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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 4

Minnesota crushes Michigan State, Michigan passes their first test of the season and Ohio State rolls.

Find Week 3 rankings here.

1. (Last Week: 1) Ohio State (4-0), W - 52-21 vs. Wisconsin, Next Week: vs. Rutgers

The Buckeyes were never tested in their matchup with Wisconsin, as they jumped out to a 31-7 halftime lead on the way to a blowout win. Quarterback C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes moved the ball at will, with the sophomore Heisman candidate throwing for 281 yards and five touchdowns in the game. Ohio State’s significant talent advantage at the skill positions was on full display Saturday night. Ryan Day’s squad should keep it rolling when Rutgers comes to town this weekend.

2. (3) Michigan (4-0), W - 34-27 vs. Maryland, Next Week: at Iowa

After an easy non-conference schedule, the Wolverines were tested by an improved Maryland team on Saturday but came away with the win. Running back Blake Corum had a career day, rushing for 243 yards and two touchdowns to lead the way for Michigan’s offense. The Wolverines survived their first real challenge of the season but will hit the road for the first time this weekend when they travel to Iowa City.

3. (2) Penn State (4-0), W - 33-14 vs. Central Michigan, Next Week: vs. Northwestern

The Nittany Lions took care of business on Saturday with an uneventful win over Central Michigan. Quarterback Sean Clifford threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another in a confidence-building performance for the senior. The Chippewas were able to move the ball a bit in the first half, but Penn State forced four turnovers (2 fumbles, 2 INTs) and held CMU scoreless in the second half. The Nittany Lions are 25-point favorites for their home matchup against Northwestern tomorrow afternoon.

4. (4) Minnesota (4-0), W - 34-7 at Michigan State, Next Week: vs. Purdue

Minnesota is for real. After three favorable non-conference games at home, the Gophers went on the road for the first time and dominated Michigan State. Quarterback Tanner Morgan threw all over the Spartans, completing 23 of 26 passes for 268 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. Minnesota controlled this game from start to finish and are the clear favorite to win the West division as we head into October.

5. (5) Maryland (3-1), L - 34-27 at Michigan, Next Week: vs. Michigan State

Maryland stays put this week after a hard fought road loss to Michigan on Saturday afternoon. The Terps played from behind all game after the Wolverines scored an immediate touchdown following Maryland’s muffed opening kickoff. Mike Locksley’s team never stopped fighting in Ann Arbor and got to within five points in the fourth quarter. However, the Terps just couldn’t get enough stops on defense and quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw a back-breaking interception late in the fourth. Maryland wasn’t able to get it done on Saturday, but this effort proved the Terps are much improved from a season ago and perhaps the third-best team in the East.

6. (10) Illinois (3-1), W - 31-0 vs. Chattanooga, Next Week: at Wisconsin

With so many Big Ten teams losing this week, Illinois ends up being the beneficiary in these rankings. The Illini move up four spots after blowing out a very good FCS team in Chattanooga last Thursday night. Illinois’ defense set the tone in this one, holding the Mocs to just 142 total yards and picking off two passes in the shutout win.

Running back Chase Brown rushed for 100-plus yards for the fourth straight game, but the most encouraging news for Illini fans was the play of quarterback Tommy DeVito. The senior threw for 332 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in his best performance of the season. This Illini team has a real chance to beat Wisconsin in Madison this weekend.

7. (12) Iowa (3-1), W - 27-10 at Rutgers, Next Week: vs. No. 4 Michigan

Turnovers were the key to Iowa’s win over Rutgers this past weekend. The Hawkeyes had three takeaways in the game (2 INTs, 1 fumble) including a pick six and a fumble recovery touchdown. Iowa’s offense struggled yet again, as quarterback Spencer Petras completed just 11 passes and the Hawkeyes rushed for a lackluster 3.4 yards per carry. Kirk Ferentz and company will host Michigan this weekend...anything can happen at Kinnick Stadium, but it’s hard to see the Hawkeyes being able to score enough to win that one.

8. (7) Wisconsin (2-2), L - 52-21 at Ohio State, Next Week: vs. Illinois

The Badgers looked completely overmatched against Ohio State on Saturday night and had no answers for the Buckeyes’ offensive onslaught. Jim Leonhard’s defense allowed points on Ohio State’s first five drives and surrendered 539 total yards of offense. Graham Mertz reverted back to bad habits, throwing a costly pick on Wisconsin’s first possession and lacking pocket awareness throughout the night. The lone bright spot was Braelon Allen (165 rushing yards, 75-yard TD run), who continues to play like one of the best running backs in the country. The Badgers likely have better days ahead this season but they can no longer be considered the favorite to win the West.

9. (11) Purdue (2-2), W - 28-26 vs. Florida Atlantic, Next Week: at No. 21 Minnesota

The Boilermakers survived an upset bid from Florida Atlantic, as they held on for a win without starting quarterback Aidan O’Connell. Purdue was outgained 420-354 in the game but backup signal caller Austin Burton made just enough plays to lead the Boilermakers to the win. Jeff Brohm’s team will need O’Connell back under center this weekend if they want any chance to beat Minnesota on the road.

10. (6) Michigan State (2-2), L - 34-7 vs. Minnesota, Next Week: at Maryland

The Spartans tumble four spots after their blowout home loss to Minnesota on Saturday afternoon. Michigan State continued their early-season struggles on defense, allowing 508 total yards and 32 first downs to the Gophers. Mel Tucker’s team also struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball, as the Spartans committed three turnovers (2 INTs, 1 fumble) and were held scoreless until their final possession of the game. A tricky road matchup against Maryland is up next for Sparty this weekend.

11. (8) Rutgers (3-1), L - 27-10 vs. Iowa, Next Week: at No. 3 Ohio State

The Scarlet Knights committed three turnovers and struggled to score points in their home loss to Iowa. Quarterback Evan Simon threw two picks, while Rutgers rushed for just 2.5 yards per carry as a team in the loss. The Scarlet Knights will need a miracle to beat Ohio State in Columbus tomorrow afternoon.

12. (9) Indiana (3-1), L - 45-24 at Cincinnati, Next Week: at Nebraska

The Hoosiers allowed 38 first half points and could never get back in the game, as they suffered their first loss of the season at Cincinnati. Indiana was carved up through the air all afternoon and allowed 354 passing yards in the loss. Quarterback Connor Bazelak was sacked five times and the Hoosiers had three turnovers (2 INTs, 1 fumble) as a team in a mistake-riddled offensive performance. Tom Allen’s team will travel to Lincoln tomorrow night in an important game for Indiana’s quest to become bowl eligible.

13. (13) Northwestern (1-3), L - 17-14 vs. Miami (OH), Next Week: at No. 11 Penn State

Northwestern’s Week 0 win over Nebraska is the only thing keeping them above the Cornhuskers in these rankings at this point. The Wildcats have now lost three straight games, including back-to-back losses to FCS Southern Illinois and a MAC team. Miami (OH) escaped Evanston with a win this past weekend thanks to a costly fumble by Northwestern and a strong defensive effort. Star running back Evan Hull was held largely in check, as he finished with just 62 rushing yards in the loss. Things don’t get any easier for Pat Fitzgerald and company, as they travel to Happy Valley this weekend to take on Penn State.

14. (14) Nebraska (1-3), BYE, Next Week: vs. Indiana

After a tumultuous first month of the season, the Cornhuskers had a much-needed bye last week. They turn their attention to Indiana this weekend in a winnable game that should have lots of scoring.