Find Week 6’s rankings here.
1. (Last Week: 1) Ohio State (5-0), W - 52-12 at Michigan St., Next Week: vs. Michigan
After a week off due to positive coronavirus cases in their program, Ohio State destroyed Michigan State in East Lansing this past weekend. The Buckeyes didn’t miss a beat, despite playing Saturday’s game without head coach Ryan Day and 17 scholarship players, including four starters on the offensive line. Quarterback Justin Fields threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns, while also having a monster day on the ground (104 rushing yards, two TDs). The Buckeyes’ defense completely stifled the Spartans, forcing four turnovers (two INTs, two fumbles) and scoring a touchdown off of one of those interceptions. As of Tuesday, Ohio State’s game against rival Michigan this upcoming weekend is still on, even as the Wolverines continue to deal with their own coronavirus issues.
2. (2) Indiana (6-1), W - 14-6 at Wisconsin, Next Week: vs. Purdue
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in this shortened, unpredictable Big Ten season, it’s that Indiana is clearly the second best team in the conference. The Hoosiers came up with a defensive stop in the final minute that secured the victory and snapped a ten game losing streak against Wisconsin. Quarterback Jack Tuttle filled in admirably in replace of injured starter Michael Penix Jr., throwing for two touchdowns and committing no turnovers. Indiana was actually outgained 342 to 217 by the Badgers, but two turnovers (one INT, one fumble) and a game-winning fourth down stop with 46 seconds left sealed the win for the Hoosiers. Tom Allen and company will look to cap off a dream season with a win over in-state rival Purdue this Saturday.
Indiana players had to hype up their coach up after upsetting No. 16 Wisconsin ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ZGczU6ceLF— ESPN (@espn) December 6, 2020
3. (3) Northwestern (5-1), DNP, Next Week: vs. Illinois
Northwestern’s game against Minnesota was canceled over the weekend, due to positive coronavirus cases in the Gophers’ program. The Wildcats will look to keep the Land of Lincoln trophy in Evanston with a win over Illinois this upcoming Saturday as they have already clinched a berth in the Big Ten Championship game.
4. (5) Iowa (5-2), W - 35-21 at Illinois, Next Week: vs. No. 16 Wisconsin
Iowa erased an early 14-0 deficit and scored 35 unanswered points to defeat Illinois this past weekend. Quarterback Spencer Petras had his best game of the season, throwing for 220 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions in the win. Running back Tyler Goodson had another productive day on the ground, finishing with 92 rushing yards on 19 carriers. The sophomore has now rushed for 75+ rushing yards in six of seven games this season. The Hawkeyes will look to win their sixth straight game when they host West Division rival Wisconsin this upcoming weekend.
5. (4) Wisconsin (2-2), L - 14-6 vs. Indiana, Next Week: at No. 19 Iowa
The Badgers could only muster two field goals in their home loss to Indiana this past weekend. Wisconsin outgained Indiana but were unable to turn yards into points and couldn’t find the end zone against an impressive Hoosiers defense. Freshman quarterback Graham Mertz had two turnovers (one INT, one fumble), including a fumble that turned into a touchdown for Indiana. The Badgers were limited with offensive weapons, as they were without their top wide receiver in Danny Davis III and lost receiver Kendric Pryor to an upper-body injury in the first half. Wisconsin’s defense played well, but the Badgers just weren’t able to convert in the red zone and will need to play better on the offensive end if they want a chance to beat a solid Iowa team this Saturday.
6. (8) Maryland (2-2), DNP Next Week: vs. Rutgers
Maryland’s game against Michigan was canceled over the weekend, due to positive coronavirus cases in the Wolverines’ program. The Terrapins will return to the field when they host Rutgers this upcoming weekend.
7. (14) Nebraska (2-4), W - 37-27 at Purdue, Next Week: vs. Minnesota
The Cornhuskers jump seven spots this week after a 10-point road win at Purdue. Quarterback Adrian Martinez has taken the reins under center and had his best game of the season, throwing for 242 yards and a touchdown while adding 45 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Nebraska’s defense also showed signs of life, allowing an impressive negative two rushing yards, notching three sacks and blocking a punt that set up the Cornhuskers for a touchdown. Like most teams in the Big Ten this year, Nebraska has been up and down, but Martinez’s performance has to have Cornhuskers fans feeling optimistic heading into their matchup against Minnesota this weekend.
#Huskers QB Adrian Martinez the past two weeks:— Parker Gabriel (@HuskerExtraPG) December 5, 2020
41/50, 416, TD
Plus 73 rushing yards and 3 TDs.
8. (13) Penn State (2-5), W - 23-7 at Rutgers, Next Week: vs. Michigan St.
Penn State won their second straight game on Saturday, behind a strong performance from their defense. The Nittany Lions came up with three fourth down stops and allowed just 205 total yards of offense in a dominating performance. Quarterback Sean Clifford finally seems to have turned the corner after a shaky start to the season, and threw for 133 yards and a touchdown in the win. The Nittany Lions will look to finish their disappointing season on a high note with a home win over Michigan State this Saturday.
9. (6) Michigan State (2-4), L - 52-12 vs. Ohio St., Next Week: at Penn St.
The Spartans were completely overwhelmed in a 40-point loss to Ohio State on Saturday. Mel Tucker’s squad was outgained 521 to 261 and had no answer for the Buckeyes’ high-powered offense. Quarterback Rocky Lombardi struggled before leaving Saturday’s game with a head injury, and backup Payton Thorne was uninspiring in relief (147 yards, one INT). Outside of a marquee win over Northwestern, the Spartans have been a wildly inconsistent team in Tucker’s first year at the helm.
10. (7) Purdue (2-4), L - 37-27 vs. Nebraska, Next Week: at No. 12 Indiana
After starting the season 2-0, the Boilermakers are reeling after dropping their fourth straight game with a 37-27 home loss to Nebraska. Purdue continues to have a potent passing offense, but their is not much else to get excited about with this team. Quarterback Jack Plummer started his third straight game and threw for 334 and three touchdowns in the loss. Purdue’s defense is as porous as it gets and allowed 27 first half points to the Cornhuskers. One bright spot in another wise forgetful season has been wide receiver David Bell, who finished Saturday’s game with 10 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown. Bell now leads the Big Ten in receptions and receiving touchdowns, and ranks second in receiving yards. The Boilermakers will look to spoil in-state rival Indiana’s special season with a win this upcoming Saturday.
DAVID BELL 89 YARDS— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 5, 2020
Purdue coming back...
11. (9) Michigan (2-4), DNP, Next Week: at No. 4 Ohio St.
The Wolverines were forced to cancel their game against Maryland due to positive coronavirus cases in their program. As of Tuesday morning, Michigan’s game against Ohio State has not been canceled yet and there is optimism the game is played.
12. (11) Rutgers (2-5), L - 23-7 vs. Penn St., Next Week: at Maryland
The Scarlet Knights drop just one spot this week after being competitive against a far more talented Penn State team. Gone are the days of Rutgers being a doormat in the Big Ten, but it was still a rough day at the office for Greg Schiano and his team. The Scarlet Knights gained just 205 yards of total offense and had only 12 first downs in the loss. Rutgers’ defense tried their best to keep the game close, forcing two turnovers (one INT, one fumble) but Penn State’s rushing attack with running backs Keyvone Lee (95 yards) and Devyn Ford (65 yards) proved to be too much. The Scarlet Knights will travel to College Park this weekend to play a beatable Maryland squad.
13. (10) Illinois (2-4), L - 35-21 vs. Iowa, Next Week: at No. 14 Northwestern
The Illini jumped out to a 14-0 lead on Iowa, before allowing 35 unanswered points in a two touchdown loss to the Hawkeyes on Saturday. Quarterback Brandon Peters had a pedestrian performance under center (116 passing yards, 2TDs) before being pulled in the fourth quarter for backup Isaiah Williams. Illinois’ defense kept Iowa’s passing attack in check, but struggled to keep the Hawkeyes out of the end zone, allowing three second half touchdowns. The Illini will look to spoil Northwestern’s season with a win in Evanston this upcoming Saturday.
14. (12) Minnesota (2-3), DNP, Next Week: at Nebraska
After the Gophers were forced to cancel a second straight game due to positive coronavirus cases, they fall to last in the power rankings this week. Minnesota has resumed practicing this week and as of Tuesday morning are on track to play their game against Nebraska this upcoming weekend.