The Big Ten went 12-2 in week one of the college football season. Ranked teams like Wisconsin, Penn State and Ohio cruised to wins while Michigan and Nebraska were tested early. The biggest upset of the weekend was Purdue’s 34-31 loss at Nevada.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes started their quest for the college football playoff with a 45-21 win over Florida Atlantic. Ohio State quickly put up 28 unanswered points in the first quarter and never looked back. Sophomore transfer quarterback Justin Fields put on a show in his debut, racking up four touchdown passes while amassing 234 passing yards. The Buckeyes face a stiffer test next week as Cincinnati visits the Horseshoe.
2. Michigan Wolverines
Michigan did not get off to the best start in its first game of the year against Middle Tennessee State. Senior quarterback Shea Patterson fumbled on the first play, which turned into a Middle Tennessee State touchdown. Michigan only led by 10 at the half, but pulled away in the second half. Patterson threw for three touchdowns despite the fumble to lead Michigan to a 40-21 win. Army visits the Big House next week.
3. Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes won handily against Miami (Ohio) on Saturday by a score of 38-14. Hawkeye senior quarterback Nate Stanley was sharp, throwing for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Michigan transfer tight end Oliver Martin caught his first touchdown pass, a nine-yard reception. The Hawkeyes have a home game against Rutgers next week.
4. Nebraska Huskers
The Huskers won 35-21 against South Alabama, despite sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez struggling. Martinez only threw for 178 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Martinez needs to play a lot better, otherwise the team simply won't have enough to compete with teams like Ohio State. On the flip side, the defense played well. Nebraska forced five turnovers, including a pick-six and a fumble recovery in the end zone. The Huskers travel to Boulder, Colorado this week looking for revenge against the Buffaloes.
5. Michigan State Spartans
The Spartans shut down Tulsa Saturday, holding the Golden Hurricanes to 80 total yards and -73 yards rushing. Michigan State forced three fumbles, including one for a touchdown. The concerning part of the game was Michigan State’s offense, which only scored one offensive touchdown. The Spartans will look to get their offense on track against Western Michigan on Saturday.
6. Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State throttled Idaho, winning 79-7. Junior quarterback Sean Clifford dominated in his first start, throwing for 280 yards and two touchdowns before he was taken out at halftime. The Nittany Lions defense was suffocating, only giving up 185 yards. Penn State has a home game against Buffalo next week.
7. Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers recorded a shutout against South Florida, winning 49-0. Heisman candidate Jonathan Taylor dominated the Bulls, rushing for 135 yards with four touchdowns. Wisconsin suffocated the South Florida offense, giving up 157 total yards and forcing three fumbles. Wisconsin takes on Central Michigan in its home opener Saturday.
8. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota narrowly beat South Dakota State 28-21. The Jackrabbits were clinging to a 21-20 lead in the fourth quarter until Winston DeLattiboudere recovered a fumble from South Dakota State quarterback J’Bore Gibbs at the South Dakota State 34-yard line. Minnesota put the game away when Mohamed Ibrahim scored a one-yard touchdown after the fumble. Minnesota heads west to take on Fresno State Saturday.
9. Northwestern Wildcats
Northwestern played a sloppy game at Stanford and its mistakes cost them in a 17-7 loss. The Wildcats turned the ball over four times while not capitalizing on Stanford’s mistakes. In the third quarter, Northwestern recovered a Stanford fumble and returned it to the Cardinal 21-yard line. They gained a yard in three plays and missed a 38-yard field goal. The Wildcats’ quarterback Hunter Johnson was inefficient, throwing two interceptions with only 55 passing yards. Backup TJ Green replaced Johnson, but suffered a foot injury in the third quarter and is out indefinitely. Northwestern faces UNLV in its home opener, then Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska in consecutive weeks.
10. Purdue Boilermakers
Purdue was the second Big Ten team to lose this week after falling to Nevada on the road. The Boilermakers were cruising, leading 31-17 after three quarters. That changed quickly, as Nevada scored 17 unanswered points to shock Purdue. Nevada redshirt freshman quarterback Carson Strong tied the game with 52 seconds left when he connected with wide receiver Elijah Woods for a 20-yard score. Nevada then picked off Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar with 32 seconds left in a tie game. This setup a chance for walk-on kicker Brandon Talton to kick a game-winning field goal. In a storybook ending, Talton made the go-ahead 56-yard field goal as time expired and was awarded a scholarship after the game. Purdue heads home for an SEC-Big Ten showdown against Vanderbilt.