Written by Evan McShane (@veryreasonable)
Week two is in the books and there have been some shakeups in our Power Rankings.
Week 2 Power Rankings
1. Ohio State (2-0, 0-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 1
Defeated Cincinnati 42-0
The Buckeyes took care of business in dominating fashion against their in-state foe. After Ohio State controlled the first quarter with a 7-0 lead, they exploded for three touchdowns, two from JK Dobbins, to close the half up 28-0. The Buckeyes completed their shutout and added two more touchdowns in the second half. Quarterback Justin Fields is rounding into form. He had a hyper efficient day for Ohio State, completing 20-of-25 passes for 224 yards and four total touchdowns, two passing and two rushing. Dobbins finished with 141 yards on the ground and two touchdowns as the Buckeyes rushed for 270 yards as a team. Through two weeks, Ohio State looks like the most dominant team in the conference. With a new head coach in Ryan Day and first-time starting quarterback in Fields, the Buckeyes haven’t missed a beat.
Next Week: Ohio State vs. Indiana (Noon on FOX)
2. Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 3
Defeated Central Michigan 61-0
Wisconsin pitched their second straight shutout en route to a 61-0 victory over Central Michigan. The Badger defense held CMU to just 58 total yards of offense, 43 passing and 15 rushing. Wisconsin possessed the ball for 39 and a half minutes. Quarterback Jack Coan completed 26-of-33 passes for 363 yards for three touchdowns and no interceptions. Jonathan Taylor had three scores and 102 yards on just 19 carries. The Badgers finished the game just one yard shy of 600 yards of total offense. Wisconsin has the week off before hosting Michigan in what will be a very important game on September 21st. The Badgers have as good a chance as any team to win the Big Ten West, and until they surrender a point on defense, they might be the favorites.
Next Week: OFF
3. Iowa (2-0, 1-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 5
Defeated Rutgers 30-0
Iowa opened up the Big Ten season at home against a struggling Rutgers team. The Hawkeyes defense was remarkable, pitching a shutout and surrendering just 125 yards of offense on the day. The offense paced themselves with 438 total yards, led by quarterback Nate Stanley, who completed 16-of-28 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns. Iowa controlled the clock, possessing the ball for nearly 38 minutes. Through the first two weeks of the season, the Hawkeyes look as if they’ll have as good a chance as any team to earn a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game. Iowa will face stiffer competition next week as they face in-state rival Iowa State on the road. As the first Big Ten team with a conference win, Iowa finds themselves all the way up to third in this week’s power rankings.
Next Week: Iowa @ Iowa State (4pm on FS1)
4. Michigan State
Last Week’s Ranking: 4
Defeated Western Michigan 51-17
The Spartans put on a clinic at home despite sporting some ugly neon green accented uniforms. Quarterback Brian Lewerke eclipsed 300 yards passing with three touchdowns through the air. MSU rushed for 251 yards as a team with Elijah Collins racking up 192 by himself, including an explosive 58-yard scamper. Through three quarters, the vaunted Spartan defense only gave up one touchdown. Michigan State would hang on to win 51-17 in a contest where the offense looked much sharper than last week. The Spartans converted 7-of-10 third downs and rushed for over 7.4 yards-per-carry. Lewerke was efficient as well, netting 10 yards every time he attempted a pass. Next week, Michigan State hosts Arizona State where they’ll try to avenge last year’s brutal early-season loss out in the desert.
Next Week: Arizona State @ Michigan State (4pm on FOX)
5. Penn State
Last Week’s Ranking: 6
Defeated Buffalo 45-13
A shaky start for the Nittany Lions had fans awfully nervous at Beaver Stadium. Buffalo rallied in the second quarter with ten points and their defense was stout early on. Penn State trailed in the first half 10-7, however, they would explode for four touchdowns in the third quarter. Just over two minutes after halftime, Penn State returned an interception for a touchdown. Noah Cain would add a rushing touchdown and quarterback Sean Clifford would throw for two more to complete the route. PSU added ten more points while shutting out Buffalo in the final quarter. The Nittany Lions were outgained 429 yards to 357 despite the lopsided score. If Penn State wants to climb into the upper echelon of Big Ten teams, they will need to improve defensively. It can be tough to win conference games giving up that many yards.
Next Week: Pittsburgh @ Penn State (Noon on ABC)
6. Michigan (2-0, 0-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 2
Defeated Army 24-21 2OT
Michigan had quite the scare in Ann Arbor against Army. The Wolverines did themselves no favors, fumbling the ball four times and losing three of them. Army dominated in the run game, gaining 200 yards on an impressive 61 attempts. Michigan couldn’t assert themselves as the more talented team. Army’s defense was stout, holding Michigan to just 2.4 yards-per-carry. Quarterback Shea Patterson completed 19-of-29 passes with a quarterback rating of just 59.6. Michigan is lucky to escape Saturday with a win. Army had several chances to win, including a 50-yard field goal attempt as time expired that would’ve won the game. They got the job done in overtime, but this close call drops the Wolverines several spot in the power rankings. Michigan’s offense has a lot to prove before it can claim status as one of the Big Ten’s elite teams
Next Week: OFF
7. Maryland (2-0, 0-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 10
Defeated Syracuse 63-20
By the end of the day Saturday, Maryland’s offense has been one of the best in the country. One week after racking up 79 points, the Terrapins dropped 63 on a ranked Syracuse team at home. Quarterback Josh Jackson threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns and Javon Leake rushed for two touchdowns and over 100 yards. Maryland’s offense exploded to start the game, scoring three touchdowns in each of the first two quarters to carry a 42-13 lead into halftime. From there, the Terps added to their lead and closed out a 63-20 victory. While quarterback play was somewhat of a question mark heading into the season, Josh Jackson has surpassed expectations. If Maryland’s offense continues its dominance, they will be a tough team to beat.
Next Week: Maryland @ Temple (Noon on CBS Sports Network)
Last Week’s Ranking: 7
Defeated Fresno State 38-35 2OT
Minnesota won a nail biter late at night out west against Fresno State. The two teams were next and neck all night. Fresno pulled ahead with under six minutes remaining and led by a touchdown. On the ensuing drive, Minnesota methodically drove 59 plays down the field in five minutes, tying the game with 45 seconds left on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Morgan to Chris Autumn-Bell. After each team scored a touchdown, the Gophers went ahead with a field goal in the second overtime. Fresno could have won the game with a touchdown, but Antoine Winfield intercepted a pass headed for the end zone and secured the win for Minnesota. The Gophers get one home game against Georgia Southern and a bye week before opening Big Ten play on September 28th.
Next Week: Georgia Southern @ Minnesota (3:30pm on BTN)
9. Indiana (2-0, 0-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 9
Defeated Eastern Illinois 52-0
The Hoosiers looked sharp at home against a heavily overmatched Eastern Illinois team. Indiana jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead and completed the shutout, winning 52-0. Quarterback Michael Penix was efficient on the day, completing 14-of-20 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. In the opening half, Indiana Stevie Scott ran for 61 yards with a score and Cole Gest added a touchdown run of his own. Penix paced the Hoosiers out to a 28-0 lead when Peyton Ramsey was subbed in. Ramsey continued Indiana’s efficient passing game, completing 13-of-14 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns, including an impressive 64-yard run after the catch by Ronnie Walker Jr. Donavan Hale notched his first career 100-yard game and added a 43-yard touchdown catch. Indiana was dominant on defense as well, holding EIU to just 116 yards of total offense. The Hoosiers will hope to carry this confidence into next week when the host the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Next Week: Ohio State @ Indiana (Noon on FOX)
Last Week’s Ranking: 8
Lost to Colorado 34-31 OT
Nebraska lost an absolute heartbreaker at Colorado in the much-anticipated rivalry game. The Huskers came out looking sharp and fully in control, taking a commanding 17-0 lead into the half. Quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 16-of-26 passes for 290 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Colorado chipped away with one touchdown in the third quarter and then the madness began. The Cornhuskers fought to maintain their lead, but their defense fell apart when the fourth quarter began with a 96-yard touchdown pass from Colorado QB Steven Montez. Nebraska surrendered a touchdown in the final minute and failed to score in overtime, losing by one field goal. Once again, high hopes were met with early disappointment for Nebraska. The Huskers have one more non-conference game at home against Northern Illinois before they kick off their Big Ten season.
Next Week: Northern Illinois @ Nebraska (8pm on FS1)
11. Purdue (1-1, 0-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 13
Defeated Vanderbilt 42-24
One week after a meltdown loss against Nevada, the Boilermakers bounced back at home against Vanderbilt. The two teams were neck and neck after the first half, with Purdue leading 14-10. Quarterback Elijah Sindelar ramped up his game in the second half, throwing three touchdowns and running for another, leading Purdue to a comfortable victory. Sindelar finished with 509 yards passing on the day. The Boilers couldn’t get their run game going at all, totaling just 31 yards on 18 carries; but it didn’t matter. Vanderbilt had 491 yards of total offense, but it wasn’t enough to overcome their 13 penalties for 100 yards and the Purdue passing attack. The Boilermakers will host TCU next week before beginning conference play.
Next Week: TCU @ Purdue (7:30pm on FS1)
12. Illinois (2-0, 0-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 11
Defeated UConn 31-23
Illinois picked up a much-needed road win in Connecticut Saturday. After falling behind early 13-0, Illinois stormed back to score 24 unanswered points before halftime. The Fighting Illini would hang on in the second half for a 31-23 victory. Quarterback Brandon Peters had a big day with four touchdown passes on 225 yards. Illinois out-gained UConn 355 yards to 285. Each team turned the ball over three times, and Illinois’ nine penalties did them no favors. Lovie Smith’s squad is thrilled to be 2-0 but the Fighting Illini will have to limit their mistakes, most notably turnovers and penalties, before they enter conference play. Illinois has once more non-conference game against Eastern Michigan next week before opening Big Ten play.
Next Week: Eastern Michigan @ Illinois (Noon on BTN)
13. Northwestern (0-1, 0-0)
Last Week’s Ranking: 12
The Wildcats were the only Big Ten team with a bye week. As the only team in the conference without a win, the Wildcats remain one spot above Rutgers in this week’s power rankings.
Next Week: UNLV @ Northwestern (3:30pm on BTN)
14. Rutgers (1-1, 0-1)
Last Week’s Ranking: 14
Lost to Iowa 30-0
Rutgers could not get anything going on the road against Iowa on Saturday, failing to score a point. The Scarlet Knight only manage to complete nine passes on the day for an abysmal 41 yards. The running game was not much better as Rutgers averaged 3.7 yards-per-carry for a total of 84 yards. The time of possession battle was extremely lopsided, with Iowa dominating nearly 38 minutes to Rutgers’ 22. The defense couldn’t stop the Hawkeyes, allowing 30 points and 438 yards of offense. Chris Ash’s seat will get hotter if his team continues to flounder. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see a scenario where the Scarlet Knights climb out of the bottom spot of our power rankings. Rutgers has next week off before facing a stout Boston College the following week at home.
Next Week: OFF