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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 2 Recap

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The Spartans stun Michigan and Maryland upsets Minnesota in a wild Week 2.

Find Week 1’s rankings here.

1. (Last Week: 1) Ohio State (2-0), W - 38-25 at Penn St., Next Week: vs. Rutgers

The Buckeyes took care of business on Saturday night behind a relentless rushing attack and a four touchdown performance from quarterback Justin Fields. Running back Master Teague III gashed the Nittany Lions for 110 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Ryan Day’s team will get a favorable matchup against Rutgers this weekend, another game in which Fields is likely to explode.

2. (2) Wisconsin (1-0), DNP, Next Week: vs. Purdue (Cancelled)

The Badgers did not play in Week 2, after their game at Nebraska was cancelled due to positive coronavirus cases in the program. On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that Wisconsin’s game against Purdue this weekend is also cancelled.

3. (4) Indiana (2-0), W - 37-21 at Rutgers, Next Week: vs. No. 23 Michigan

Indiana avoided a letdown game when they traveled to Rutgers on Saturday, winning 37-21 behind a four touchdown day (three passing, one rushing) from quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Wide receiver Whop Philyor also had a nice game, finishing with five catches for 137 receiving yards. The Hoosiers’ defense picked off Noah Vedral three times in the win and cornerback Tiawan Mullen had 2.5 sacks and has played like an All-American defensive back through two weeks. The Hoosiers will look to stay unbeaten when they host Michigan on Saturday.

4. (6) Purdue (2-0), W - 31-24 at Illinois, Next Week: at No. 10 Wisconsin (Cancelled)

Purdue is quietly 2-0 to start the season and one of the pleasant surprises in the conference through two weeks. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell had a huge game, throwing for 371 yards, two touchdowns, and no picks in their win over Illinois. Wide receiver David Bell also played great, notching nine catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. Through two weeks, Bell leads the Big Ten in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Purdue’s offense is hitting it’s stride and could be even better if and when Rondale Moore ever returns. Their game against Wisconsin this weekend has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak within the Badger program.

5. (8) Northwestern (2-0), W - 21-20 at Iowa, Next Week: vs. Nebraska

The Wildcats remained unbeaten on the year after earning a one-point road win against West division rival Iowa in Week 2. After falling behind 17-0 in the first quarter, Northwestern never wavered and used two 75+ yard touchdown drives to get back into the game. The Wildcats held Iowa scoreless in the second half and picked off quarterback Spencer Petras three times, one of which led to Northwestern’s game-winning touchdown in the third quarter. After a disappointing 3-9 record last season, Pat Fitzgerald’s team looks much improved and ready to compete for the Big Ten West title in 2020.

6. (3) Michigan (1-1), L - 27-24 vs. Michigan St., Next Week: at No. 13 Indiana

No matter how you look at it, this was a terrible loss for the Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh’s seat is as warm as it’s ever been, after Michigan lost an in-state rivalry game at home to Michigan State this past weekend. Harbaugh is now 3-3 against the Spartans during his time at Michigan, including a 1-3 record in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines have a chance to bounce back this weekend when they play a ranked Indiana team. Another loss in Bloomington and Harbaugh could really start feeling the pressure.

7. (5) Penn State (0-2), L - 38-25 vs. Ohio St., Next Week: vs. Maryland

The Nittany Lions remained winless on the season after their loss to Ohio State on Saturday night. Penn State was competitive in the game, but just didn’t have enough to slow down Ohio State’s rushing attack and Heisman contender Justin Fields. On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver Jahan Dotson had a career night for the Nittany Lions with 144 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Despite starting the season 0-2, James Franklin’s team still is one of the most talented in the conference and they will be heavily favored at home against Maryland this weekend.

8. (10) Nebraska (0-1), N/A, Next Week: at Northwestern

Nebraska was forced to cancel their game against Wisconsin this past weekend due to the coronavirus outbreak in the Badgers program. The Cornhuskers will look for their first win of the season when they travel to face undefeated Northwestern on Saturday.

9. (13) Michigan State (1-1), W - 27-24 at Michigan, Next Week: at Iowa

In the most surprising result of the weekend, the Spartans shocked the Wolverines in Ann Arbor as 24-point underdogs. Quarterback Rocky Lombardi had perhaps the best game of his career, throwing for 323 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Lombari was helped out by a stellar performance from wide receiver Ricky White. The true freshman finished with eight catches for 196 yards and a touchdown in the win. First year head coach Mel Tucker will look to keep the momentum going when the Spartans travel to Iowa in Week 2.

10. (11) Rutgers (1-1), L - 37-21 vs. Indiana, Next Week: at No. 3 Ohio St.

Rutgers followed up their surprise Week 1 win with a gutsy performance against a ranked Indiana team this past weekend. The Scarlet Knights were overmatched but it was a one-score game midway through the third quarter and Greg Schiano clearly has this team moving in the right direction. Quarterback Noah Vedral (three INTs vs. IU) will need a much better performance this weekend if Rutgers hopes to keep it close against Ohio State.

11. (9) Iowa (0-2), L - 21-20 vs. Northwestern, Next Week: vs. Michigan St.

Iowa surprisingly sits at 0-2 on the season, after a one-point home loss to Northwestern on Saturday. The Hawkeyes have played two division opponents (Purdue, Northwestern) and have lost both games by a combined five points. Despite playing these teams close, Kirk Ferentz and company are really missing quarterback Nate Stanley. New signal caller Spencer Petras threw three interceptions in the loss. Iowa’s defense looks solid through two weeks, but the Hawkeyes will need a lot more out of Petras and their rushing attack (3.3 yards per carry in Week 2) if they want to be competitive in the Big Ten West.

12. (14) Maryland (1-1), W - 45-44 OT vs. Minnesota, Next Week: at Penn St.

What a turnaround for Mike Locksley and the Terrapins. After a blowout loss to Northwestern last week that saw the Terps score just three points, Maryland’s offense came out firing on Friday night. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 394 yards and had five total touchdowns (three passing, two rushing), while running back Jake Funk ran for 221 yards on just 21 carries. Maryland’s defense still has a long way to go, but the Terps’ offense looked phenomenal in the upset win.

13. (7) Minnesota (0-2), L - 45-44 OT at Maryland, Next Week: at Illinois

Through two weeks, Minnesota has been the most disappointing team in the Big Ten. The Gophers have allowed 45+ points in back to back weeks and now are ranked last in the conference in yards allowed and points allowed per game (excluding Nebraska, one game played). On the bright side, running back Mohamed Ibrahim had another monster game and rushed for 207 yards and four touchdowns on a whopping 41 carries. Until Minnesota’s defense can improve, this could be a long season for head coach P.J. Fleck and company. The Gophers travel to Champaign for a winnable game against Illinois this weekend.

14. (12) Illinois (0-2), L - 31-24 vs. Purdue, Next Week: vs. Minnesota

Illinois falls to last in the power rankings after a hard fought loss to West division rival Purdue. The Illini were without starting quarterback Brandon Peters after he tested positive for COVID-19, and turned to back up Caron Taylor against the Boilermakers. The Illini committed four turnovers which Purdue turned into 21 points and they were never able to recover. This weekend’s home matchup against Minnesota will be a good barometer for how good or bad Illinois will be this season.