Week Three Big Ten Power Rankings

Two of the best teams in the Big Ten —  Michigan and Wisconsin — had byes this week. There was still plenty of excitement though, as Big Ten teams like Iowa, Penn State and Minnesota barely survived upset bids. Other teams like Michigan State, Maryland and Illinois were not so lucky.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0)

The Buckeyes played their first road game and Big Ten game against Indiana over the weekend. Indiana kept it close after the first quarter, trailing 7-3, but could not keep up. Ohio State scored 23 points in the second quarter and led 30-10 at halftime. Sophomore quarterback Justin Fields threw for three touchdowns while running backs J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague III rushed for over 100 yards in a 51-10 win. The Buckeyes host Maimi (OH) next week.

2. Wisconsin Badgers (2-0)

Wisconsin was off this week and will face Michigan in a top-15 matchup next weekend.

3. Michigan Wolverines (2-0)

Michigan had a bye but will look to prove their strength against Wisconsin Saturday.

4. Penn State Nittany Lions (3-0)

The Nittany Lions barely survived against Pittsburgh in their 100th meeting. The game was tied at 10 at halftime, but freshman running back Noah Cain scored on a 13-yard touchdown run to give Penn State a 17-10 lead in the third quarter. Pittsburgh had a chance to tie with less than five minutes left in the game. Instead, the Panthers decided to kick a field goal at the Penn State one-yard line and missed the 19-yard attempt. Pittsburgh’s last chance to tie the game fell short after quarterback Kenny Pickett’s pass was broken up by linebacker Cam Brown on the final snap. Penn State faces a road test at Maryland next Saturday.

5. Iowa Hawkeyes (3-0)

The Hawkeyes played their in-state rival Iowa State in Ames, Iowa and eked out a one-point win. They trailed 14-9 after the third quarter but took a one-point lead after quarterback Nate Stanley rushed for a one-yard touchdown. Iowa State then responded with a 26-yard field goal but Iowa then took another one-point lead after Keith Duncan made a 39-yard field goal with less than five minutes remaining. Iowa State had a chance to take the lead with two minutes left, but the ball hit defensive back Datrone Young during a punt and Iowa recovered it to seal the Hawkeyes win.

6. Michigan State Spartans (2-1) 

The Spartans suffered another upset loss to Arizona State, who beat them last year in Tempe. They were ahead 7-3 in the fourth quarter, but lost the lead after Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin ran it in from a yard out for the go-ahead touchdown. Michigan State was then able to get in position for a field goal and appeared to tie the game with six seconds left. Spartans kicker Matt Coghlin’s 42-yarder was nullified after Michigan State was flagged for having 12 men on the field. Coghlin went on to miss the game-tying 47-yard field goal, hooking it wide left. The Spartans dropped out of the top 25 after the loss and play a tough road game at Northwestern next.

7. Nebraska Huskers (2-1)

The Huskers bounced back after a heartbreaking loss to Colorado with a resounding 44-8 victory over Northern Illinois. Sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez threw for two touchdowns while junior running back Dedrick Mills rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown. Nebraska plays Illinois next on the road.

8. Maryland Terrapins (2-1)

The Terrapins entered the game ranked for the first time since 2013, but suffered an upset loss against Temple. Maryland could not get anything going offensively in the first half, only scoring two points. Maryland managed to take a 9-7 lead in the third and finished the quarter up 15-13. Temple regained the lead after quarterback Anthony Russo tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kenny Yeboah. Maryland almost came back to take the lead, but Temple stopped them on fourth and goal to complete the upset. Maryland hosts Penn State next.

9. Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-0) 

Minnesota barely survived another upset-minded FCS team in Georgia Southern at home, winning 35-32 on a late touchdown. Minnesota was up by 28-20 in the fourth quarter, but Georgia Southern took a 32-28 lead after linebacker Rashad Bryd recovered a fumble and returned it 44 yards to the house with less than four minutes left. Minnesota bounced back from the fumble and regained the lead after quarterback Tanner Morgan hit wide receiver Tyler Jonhson for a two-yard touchdown. The Golden Gophers will need to play sharper with a road date at Purdue up next.  

10. Northwestern Wildcats (1-1)

Northwestern captured a win in its home opener by beating UNLV 30-14. The game was close at the half, with Northwestern holding a 16-14 lead. Sophomore quarterback Hunter Johnson threw a 50-yard touchdown to JJ Jefferson to increase the lead, the first touchdown pass of Johnson’s career. Running back Drake Anderson then added a seven-yard touchdown run to seal Northwestern’s win with two minutes left in the fourth. The Wildcats host Michigan State next.  

sports@dailynebraskan.com