Week 9. Indiana will look to get to 7-2 on the year with a home win over Northwestern this weekend.

8. (7) Michigan State (4-4), L - 28-7 vs. No. 6 Penn St., Next Week: BYE

It’s been an up and down nine weeks for the Spartans, as they fell to .500 on the season after a 28-7 home loss to Penn State. The offense continues to struggle, as they turned the ball over four times and found the end zone just once. Quarterback Brian Lewerke played poorly for the second straight game, completing less than 50% of his passes for 165 yards and an interception. After a brutal three game stretch against top-10 ranked opponents, the Spartans get a much-needed bye in Week 10.

9. (10) Illinois (4-4), W - 24-6 at Purdue, Next Week: vs. Rutgers

The Illini moved one step closer to earning a bowl berth with a 24-6 win at Purdue. Illinois used a strong rushing attack (242 yards) and a pick six to put away the Boilermakers in the pouring rain. Credit to head coach Lovie Smith, whose team didn’t come out flat after their massive win over Wisconsin last week. Illinois can get to five wins on the year with a win over lowly Rutgers in Week 10.

10. (9) Nebraska (4-4), L - 38-31 vs. Indiana, Next Week: at Purdue

After a 38-31 home loss to Indiana in Week 9, the Cornhuskers have now lost three of their last four games. Quarterback Adrian Martinez missed his second straight game with an injury and backup Noah Vedral had 201 passing yards and two rushing touchdowns before being forced to leave the game in the second quarter with an injury. Luke McCaffery, the younger brother of NFL star Christian McCaffery, replaced Vedral and looked impressive in the second half. McCaffery’s play wasn’t enough to lead Nebraska to the win, as the Cornhuskers’ defense allowed touchdown drives of 57 and 65 yards that gave Indiana a two score lead they never surrendered. Nebraska needs to win at Purdue this weekend if they want a realistic shot at earning a bowl berth.

11. (11) Purdue (2-6), L - 24-6 vs. Illinois, Next Week: vs. Nebraska

The Boilermakers dropped a winnable home game to Illinois on Saturday to fall to 2-6 on the year. Quarterback Jack Plummer completed just seven passes on the day and threw a crucial pick six in a game that had very little scoring due to heavy rainfall. On defense, Purdue allowed 242 rushing yards, as the Illini controlled the line of scrimmage and ran all over the Boilermakers. A bowl berth seems almost impossible at this stage but Jeff Brohm’s team will look for their second Big Ten win of the season when Nebraska visits West Lafayette this weekend.

12. (12) Maryland (3-5), L - 52-10 at No. 17 Minnesota, Next Week: vs. No. 14 Michigan

Maryland’s offense continued to sputter without starting quarterback Josh Jackson, as the Terrapins could only muster 210 total yards in a 52-10 blowout loss to Minnesota. Backup Tyrrell Pigrome was forced out of the game late in the first half with an injury and was replaced by Tyler DeSue. Neither quarterback was effective with Pigrome throwing two interceptions and DesSue only managing to complete four passes in the second half. Maryland’s defense could never get off the field, as the Golden Gophers rushed for 321 yards and converted 30 first downs. The Terrapins have now lost five of their past six games and play a ranked Michigan team this weekend.

13. (13) Northwestern (1-6), L - 20-0 vs. No. 20 Iowa, Next Week: at Indiana

The Wildcats lost their fifth straight game on Saturday, falling 20-0 at home to Iowa. Pat Fitzgerald’s team continues to struggle mightily on offense whether Aidan Smith or Hunter Johnson is under center. Smith started on Saturday and finished with just 138 passing yards and an interception. A year after winning the Big Ten West and playing in the Big Ten title game, the Wildcats have taken a huge step back in 2019.

14. (14) Rutgers (2-6), W - 44-34 vs. Liberty, Next Week: at Illinois

After scoring just 14 points in their last four games (all losses), Rutgers’ offense came alive in a non-conference 44-34 win over Liberty. Quarterback Johnny Langan had a career day, finishing with 192 passing yards, two touchdowns and no picks. The redshirt freshman also led the team in rushing with 118 yards and scored a rushing touchdown. Running back Isaih Pacheco had his first 100 yard rushing game since Week 1, with an 107 yard and two touchdown performance. The Scarlet Knights will come back to reality this weekend against Illinois, but good for interim head coach Nunzio Campanile for earning his first win.