College Football Power Rankings, Week 3: The Big Ten with Nebraska, Key Stats
The third week of the college football season has come and gone. The Big Ten (and Nebraska) had a good week, going 10-2. Teams like Illinois and Purdue had respectable victories over in-state opponents, whereas Ohio State and Nebraska continued to live up to their high rankings by winning their games big.
The Big Ten also suffered two key losses to Pac-10 opponents, as Minnesota lost to USC, and an even bigger defeat with Iowa losing to Arizona.
Here's how the Big Ten stands three weeks into the season.
No. 12: Minnesota (1-2)
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Week 3 Result: 32-21 Loss to USC
Key Stats: USC—71 penalty yards & 3 turnovers; Minnesota—83 rushing yards & 3 turnovers
In this Pac-10 versus Big Ten matchup, USC proved to be the better team, accumulating over 400 yards of offense and maintaining control for most of the game.
Despite having the three turnovers and all those penalty yards, Minnesota was not able to capitalize well enough to take down the Trojans in Minneapolis.
No. 11: Purdue (2-1)
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Week 3 Result: 24-13 Victory over Ball St.
Key Stats: Ball St.—2 Turnovers & 256 Yards of Total Offense; Purdue—403 Yards of Total Offense & 3 Touchdown Passes Without Keith Smith
Robert Marve and Rob Henry threw three touchdown passes between the two of them, overcoming the absence of top wide receiver Keith Smith.
Although Marve injured his leg early in the game, the Boilermakers were still able to defeat the Ball St. Cardinals by forcing two turnovers and outgaining them in total yards by almost 150 yards.
No. 10: Illinois (2-1)
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Week 3 Result: 28-22 Victory over Northern Illinois
Key Stats: Northern Illinois—390 Yards of Total Offense & 1 Turnover; Illinois—319 Rushing Yards & 70 Passing Yards
Mikel LeShoure and the Illini rushing offense outgained the Northern Illinois Huskies by over 150 yards en route to the victory. The Illini forced one turnover, stalling a Northern Illinois drive.
Nathan Scheelhaase only threw for 70 yards, but the Illini rushing attack was all the offense they needed to beat the Huskies.
No. 9: Indiana (2-0)
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Week 3 Result: 38-21 Victory over Western Kentucky
Key Stats: Indiana—466 Yards of Total Offense; Western Kentucky—288 Yards of Total Offense & 56 Penalty Yards
The Indiana Hoosiers offense exploded for 466 yards, outgaining the Hilltoppers by more than 175 yards en route to the victory.
Western Kentucky put up decent offensive numbers, but was not able to keep up with the Hoosiers. The Hilltoppers' 56 penalty yards did not help their cause either.
No. 8: Northwestern (3-0)
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Week 3 Result: 30-13 Victory over Rice
Key Stats: Rice—4 Turnovers & 25:55 Time of Possession; Northwestern—451 Yards of Total Offense & Dan Persa’s 81.6 Completion Percentage
Rice was not able to contain the efficient Northwestern Wildcats' offense, allowing them to gain 451 yards of total offense. The fact that they had four turnovers and controlled the ball for 10 less minutes than the Wildcats did was a recipe for a loss.
Dan Persa continued to be the nation’s most efficient passer, maintaining an 81.6 completion percentage.
No. 7: Michigan State (3-0)
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Week 3 Result: 34-31 Victory Over Notre Dame
Key Stats: Notre Dame—Dayne Crist’s 369 Passing Yards, 92 Rushing Yards, & 3 Turnovers; Michigan State—34:24 Time of Possession, 203 Rushing Yards, & Aaron Bates’ TD Pass
Dayne Crist and the Notre Dame offense played well, but committing three turnovers and being outgained by more than 100 rushing yards usually does not result in victory.
Michigan State ran the ball very well, controlled the clock, and resorted to trickery to defeat the Irish in East Lansing.
No. 6: Michigan (3-0)
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Week 3 Result: 42-37 Victory over Massachusetts
Key Stats: Massachusetts—46 Penalty Yards & Allowed 525 Yards of Offense; Michigan—Denard Robinson = 345 Yards, 3 Touchdowns, & 439 Yards Allowed
Denard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines made it three-straight weeks in which their offense has exploded for over 450 yards of offense en route to the victory. Robinson had 345 yards and three touchdowns himself.
Massachusetts challenged the Wolverines, but allowing 525 yards of offense to the opposing team and having 46 penalty yards don’t result in victory for any team, especially a team playing on the road at the Big House. The Michigan defense needs to step up because in games against better teams allowing 439 yards will not cut it.
No. 5: Penn State (2-1)
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Week 3 Result: 24-0 Victory over Kent State
Key Stats: Kent State—58 Rushing Yards & 25:39 Time of Possession; Penn State—382 Yards of Total Offense & 34:21 Time of Possession
Kent State did not put up much of a fight against the Nittany Lions in this week three matchup. Penn State freshmen quarterback Robert Bolden played decently, throwing for 217 yards and one touchdown, but also throwing two interceptions.
Penn State won this game on its ability to control the clock and by outgaining Kent State by over 100 yards in the rushing yards.
No. 4: Iowa (2-1)
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Week 3 Result: 34-27 Loss to Arizona
Key Stats: Iowa—29 Rushing Yards & 27-7 Halftime Deficit; Arizona—103 Penalty Yards, 3 Turnovers, & 6 Sacks
The Arizona defensive line played very well and gave the Hawkeye offense fits the whole game. Iowa came back, but was not able to overcome a 20-point halftime deficit in its loss to the Wildcats.
Arizona had three turnovers to go along with its 103 penalty yards, but still won the game. Not the ideal way to win a football game, but when you hold an opponent who loves to run the ball to only 29 rushing yards and sack the opposing quarterback three times on their final drive, good things will happen.
No. 3: Wisconsin (3-0)
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Week 3 Result: 20-19 Victory over Arizona State
Key Stats: Arizona State—0 Turnovers, 61 Penalty Yards, & 1 Missed PAT; Wisconsin—440 Yards of Total Offense, 0 Turnovers, & 1 Blocked PAT
In a well-played game between the Sun Devils and Badgers, this game was decided upon one of the more fundamental aspects of the game: the point after touchdown. Both teams did not commit any turnovers and played well on offense.
Although Arizona State had 61 penalty yards, it did not cost them too much against Wisconsin. This game was decided when the PAT attempt that was blocked by the Badgers towards the end of the game. Jay Valai got through the line and blocked the Sun Devils’ PAT to help Wisconsin hold on for the hard-fought victory.
No. 2: Nebraska (3-0)
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Week 3 Result: 56 -21 Victory over Washington
Key Stats: Nebraska—533 Yards of Total Offense & 383 Rushing Yards; Washington—246 Yards of Offense & Jake Locker’s Stats: 4-for-20, 71 Yards, 1 TD, & 2 INT
Nebraska traveled to Washington to take on the Huskies in an anticipated matchup. The Cornhuskers gained 533 yards of total offense, with 383 of them being on the ground on their way to scoring 56 points. The Huskies' defense was no match for the Cornhuskers' offense
Jake Locker did not play very well with for the Huskies. Considering that he is the best player on the team and more importantly the quarterback, typically as he goes so goes Washington. The Cornhuskers proved to be no match for the Huskies in a 56-21 dismantling of their Pac-10 foe.
No. 1: Ohio State (3-0)
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Week 3 Result: 43-7 Victory over Ohio
Key Stats: Ohio—158 Yards of Total Offense & 5 Turnovers; Ohio State—439 Yards of Total Offense & 0 Penalty Yards
Ohio traveled to Columbus to take on its in-state counterpart Ohio State. This game was never even close, with the Buckeyes leading 34-0 at halftime. Terrelle Pryor set a school record with 16 consecutive completions on his way to throwing for 235 yards and two touchdowns.
Ohio only had 158 yards of offense and committed five turnovers. In a matchup that was never close, the Ohio State Buckeyes won without much of a struggle 43-7.