Iowa Quarterback Ricky Stanzi
How close and exciting was the first week of Big Ten conference play?
Only Iowa, among the teams that won this week, held more than a touchdown lead with 2:00 left in the game.
The two teams that had the most impressive victories this week were the Spartans and Hawkeyes, which begs the question with Wisconsin’s loss—who moved into the No. 2 spot in the power rankings?
The Gophers had No. 25 Northwestern on the ropes in the fourth quarter, but squandered an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter to ultimately lose to the Wildcats 29-28.
DeLeon Eskridge had a good game, running the ball with 119 yards on 22 attempts.
Next up: The Gophers face arch rival No. 20 Wisconsin in Madison.
The Boilermakers during their bye week received bad news that their starting quarterback, Robert Marve, has been lost for the season with a torn ACL.
No team has suffered as many season ending injuries to key starters as Purdue.
Next up: Purdue travels to Evanston to play Northwestern.
Did the Illini rise to the occasion against Ohio State or were the Buckeyes simply flat?
The numbers would suggest that the Buckeyes were more flat than the Illini were good, as the Illini had only 11 first downs and Ohio State averaged more than five yards a carry.
A win this week on the road, however, could demonstrate that the game with Ohio State was not a fluke.
Next up: Illinois travels to Penn State.
Ben Chappell had a huge game against Michigan, connecting on 45 of his 64 attempts on his way to passing for 480 yards and three touchdowns.
Wide receiver Tandon Doss had 15 catches for 221 yards.
Unfortunately, the Hoosiers gave up 300 rushing yards. Towson ran for 227 yards on Indiana in their season opener.
The book on Indiana appears to be that they are a good passing team but they can’t stop the run.
Next up: Indiana goes to Columbus to play Ohio State.
7. Penn State
Quarterback Rob Bolden got a rude introduction to Big Ten football by the defensive line of the Iowa Hawkeyes, as he was sacked, harassed, and chased all night long.
The good news for Bolden was that he hung tough in the pocket for 247 passing yards, gave up only one interception and will likely not play another defensive front as talented this season.
Running back Evan Royster had a decent night running the ball with 56 yards on 10 carries.
Next up: Illinois at home.
6. No. 25 Northwestern
As expected, quarterback Dan Persa had another big day.
Persa had two touchdown throws and 309 passing yards; Persa also accounted for 99 yards on the ground.
The only disappointing aspect of the game for Persa was the fact that his completion percentage dropped to 79 percent.
The Wildcats defense will need to improve if Northwestern is going to stay among the top teams in the country in the Associated Press poll.
Next up: Purdue at home.
5. No. 19 Wisconsin
The strength of the Badgers is their offense and while the Badgers put up 24 points against Michigan State, Wisconsin was never really able to take control of the game.
Freshman James White had another great game running the ball scoring two touchdowns and gaining 98 yards.
Wide receiver Nick Toon returned but unfortunately dropped a couple of passes.
Next up: Host Minnesota.
4. No. 17 Michigan
Denard Robinson continues to make a strong case to win the Heisman trophy, as he became the first player in FBS history to pass for more than 200 yards and rush for more than 200 yards in two separate games in one season.
On the season, Robinson has 905 rushing yards, 1,008 passing yards, and 15 touchdowns.
The Achilles' heel for Michigan appears to be their defense, as they gave up more than 500 yards of total offense for the second time this season.
Next up: Host the Spartans.
3. No. 16 Michigan State
The Spartans out-played Wisconsin beyond what the 34-24 score would indicate, as they had 444 yards of total offense to the Badgers 292 yards of total offense.
Michigan State, however, did not take care of the ball and committed three turnovers.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins made two great play action fakes in the red zone for two touchdowns.
The Spartans defense ended Wisconsin’s John Clay’s 10-game streak of 100-yard games.
Next up: Spartans travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan.
2. No. 15 Iowa
The Hawkeyes throttled the Nittany Lions 24-3 on Homecoming, and if not for a questionable roughing the passer penalty at the end of the first half, Iowa likely would have shut out Penn State and may have put up more than 30 points.
Wide receiver Marvin McNutt had a nice night with five catches and 93 receiving yards, and he continues to impress making difficult catches look easy.
Next up: Idle.
1. No. 2 Ohio State
The Buckeyes played a very sloppy game against Illinois, as they survived the upset bid of the Illini 24-13.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor briefly left the game with a quadriceps injury but returned to engineer the last touchdown drive of the game to seal the victory for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes would love to get out to a quick lead against Indiana this week to allow Pryor to rest and get healthy.
Next up: Indiana at home.