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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 8 Recap

Illinois outlasts Penn State in nine overtimes, Ohio State dominates Indiana and Wisconsin shuts down newly-ranked Purdue.

Find Week 7’s rankings here.

1. (Last Week: 1) Michigan (7-0), W - 33-7 vs. Northwestern, Next Week: at No. 8 Michigan State

Michigan took care of business this past weekend, running all over Northwestern on their way to a 33-7 win. Running backs Blake Corum (119 yards, two TDs) and Hassan Haskins (110 yards, two TDs) both had huge games, while the Wolverines logged over 39 minutes in time of possession. Michigan’s defense shutdown a lackluster Northwestern offense, holding the Wildcats scoreless in the second half and surrendering just 233 total yards.

Led by an elite rushing attack on offense and a strong front seven on defense, this Michigan team is very reminiscent of some of Jim Harbaugh’s most successful Stanford teams. The Wolverines avoided the trap game loss, something Iowa couldn’t do, and will now get ready for in-state rival Michigan State this upcoming weekend.

2. (3) Ohio State (6-1), W - 54-7 at Indiana, Next Week: vs. No. 20 Penn State

The Buckeyes completely overwhelmed Indiana on Saturday night on their way to a 54-7 win in Bloomington. Ohio State’s offense is perhaps the best in the country and the Buckeyes have now scored 50+ points in four straight weeks. Quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 266 yards, four touchdowns and no picks in the win, as he continued to pad his stats for a run at the Heisman. The Buckeyes’ defense keeps getting better with each week and held Indiana to just 128 total yards and finished with five sacks. Ohio State will look to keep it rolling this weekend when No. 20 Penn State visits Columbus.

3. (4) Michigan State (7-0), BYE, Next Week: vs. No. 6 Michigan

The Spartans had a bye this past week. Mel Tucker’s team will face their toughest challenge yet this season when they host No. 6 Michigan on Saturday.

4. (5) Iowa (6-1), BYE, Next Week: at Wisconsin

After their first loss of the season to Purdue two weeks ago, the Hawkeyes had last week off. They will travel to Madison to take on Wisconsin this weekend in a crucial game for the Big Ten West division race.

5. (2) Penn State (5-2), L - 20-18 9OT vs. Illinois, Next Week: at No. 5 Ohio State

The Nittany Lions were tripped up by Illinois on Saturday in a wild, nine overtime, game in Happy Valley. Quarterback Sean Clifford was still clearly hampered by an injury suffered in the Iowa game and completed 19-of-34 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown in the loss. The running game took almost no pressure off Clifford, as the Nittany Lions mustered only 62 rushing yards and 2.1 yards per carry. Penn State’s defense forced three turnovers but was gashed on the ground and allowed 357 rushing yards in the loss. The Nittany Lions will look to make up for this loss with a win at No. 5 Ohio State on Saturday.

6. (7) Wisconsin (4-3), W - 30-13 at Purdue, Next Week: vs. No. 9 Iowa

Slowly but surely the Badgers are improving on the offensive end, and ran all over the Boilermakers in a 30-13 win. Running backs Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen rushed for 149 and 140 yards respectively, as the Badgers rushed for 5.7 yards per carry as a team. After a slow start to the season, Wisconsin’s offensive line completely dominated Purdue’s front seven in the win. Quarterback Graham Mertz only threw the ball eight times and finished with 52 passing yards and a fumble in the game.

Wisconsin’s defense was rolling on all cylinders on Saturday, forcing five turnovers (three INTs, two fumbles) and registering six sacks, 3.5 of them by linebacker Leo Chenal. The Badgers still have a long way to go with their passing attack, but with an elite defense and improving run game, they are right in the mix to win the Big Ten West. A huge matchup against No. 9 Iowa is on deck this weekend back home at Camp Randall Stadium.

7. (8) Minnesota (5-2), W - 34-16 vs. Maryland, Next Week: at Northwestern

Minnesota cruised to a home win over Maryland on Saturday behind a strong rushing performance. The Gophers ran the ball 56 times for 326 yards and four touchdowns as a team. Freshman running backs Ky Thomas (139 yards, one TD) and Mar’Keise Irving (105 yards, one TD) led the way and became the fourth and fifth different 100-yard rushers this season for the Gophers. Minnesota has bounced back nicely from their loss to Bowling Green, having won three straight, and suddenly control their own destiny in the Big Ten West.

8. (6) Purdue (4-3), L - 30-13 vs. Wisconsin, Next Week: at Nebraska

Coming off a massive upset at Iowa, the Boilermakers couldn’t get past Wisconsin on Saturday and lost their 15th straight game to the Badgers. Purdue’s front seven was pushed around all day by Wisconsin’s offensive line and the Boilermakers allowed 290 yards on the ground. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell struggled mightily against a dominant Wisconsin defense and threw three interceptions in the loss. Tight end Payne Durham was the only player that really got it going for Purdue, as the junior hauled in nine catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. The Boilermakers still have a real shot to become bowl eligible this season, but a win at Nebraska this weekend is much-needed.

9. (9) Maryland (4-3), L - 34-16 at Minnesota, Next Week: vs. Indiana

Maryland allowed 326 rushing yards and was dominated in the trenches in their 34-16 loss at Minnesota in Week 8. On the offensive end, quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa had one of his worst games of the season, throwing for only 189 yards and one touchdown, while the Terps rushed for a measly 79 yards as a team. Mike Locksley’s team also shot themselves in the foot with eight penalties for 79 yards in the loss. The Terrapins have now lost three straight conference games and their matchup against Indiana this upcoming weekend has suddenly become must-win in order to get their season back on track.

10. (10) Nebraska (3-5), BYE, Next Week: vs. Purdue

The Cornhuskers had a bye in Week 8. Scott Frost and company will host Purdue this upcoming weekend in a West division matchup.

11. (14) Illinois (3-5), W - 20-18 9OT at Penn State, Next Week: vs. Rutgers

The Illini got a huge road win in Bret Bielema’s first year at the helm on Saturday, outlasting No. 7 Penn State in nine overtimes. Illinois’ rushing attack led the way, as running backs Chase Brown (223 rushing yards, one TD) and Joshua McCray (142 rushing yards) both had monster games on the ground. The Illini ran the ball 67 times in the game and finished with over 36 minutes in time of possession. With the new overtime rules in effect, where teams have to attempt two point conversions starting in the third overtime, Illinois’ defense came up with a number of huge stops down the stretch. This was a signature win for Bielema and the Illini, and they’ll look to avoid a letdown spot against a struggling Rutgers team this upcoming weekend.

12. (11) Northwestern (3-4), L - 33-7 at Michigan, Next Week: vs. Minnesota

The Wildcats simply had no answer for Michigan’s rushing attack in their 33-7 loss at The Big House on Saturday. Northwestern allowed 294 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground, as Michigan burned clock and slowly controlled the game from start to finish. Quarterback Ryan Hilinski played poorly in a tough road environment, completing less than 50% of his passes for just 114 yards and an interception. Running back Evan Hull was the lone bright spot for the Wildcats in this one, rushing for 81 yards, almost all of which came came on a 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Wildcats will host Minnesota in a West division battle this upcoming Saturday.

13. (13) Rutgers (3-4), BYE, Next Week: at Illinois

After losing four straight conference games, Rutgers had a much-needed bye last week. They will travel to play Illinois in a must-win game for the Scarlet Knights’ bowl eligibility chances.

14. (12) Indiana (2-5), L - 54-7 vs. Ohio State, Next Week: at Maryland

Indiana’s nightmare season continued this past weekend after a 54-7 blowout loss to Ohio State on Saturday night. The Hoosiers had a 75-yard touchdown drive on their opening possession, but never scored again and also lost starting quarterback Jack Tuttle to injury on that opening drive. They could muster only 53 total yards the rest of the game and had just ten first downs in the loss. On the defensive side of the ball, the Hoosiers simply had no answer for Ohio State’s explosive skill position players and allowed 44 points in the first half alone. Indiana will look to snap a three game losing streak when they travel to Maryland this weekend.