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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 11 Recap

Michigan outlasts Penn State, Iowa sneaks past Minnesota and Rutgers notches an important road win.

Find Week 10’s rankings here.

1. (Last Week: 1) Ohio State (9-1), W - 59-31 vs. Purdue, Next Week: vs No. 7 Michigan State

The Buckeyes put on an offensive clinic this past weekend, scoring 45 points in the first half on their way to a 59-31 home win over Purdue. Quarterback C.J. Stroud continued to make his case for the Heisman and threw for 361 yards, five touchdowns and no picks in the win. As a team, the Buckeyes gained 624 total yards and had three receivers finish with over 85 receiving yards. Ohio State’s defense is still a work in progress, but Stroud and company look unstoppable at the moment on the offensive end. A pseudo playoff game is on deck this Saturday when No. 7 Michigan State will travel to Columbus for a top-10 matchup.

2. (2) Michigan State (9-1), W - 40-21 vs. Maryland, Next Week: at No. 4 Ohio State

The Spartans cruised to a win over Maryland on Saturday to stay in the College Football Playoff race. Sparty controlled the game from start to finish, totaling almost 36 minutes of time of possession, and rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns as a team. Quarterback Payton Thorne quietly continues to have an awesome season and threw for 287 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in the win. Michigan State’s College Football Playoff hopes hinge on the final two weeks of the season with games against Ohio State on the road and Penn State at home.

3. (3) Michigan (9-1), W - 21-17 at Penn State, Next Week: at Maryland

In the Big Ten’s game of the week, Michigan got a huge road win at Penn State to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive. Running back Hassan Haskins turned 31 carries into 156 rushing yards, while quarterback Cade McNamara threw for three touchdowns and no picks in the win. However, it was Michigan’s defense that made the difference in this one. The Wolverines did a good job not allowing explosive plays and finished with seven sacks as a team, including three from future first-round pick Aidan Hutchinson. If Michigan can get past Maryland this weekend, the season finale against rival Ohio State will be Jim Harbaugh’s biggest game during his time in Ann Arbor.

4. (5) Wisconsin (7-3), W - 35-7 vs. Northwestern, Next Week: vs. Nebraska

Freshman running back Braelon Allen stepped up big time in the Badgers’ first game without his backfield mate Chez Mellusi. Allen rushed for 173 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way in Wisconsin’s 35-7 win over Northwestern. Wisconsin’s defense was predictably dominant in this game, forcing four interceptions and tallying 12 tackles for loss. The Badgers have been rolling for over a month now behind the stellar play from Allen and perhaps the best defense in the country outside of Georgia. Paul Chryst and company will look to avoid a letdown spot when a frisky Nebraska team visits Camp Randall this Saturday.

5. (6) Iowa (8-2), W - 27-22 vs. Minnesota, Next Week: vs. Illinois

The Hawkeyes notched an important division win over Minnesota in Week 11 to keep pace with Wisconsin in the West. Iowa was outgained 409-277 in the game, but their defense did a great job slowing down Minnesota’s drives and forced the Gophers into four field goals. The Hawkeyes also forced a turnover on downs late in the fourth quarter, with Minnesota only needing a field goal to take the lead. Quarterback Alex Padilla filled in admirably for the injured Spencer Petras, and threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yard score to Charlie Jones in the second half. Iowa will need to win out against Illinois and Nebraska, and hope Wisconsin loses once more to earn a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game.

6. (4) Penn State (6-4), L - 21-17 vs. Michigan, Next Week: vs. Rutgers

After taking the lead late in the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions allowed a 47-yard passing touchdown to Michigan on the ensuing drive to let the game slip away in Happy Valley. Quarterback Sean Clifford was under pressure from a strong Michigan front seven all game, but still managed to throw for 205 yards and committed no turnovers. Similar to their loss against Ohio State, Penn State played Michigan tight throughout the afternoon but just couldn’t hit enough big plays on offense to secure the win. A winnable game against Rutgers is up next this weekend for the Nittany Lions.

7. (7) Purdue (6-4), L - 59-31 at Ohio State, Next Week: at Northwestern

Purdue couldn’t notch their third top-5 win of the season on Saturday, as Ohio State just had too much firepower for the Boilermakers. Purdue’s defense allowed 361 passing yards and 8.5 yards per rush, as the Buckeyes moved the ball at will in the game. The silver lining is that quarterback Aidan O’Connell continues to play great. The senior finished with 390 passing yards and four touchdowns in the loss, and has now thrown for nine touchdowns and zero interceptions in his past three games. The Boilermakers are already bowl eligible, but wins against Northwestern and Indiana to finish the season would give Purdue eight wins for the first time since 2007.

8. (8) Minnesota (6-4), L - 27-22 at Iowa, Next Week: at Indiana

The Golden Gophers had the ball for over 40 minutes and outgained Iowa by 132 total yards, but still weren’t able to pull out a win in Iowa City. Minnesota stalled out on five of their drives, going 3-for-4 on field goal attempts and had a turnover on downs in the fourth quarter. Running back Ky Thomas had a nice game, rushing for 126 yards but the Gophers struggled to find the end zone all afternoon, despite controlling time of possession. Minnesota will look to get back on track this weekend with a game against Indiana, a team that is still winless in conference play.

9. (11) Rutgers (5-5), W - 38-3 at Indiana, Next Week: at Penn State

Rutgers became one win away from bowl eligibility after a blowout road win at Indiana on Saturday afternoon. The Scarlet Knights forced six turnovers and held the Hoosiers to just 259 total yards in the win. Running back Isaih Pacheco led the way for Rutgers’ offense, rushing for 79 yards and two touchdowns. The Scarlet Knights will need a win at Penn State this weekend or against Maryland in the season finale to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2014.

10. (9) Maryland (5-5), L - 40-21 at Michigan State, Next Week: vs. No. 6 Michigan

The Terrapins were able to move the ball, but had trouble finishing drives in their loss at Michigan State this past weekend. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 350 and two touchdowns with the help of tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo, who finished with eight catches for 112 yards and both touchdowns. Through ten games, Maryland has proven they can throw the ball (third in the Big Ten in passing yards/game) but the defense still leaves a lot to be desired. The Terps will need a win against Michigan this weekend or against Rutgers in the season’s final week to become bowl eligible for the first time under head coach Mike Locksley.

11. (10) Illinois (4-6), BYE, Next Week: at No. 17 Iowa

The Illini had the week off and will travel to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes this upcoming Saturday.

12. (12) Nebraska (3-7), BYE, Next Week: at No. 15 Wisconsin

The Cornhuskers had a bye in Week 11 and will look to upset Wisconsin in Madison this weekend.

13. (13) Northwestern (3-7), L - 35-7 at Wisconsin, Next Week: vs. Purdue

Northwestern’s defense was gashed for 268 rushing yards in a blowout loss at Wisconsin this past weekend. On offense, the Wildcats could get nothing going against an elite Wisconsin defense. Both Andrew Marty (three INTs) and Ryan Hilinski (one INT) struggled under center, as the Wildcats turned it over four times in the loss. Even Northwestern’s best offensive player, running back Evan Hull, could do nothing against the Badgers and finished with just 21 yards on 12 carries. The Wildcats will host an explosive Purdue team this weekend in another game that could be lopsided.

14. (14) Indiana (2-8), L - 38-3 vs. Rutgers, Next Week: vs. Minnesota

Indiana’s season hit a new low on Saturday after their 38-3 blowout home loss to Rutgers. The Hoosiers could do nothing on offense and three different quarterbacks combined to throw for just 177 yards and two interceptions. Along with the two picks, Indiana also fumbled four times and gave Rutgers short field position all game. After starting the season ranked No. 17 in the country, the Hoosiers are still looking for their first conference win of the year and have been one of the most disappointing teams in the country this season.