Week 12 Big Ten Power Rankings Art

Only one unbeaten team remains in the Big Ten after Ohio State cruised to an easy win and Iowa handed Minnesota its first loss of the season. The division races are starting to heat up, as Ohio State and Penn State play Saturday to determine control of the Big Ten East. Minnesota is one game ahead of Wisconsin in the West and will face the Badgers in the final week of the regular season.  

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten)

The Buckeyes cruised to an easy win against Rutgers behind sophomore quarterback Justin Fields and junior running back J.K. Dobbins. Fields threw for 305 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Dobbins rushed for two touchdowns in the 56-21 win. Ohio State hosts Penn State Saturday in its biggest game of the season to this point. 

2. Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten)

Minnesota’s perfect season came to an end when it couldn’t complete the comeback against Iowa. The Golden Gophers were behind 20-6 at halftime but were able to cut the deficit to four after Rodney Smith rushed for a one-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Minnesota then forced Iowa to punt, but quarterback Tanner Morgan got hurt on the Gophers’ final drive, and the Hawkeyes forced a game-sealing interception on fourth down. The Golden Gophers will look to bounce back at Northwestern Saturday. 

3. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten)

Penn State managed to outlast a tough Indiana team in a 34-27 win. The Nittany Lions took a 27-14 lead with the help of a rushing and passing touchdown from quarterback Sean Clifford. Indiana was able to cut the lead to three points in the fourth quarter, but Penn State went on a nine-minute touchdown drive to retake a 10-point lead with a minute-and-a-half remaining. Penn State has a chance to take down undefeated Ohio State Saturday.   

4. Wisconsin Badgers (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten)

Nebraska kept up with Wisconsin early in the first half, but the Badgers took control by the end of the third quarter. Junior running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for over 200 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-21 win. The Badgers also used a kickoff return touchdown to siphon Nebraska's momentum after trailing early in the first quarter. Wisconsin hosts Purdue next.

5. Michigan Wolverines (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten)

The Wolverines dominated in-state rival Michigan State in a 44-10 win. The Spartans took an early 7-0 lead, but Michigan went on a 44-3 run to overpower Michigan State. Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson played his best game of the season, throwing for 384 yards and four touchdowns. The Wolverines go on the road to play Indiana next. 

6. Iowa Hawkeyes (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten)

The Hawkeyes pulled off another November home upset against a top-10 team, this time beating Minnesota. Iowa got off to a quick start behind quarterback Nate Stanley’s two touchdown passes in the first half to take a 20-6 halftime lead. The Hawkeyes were outscored 13-3 in the second half after Minnesota fought back. The defense came in clutch, however, in the biggest drive of the game, as Hawkeye defensive back Riley Moss picked off Minnesota backup quarterback Cole Kramer to seal the win. Iowa hosts Illinois Saturday.  

7. Indiana Hoosiers (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten)

Indiana gave Penn State all it could handle in Happy Valley, but could not complete the upset, losing 34-27. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey played well for the Hoosiers, tossing 371 yards and a touchdown along with two rushing touchdowns. Indiana outgained Penn State 462-371, but two costly turnovers led to 10 Penn State points. The Hoosiers also allowed Penn State to have a nine-minute drive to extend its lead to 10 points, which sealed the game for the Nittany Lions. Indiana hosts Michigan Saturday. 

8. Illinois Fighting Illini (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten)

Illinois was off this week and plays at Iowa Saturday. 

9. Michigan State Spartans (4-6, 2-6 Big Ten)

The struggles continue for Michigan State after being dominated by Michigan 44-10. Quarterback Brian Lewerke struggled, throwing for 166 yards and two interceptions. The Spartans only gained 220 total yards and were 2-13 on third downs. Michigan State only trailed by 10 at halftime but could not keep up with the Michigan offense in the second half. The Spartans will look to bounce back at Rutgers Saturday.   

10. Nebraska Huskers (4-6, 2-5 Big Ten)

Nebraska hung with Wisconsin throughout the first half and took an early 14-10 lead with nine minutes left in the second quarter. After that, it was all Wisconsin. The Badgers scored 24 unanswered points behind two field goals, a 55-yard touchdown pass and Jonathan Taylor’s 204 rushing yards. Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez played his best game in a while, recording a passing and rushing touchdown. The Huskers will look to get back in the win column against Maryland Saturday. 

sports@dailynebraskan.com