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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 4 Recap

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Wisconsin dominates Michigan, Sparty bounces back and Adrian Martinez is for real.

Find Week 3’s rankings here.

1. (Last Week: 2) Wisconsin (3-0), W - 35-14 vs. No. 11. Michigan, Next Week: vs. Northwestern

After their dominating 35-14 victory over Michigan, Wisconsin deserves the number one spot after Week 4. Running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Jack Coan was an efficient 13-for-16 through the air and rushed for two scores. Wisconsin’s defense was dominant for a third straight week, holding the Wolverines to just 40 rushing yards and forcing four turnovers (two picks, two fumbles). The Badgers have looked exceptional on both sides of the ball through three games and will look to keep it going this weekend when they host Northwestern.

2. (1) Ohio State (4-0), W - 76-5 vs. Miami (OH), Next Week: at Nebraska

The Buckeyes destroyed an overmatched Miami (Ohio) team 76-5 in Columbus this past weekend. Ohio State had a staggering 42 points in the second quarter and quarterback Justin Fields continued his red hot start to the season with six total touchdowns (four passing, two rushing). The Buckeyes are once again the cream of the crop of the Big Ten and fell to the number two spot simply because they haven’t played a legitimate opponent yet.

3. (3) Penn State (3-0), BYE, Next Week: at Maryland

The Nittany Lions had a bye in Week 4. They struggled offensively last week against Pitt, but will look to bounce back on the road against Maryland this weekend.

4. (5) Iowa (3-0), BYE, Next Week: vs. Middle Tennessee St.

Coming off a hard fought road win at Iowa State, the Hawkeyes had a bye this past week. With their stingy defense (10.3 points allowed) and a veteran quarterback in Nate Stanley under center, Iowa will be a tough out during Big Ten play. Kirk Ferentz’s team gets an easy home matchup with Middle Tennessee State in Week 5.

5. (8) Michigan State (3-1), W - 31-10 at Northwestern, Next Week: vs. Indiana

The Spartans bounced back from a disappointing non-conference loss to Arizona St. with a dominating win over Northwestern. The Spartans finished with three interceptions and allowed just 126 yards through the air. The offense was much improved from a week ago, as quarterback Brian Lewerke threw for three touchdowns and no picks, while running back Elijiah Collins added 76 rushing yards and a touchdown. Michigan State will be a heavy favorite in their home matchup against Indiana this weekend.

6. (7) Nebraska (3-1), W - 42-38 at Illinois, Next Week: vs. No. 5 Ohio St.

It was a close call, but the Cornhuskers pulled out a 42-38 road win at Illinois. Quarterback Adrian Martinez was sensational, throwing for 327 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 118 yards. Nebraska out-gained the Illini 671-299, but their four turnovers allowed Illinois to take an early lead and hang around the entire game. Martinez lead the Huskers on a 11-play, 75 yard fourth quarter touchdown drive to give his team the lead for good. Nebraska’s offensive firepower was on full display against Illinois and they’ll need as many points as possible when they play Ohio State this weekend.

7. (4) Michigan (2-1), L - 35-14 at No. 13 Wisconsin, Next Week: vs. Rutgers

The Wolverines came out flat against Wisconsin and were never able to recover from a slow start in a 35-14 loss in Madison. Michigan had no answer for Wisconsin’s rushing attack, as the Badgers out-gained the Wolverines on the ground 359 to 40. Jim Harbaugh’s team turned the ball over four times and were thoroughly outplayed by the Badgers. The Wolverines get an easy home matchup against Rutgers in week five.

8. (9) Minnesota (3-0), BYE, Next Week: at Purdue

P.J. Fleck’s team had plenty to work on during their bye week. The Golden Gophers have struggled in three games against inferior opponents and have needed some fourth quarter heroics to escape with wins. We’ll find out just how good or bad this team really is when they travel to Purdue this weekend.

9. (10) Maryland (2-1), BYE, Next Week: vs. No. 12 Penn St.

Coming off an upset loss at Temple, the Terrapins had their bye week at the perfect time. After scoring 142 points in their first two games, Maryland was completely shutdown by the Owls in Week 3. First year head coach Mike Locksley will look to get his offense back on track against No. 12 Penn State.

10. (11) Purdue (1-2), BYE, Next Week: vs. Minnesota

After a Week 3 blowout loss to TCU, head coach Jeff Brohm and his team had their bye week to regroup. The Boilermakers have struggled defensively, ranking dead last in the Big Ten in points and yards allowed per game. Quarterback Elijiah Sindelar should return from a concussion for a winnable home game against Minnesota.

11. (6) Northwestern (1-2), L - 31-10 vs. Michigan St., Next Week: at No. 8 Wisconsin

Through three games, Northwestern has been a significant disappointment. The Wildcats were expected to be in the mix to repeat as Big Ten West champions, but they fell to 1-2 on the year after a 31-10 home loss to Michigan State. Quarterback Hunter Johnson was shaky, throwing for just 88 yards and an interception before being benched in the second half. It doesn’t get any easier for the Wildcats, as they travel to Madison to play No. 8 Wisconsin this weekend.

12. (12) Indiana (3-1), W - 38-3 vs. UConn, Next Week: at No. 25 Michigan St.

Coming off a blowout loss against Ohio State, the Hoosiers got a much easier opponent this past weekend when UConn traveled to Bloomington. Indiana blew out the Huskies 38-3 behind a suffocating defensive performance and three touchdown passes from quarterback Peyton Ramsey. Filling in for the injured starter Michael Penix Jr., Ramsey threw for 247 yards and only four incompletions. The Hoosiers continue their quest for six wins and a bowl berth when they travel to No. 25 Michigan St.

13. (13) Illinois (2-2), L - 42-38 vs. Nebraska, Next Week: BYE

Illinois fought hard and nearly upset Nebraska, but the Illini could not slow down the Cornhuskers’ offense in a 42-38 loss. The Illinois defense forced four turnovers, but surrendered 671 total yards and could never stop quarterback Adrian Martinez and company. The Illini passing attack was almost non-existent, as quarterback Brandon Peters completed just nine passes for 78 yards. Credit to Illinois for almost pulling off the upset, but they’re still one of the worst teams in the Big Ten as they head into their week five bye.

14. (14) Rutgers (1-2), L - 30-16 vs. Boston College, Next Week: at No. 20 Michigan

The Scarlet Knights had no answer for BC’s rushing attack, allowing 272 rushing yards in a 30-16 home loss. At least quarterback Artur Sitkowski had a career day and despite an interception late in the fourth quarter, the sophomore threw for 304 yards and a touchdown. Chris Ash’s team travels to Ann Arbor this week for a difficult road game against Michigan.