Big Ten Football: Power Ranking Top 10 Team Performances from Week 2
Primetime under the lights in a raucous Big House, Michigan vanquished Notre Dame for the biggest Big Ten Conference win of Week 2.
The Wolverines announced their presence as league title contender in the win, but the boys in blue weren't the only ones to make a statement over the weekend.
Northwestern, Illinois and Nebraska all won big over upset-minded foes, while Ohio State looked strong even through an injury to star field general Braxton Miller.
Wisconsin was dominant for the second week in a row, as the Badgers are out to prove that they won't regress after the departure of Bret Bielema.
While these programs all notched convincing wins, a few Big Ten clubs weren't as strong against frail competition.
Off Pace: Indiana, Purdue
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Indiana was upset by Navy and Purdue barely edged Indiana State, leaving the duo off the pace in the Big Ten in Week 2.
The Hoosiers couldn't stop a nose bleed Saturday, as Navy pounded out 444 yards on the ground in the 41-35 upset.
The Midshipmen averaged 6.3 yards per rush off 70 attempts. It was pretty obvious that Navy was going to keep the ball on the ground, but Indiana still couldn't muster an adequate defense.
Meanwhile, Purdue needed an interception with less than 20 seconds left in the game to prevent a comeback from Indiana State and escape with a 20-14 win.
The Boilermakers were outperformed offensively by the Sycamores, gaining just 284 yards of total offense compared to 295 from their opponent.
Don't place any bets on either to win the Big Ten title.
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Iowa looked solid early in a 28-14 win over Missouri State, but appeared to lose focus in the fourth quarter and allow the Bears back in the game.
The Hawkeyes had a strong offensive output thanks to the running of Mark Weisman, who gained 180 yards on the ground and reached the end zone twice.
Quarterback Jake Rudock also notched two rushing scores, including one to give Iowa a bit of breathing room in the fourth quarter.
However, the Hawkeyes did see their lead fall to just seven points, 21-14, in the fourth quarter, which is much too close for comfort against an FCS opponent.
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Minnesota played well on all three sides of the ball in its road win over New Mexico State.
The Golden Gophers notched touchdowns off a punt return, fumble return and runs from three different players.
Thanks to the balanced effort, they cruised to a 44-21 win and moved to 2-0 on the season.
Big Ten play will kick off Sept. 28 for the Gophers when they take on rival Iowa.
8. Michigan State
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In one of the sloppiest games of the day, Michigan State topped South Florida 21-6, as five different quarterbacks took snaps between the two teams.
No single player for either team eclipsed 100 yards through the air or on the ground, while MSU's Andrew Maxwell notched a team-high 40 passing yards.
The only thing saving the Spartans from the Week 2 Big Ten dumpster is their defense, which played remarkably well.
MSU held USF to just 155 yards: 66 passing and 89 rushing. Most impressively, the Spartans held the Bulls to just one third-down conversion in 13 tries.
7. Penn State
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Penn State and freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg played great against a weak opponent in Eastern Michigan.
Competition aside, the Nittany Lions were balanced offensively and strong on defense in the 45-7 win.
PSU held EMU to just 183 total yards, including 61 on the ground.
On the other side of the ball, Hackenberg exploded for a Penn State freshman record of 311 yards and a touchdown. His favorite target, Allen Robinson, accumulated more than 100 receiving yards and a touchdown for the second straight week.
Meanwhile, running backs Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch each tallied 108 yards rushing. Belton had two touchdowns and Lynch had one, while Zach Zwinak added two scores.
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Illinois played a great game against a tough opponent in Cincinnati, winning 45-17.
Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was outstanding, as he completed 26 of 37 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns, while spreading the ball to 11 different receivers.
His four touchdowns went to four different receivers as well.
Illinois' third-down defense was a major key to the game, holding the Bearcats to three conversions in 13 tries.
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Even without star running back Venric Mark, Northwestern showed that it is among the best teams in the Big Ten.
The Wildcats cruised to a 48-27 win over Syracuse, as their two-quarterback system worked to perfection.
Trevor Siemian led the way through the air, completing 15 of 19 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns, including a 47-yarder to Tony Jones. Jones amassed a game-high 185 yards off nine receptions.
Kain Colter provided a great complement to Siemian, rushing for 87 yards and a touchdown while also finishing 15-of-18 through the air for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Wildcat defense intercepted Syracuse quarterback Drew Allen four times, giving them an NCAA-leading seven picks on the year.
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Nebraska needed to play well after a rough Week 1 win over Wyoming and it did in a dominant 56-13 victory over Southern Miss.
Quarterback Taylor Martinez had a strong day, throwing for 170 yards, three touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions or fumbles.
Ameer Abdullah had a great performance as well, tallying 114 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
The Cornhuskers defense limited the Golden Eagles to just 284 total yards and 62 rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Nebraska secondary forced four interceptions.
3. Ohio State
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Ohio State took care of business with a 42-7 win over San Diego State, despite losing star quarterback Braxton Miller on the first drive.
Kenny Guiton relieved Miller and played well, notching a game-high 83 rushing yards and the longest play of the day—a 44-yard touchdown run.
Jordan Hall had a solid game also, running 13 times for 75 yards and a touchdown.
The OSU defense was outstanding, only allowing an Aztec touchdown in the third quarter when the game was already well in hand.
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For the second straight game, Wisconsin had three of its running backs eclipse 100 yards on the ground.
After totaling 393 yards in Week 1 against Massachusetts, Corey Clement, Melvin Gordon and James White combined for 387 yards in a 48-0 win over Tennessee Tech.
The Wisconsin defense also recorded its second shutout after blanking UMass 45-0 the week prior.
This time Tennessee Tech hardly sniffed Wisconsin territory, gaining only 69 yards passing and 44 yards rushing.
Right now, the Badgers look like a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten.
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Ann Arbor was one of the wildest places on planet earth Saturday night, as more than 115,000 were on hand to watch Michigan top rival Notre Dame 41-30 for perhaps the last time in the Big House.
The NCAA record crowd was treated to a great show by quarterback Devin Gardner and his favorite target Jeremy Gallon.
Gardner ran for 82 yards and a score and threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns, three of which were caught by Gallon.
Gallon amassed 184 receiving yards, including the three touchdowns.
In the win Michigan showed that it is ready to challenge Ohio State and any other comers for the Big Ten crown.