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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 3 Recap

Indiana topples Michigan, Northwestern stays unbeaten, and Maryland notches another upset.

Find Week 2’s rankings here.

1. (Last Week: 1) Ohio State (3-0), W - 49-27 vs. Rutgers, Next Week: at Maryland

It was business as usual for the Buckeyes, who stayed unbeaten with a dominant win over the Scarlet Knights on Saturday. Quarterback Justin Fields led the way with six total touchdowns (five passing, 1onerushing) and no interceptions, while running backs Trey Sermon and Master Teague III rushed for a combined 128 yards on 24 carries. First-year defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs still has some work to do with the defense, but through three games the Buckeyes are rolling.

2. (3) Indiana (3-0), W - 38-21 vs. Michigan, Next Week: at Michigan St.

Indiana is well-deserving of jumping Wisconsin this week, after they got their first win against Michigan since 1987. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. had a huge day, throwing for 342 yards and three touchdowns. The Hoosiers’ skill position players also put on a show against the Wolverines. Wide receiver Whop Philyor hauled in 11 catches, fellow receiver Ty Fryfogle had 142 yards and a touchdown, and running back Stevie Scott III rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Indiana’s defense, who notched three sacks and picked off Joe Milton twice on Saturday, has played great through three games and makes the Hoosiers a legit contender in the East.

3. (2) Wisconsin (1-0), DNP, Next Week: at Michigan

The Badgers did not play in Week 3, after their game against Purdue was cancelled due to positive coronavirus cases in the program. As of Tuesday, Wisconsin’s game at Michigan is on schedule to be played.

4. (4) Purdue (2-0), DNP, Next Week: vs. No. 23 Northwestern

Purdue was forced to cancel their game against Wisconsin this past weekend due to the coronavirus outbreak in the Badgers program. The Boilermakers host No. 23 Northwestern on Saturday in a battle of unbeaten Big Ten West squads.

5. (5) Northwestern (3-0), W - 21-13 vs. Nebraska, Next Week: at Purdue

Through three weeks, the Wildcats are proving to be a serious contender in the Big Ten West. Running back Drake Anderson led the way for Northwestern with 89 rushing yards and a touchdown in their win over the Cornhuskers. The Wildcats’ defense continues to impress and ranks first in the Big Ten (excluding Wisconsin) in scoring defensive allowing just 12 points a game. Linebackers Paddy Fisher and Blake Gallagher have been tackling machines, and rank third and fourth in the conference respectively in total tackles. A crucial divisional matchup at Purdue is on the docket this upcoming weekend.

6. (12) Maryland (2-1), W - 35-19 at Penn St., Next Week: vs. No. 3 Ohio St.

Maryland had the statement win of the weekend, defeating Penn State behind a stellar performance from quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and moving six spots up in the power rankings. After an embarrassing Week 1 loss to Northwestern, the Terps have now beaten Minnesota and Penn State (two 11-win teams from last year) in back to back weeks. Tagovailoa is blossoming into a star at quarterback and the sophomore threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns in the upset win. Maryland’s defense also showed up on Saturday, sacking Sean Clifford seven times and forcing three turnovers (two INTs, one fumble). The Terps host No. 3 Ohio State this weekend in what should be a high-scoring affair.

7. (11) Iowa (1-2), W - 49-7 vs. Michigan St., Next Week: at Minnesota

After two close losses to start the season, the Hawkeyes left nothing to chance on Saturday and pummeled Michigan State by 42 points. Iowa’s defense flexed their muscles, picking off Rocky Lombardi three times, including one that was returned for a touchdown. The Hawkeyes also won the special teams battle, thanks to a 54-yard punt return touchdown from Charlie Jones. Kirk Ferentz’s team travels to play Minnesota on Friday night, in a game between two teams battling for position in the Big Ten West.

8. (6) Michigan (1-2), L - 38-21 at Indiana, Next Week: vs. No. 13 Wisconsin

It’s officially time to panic in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines were completely outplayed in a mistake-riddled loss to Indiana in Week 3. Jim Harbaugh’s team has been shaky on defensive side of the ball, especially in the secondary, and rank second to last in the Big Ten in passing defense. Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. had a field day against defensive coordinator Don Brown’s defense and the Wolverines committed eight penalties for 89 yards. Harbaugh and company will look to get back on track with a home matchup against No. 13 Wisconsin this weekend.

9. (13) Minnesota (1-2), W - 41-14 at Illinois, Next Week: vs. Iowa

Behind another huge performance from running back Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota notched a much-needed win at Illinois. Ibrahim rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns, and now leads the Big Ten in rushing yards (571) and touchdowns (10). Future first-round pick Rashod Bateman also played great on Saturday, hauling in 10 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown. This was a game Minnesota should have won and credit to them for taking care of business. An important divisional game against Iowa is up next for the Golden Gophers.

10. (8) Nebraska (0-2), L - 21-13 at Northwestern, Next Week: vs. Penn St.

After a week off due to their canceled game against Wisconsin, the Cornhuskers returned to action with a 21-13 loss at Northwestern. There is a real quarterback competition brewing in Lincoln, with Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffery both seeing significant playing time. Neither played particularly great on Saturday, as both threw second half interceptions, but Martinez did have a nice game on the ground with 102 rushing yards. Scott Frost’s team has a chance to notch their first win of the season this upcoming weekend with winless Penn State coming to town.

11. (9) Michigan State (1-2), L - 49-7 at Iowa, Next Week: vs. No. 10 Indiana

The Spartans came back down to earth and were completely overmatched in a 49-7 blowout loss to Iowa. Quarterback Rocky Lombardi completed just 46% of his passes and threw three interceptions in the loss. The Spartans’ defense had no answers for the Hawkeyes’ rushing attack and allowed 226 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. The Spartans have been up and down through three weeks, and the schedule doesn't get any easier with tenth ranked Indiana visiting East Lansing this Saturday.

12. (7) Penn State (0-3), L - 35-19 vs. Maryland, Next Week: at Nebraska

What a disappointing season it’s been for James Franklin and Penn State. The Nittany Lions fell to 0-3 on the year after a shocking home loss to Maryland. The offense was able to move the ball, but three turnovers from quarterback Sean Clifford ultimately sealed Penn State’s fate on Saturday. If there’s one bright spot in State College this season it’s wide receiver Jahan Dotson. Through three weeks, the sophomore leads the Big Ten in receiving yards (361) and touchdowns (five). The Nittany Lions will travel to Lincoln and play winless Nebraska this upcoming weekend.

13. (10) Rutgers (1-2), L - 49-27 at Ohio St., Next Week: vs. Illinois

Rutgers simply didn’t have enough talent to keep up with a juggernaut Ohio State team. However, the fact the Scarlet Knights managed to put up 27 points is a sign that things are looking up with Greg Schiano at the helm. Former Badger Aron Cruickshank had a nice day with seven catches and 71 total yards (50 receiving, 21 rushing). A home matchup against winless Illinois is on the horizon this Saturday.

14. (14) Illinois (0-3), L - 41-14 vs. Minnesota, Next Week: at Rutgers

The Illini remain at the bottom of these rankings, after a blowout home loss to Minnesota. For the second straight game, Illinois was without starting quarterback Brandon Peters due to COVID-19. Coran Taylor completed only six passes in relief, as the Illini could get nothing going on offense, minus a 52-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Lovie Smith’s team has been uninspiring through three games, but a winnable game at Rutgers is up next for the Illini.