clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 12 recap

Iowa hands Minnesota their first loss, Michigan embarrasses Sparty, and Penn State sneaks by Indiana.

Find Week 11’s rankings here.

1. (1) Ohio State (10-0), W - 56-21 at Rutgers, Next Week: vs. No. 8 Penn State

In a lopsided matchup, the Buckeyes destroyed Rutgers 56-21 behind four touchdowns from quarterback Justin Fields. Running back J.K. Dobbins rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns, and wide receiver Chris Olave led the team in receiving with 139 yards. The Buckeyes are on an absolute roll right now and will get star defensive end Chase Young back for this weekend’s showdown with Penn State.

2. (3) Penn State (9-1), W - 34-27 vs. Indiana, Next Week: at No. 2 Ohio State

The Nittany Lions bounced back from their loss to Minnesota last week with a 34-27 home win over a frisky Indiana team. Leading 27-24 in the fourth quarter, quarterback Sean Clifford led Penn State on a 18-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that lasted over nine minutes and effectively put the game out of reach for the Hoosiers. Clifford was shaky through the air on Saturday, throwing for just 179 yards but he made up for it on the ground, rushing for 55 yards and two touchdowns in the win. With a massive game upcoming against Ohio State this weekend, credit to the Nittany Lions for not looking past Indiana and securing a solid home win over the seven-win Hoosiers.

3. (2) Minnesota (9-1), L - 23-19 at No. 20 Iowa, Next Week: at Northwestern

Minnesota’s undefeated season came to an end in Iowa City with a 23-19 loss to the Hawkeyes. There’s no shame in losing a close game at Kinnick Stadium, but this loss keeps Wisconsin alive in the Big Ten West race and all but ends the Gophers’ College Football Playoff hopes. Minnesota had no problem moving the ball against a stout Iowa defense and quarterback Tanner Morgan threw for 368 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Wide receivers Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman finished with 170 and 98 receiving yards respectively, and both players each now have over 900 receiving yards on the season. Despite the loss, the Gophers still control their own destiny in the Big Ten West.

4. (4) Wisconsin (8-2), W - 37-21 at Nebraska, Next Week: vs. Purdue

Behind Jonathan Taylor’s second straight 200-plus yard rushing game, the Badgers notched their seven straight win against Nebraska. Taylor’s 204-yard rushing performance was his 11th career 200-yard game, which tied him with three other players for the most such games in FBS history. The Badgers used a 89-yard kick return touchdown from Aron Cruickshank and an interception from linebacker Jack Sanborn to jump out to a 27-14 halftime lead that they never surrendered. Despite allowing 273 yards on the ground, Wisconsin’s defense came up big with two fourth down stops in the red zone that helped the Badgers maintain their lead. With Iowa’s win over Minnesota on Saturday, the Badgers can earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship game if they win their last two games against Purdue and the Gophers.

5. (5) Michigan (8-2), W - 44-10 vs. Michigan State, Next Week: at Indiana

The Wolverines stayed hot and blew out their state rival 44-10 at the Big House. Quarterback Shea Patterson had perhaps the best game of his Michigan career, throwing for a season-high 384 yards and four touchdowns against the Spartans. Since their week 4 loss to Wisconsin, the Wolverines have won six of their past seven games with wins over Notre Dame and Iowa. Jim Harbaugh’s team is playing their best football of the season heading into the Ohio State game, but they must first travel to Bloomington this weekend for a tricky matchup against Indiana and their high-powered offense.

6. (7) Iowa (7-3), W - 23-19 vs. No. 8 Minnesota, Next Week: vs. Illinois

The Hawkeyes got their signature win of the season with a 23-19 victory over eighth ranked Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium. Quarterback Nate Stanley threw for 173 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, while running back Tyler Goodson needed only 13 carries to finish with 94 yards and a score. The Hawkeyes will secure their fifth consecutive eight-win season if they can get by Illinois in Iowa City this weekend.

7. (6) Indiana (7-3), L 34-27 at No. 9 Penn State, Next Week: vs. No. 13 Michigan

The Hoosiers fought valiantly but just didn’t make enough plays on defense and lost 34-27 to the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley. Indiana’s offense is for real, as quarterback Peyton Ramsey torched a stout Penn State defense for 371 passing yards and three total touchdowns (one passing, two rushing). Despite the loss, the Hoosiers have completely exceeded their preseason expectations and should be confident heading into a home matchup against Michigan.

8. (8) Illinois (6-4), BYE, Next Week: at No. 17 Iowa

The Illini had this past Saturday off. Lovie Smith’s team has won four straight, but will face a tough challenge this weekend when they travel to Kinnick Stadium to play Iowa.

9. (9) Michigan State (4-6), L - 44-10 at No. 15 Michigan, Next Week: at Rutgers

Michigan State’s disappointing season hit rock bottom on Saturday, with the Spartans getting destroyed 44-10 by Michigan for their fifth straight loss. Sparty’s offense was once again the problem, as they totaled just 220 yards against the Wolverines and now rank as the third-worst scoring offense in the Big Ten. Quarterback Brian Lewerke threw for only 166 yards and two picks, adding to his Big Ten-leading nine interceptions on the season. Amazingly, Michigan State still has a realistic shot to make a bowl game with wins in their final two games against Big Ten doormats Rutgers and Maryland.

10. (10) Purdue (4-6), BYE, Next Week: at No. 12 Wisconsin

The Boilermakers had a bye in week 12, as they get ready to face a ranked Wisconsin team in Madison this weekend. Purdue is still fighting for a bowl berth despite losing a number of players to injury this season, including the team’s starting and back up quarterbacks.

11. (11) Nebraska (4-6), L - 37-21 vs. No. 14 Wisconsin, Next Week: at Maryland

The Cornhuskers dropped their fourth straight game after a 37-21 home loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. Nebraska simply had no answer for Jonathan Taylor who ran for over 200 yards and allowed the Badgers to control time of possession. Huskers running back Dedrick Mills filled in admirably for injured starter Wan’Dale Robinson, and ran for 188 yards and a touchdown against a great Wisconsin defense. If Nebraska can get a win this weekend at Maryland, their bowl chances will come down to a home matchup against Iowa in the last week of the season.

12. (12) Maryland (3-7), BYE, Next Week: vs. Nebraska

After dropping their fifth straight game in week 10, the Terrapins had this past week off as they get ready for a home game against Nebraska. Maryland’s only Big Ten win on the season is against Rutgers and it’s hard to believe that this team was ranked at one point earlier this year.

13. (13) Northwestern (2-8), W - 45-6 vs. UMass, Next Week: vs. No. 10 Minnesota

Northwestern scored a season-high 45 points against an awful UMass team and notched just their second win of the season. The Wildcats moved the ball almost exclusively on the ground, as freshman running back Evan Hull had 24 carries for 220 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Pat Fitzgerald’s team is heading towards a winless Big Ten season, with games versus Minnesota and at Illinois in the final two weeks.

14. (14) Rutgers (2-8), L - 56-21 vs. No. 2 Ohio State, Next Week: vs. Michigan State

The Scarlet Knights never stood a chance against Ohio State and were throttled 56-21 at home in week 12. Rutgers’ offense was their usual anemic self, as they finished with 231 total yards and only ten first downs. Quarterback Johnny Langan threw for just 121 yards and had two interceptions in a game that was all but over after the first quarter. With games against Michigan State and Penn State to close out the season, it’s looking almost like a guarantee that the Scarlet Knights will finish winless in the Big Ten for the second straight year.