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September 17, 2013A weekly look at the Big Ten power rankings. Ohio State moves to the top after an impressive win at Cal, while Michigan slips ...
1: Ohio State (3-0; beat Cal 42-7 ) No Braxton Miller - no problem. Backup Kenny Guiton continues to play like a veteran, to the point that Urban Meyer said he might find ways to play him when Miller (knee) is healthy. Guiton threw for 276 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 92 yards in a blowout win at Cal. Urban Meyer says he might find ways to play Guiton when Miller is healthy. Running back Jordan Hall (168 rush yards, 3 TDs) also showed well again.
2: Northwestern (3-0; Beat Western Michigan 38-17):
Running back Venric Mark still didn't play, but the Wildcats won overcame his absence and a slow start to hammer the Broncos. Backup Treyvon Green (158 rush yards, 2 TDs) continues to play well, and quarterback Kain Colter continues to impress. He rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown. The defense did surrender 345 yards.
3: Michigan (3-0; beat Akron 28-24): A week after looking like a Big Ten champion, Michigan looked like - well, Purdue (or worse) in nearly suffering an unfathomable loss to one of college football's worst teams. The Wolverines were flat, uninspired on both sides of the ball and quarterback Devin Gardner kept the Zips in it with his turnovers. U-M still can't run the ball consistently and isn't getting any pressure with its front four on defense.
4: Wisconsin (2-1; Lost at Arizona State, 32-30): Only poor officiating cost the Badgers a chance at a game winning field goal - no guarantee of victory, but a solid chance, nonetheless. The Badgers rushed for 231 yards, but their defense was sketchy, at best. ASU managed 32 first downs and 468 yards (352 passing) in allowing the Sun Devils to move up and down the field.
5: Michigan State (3-0; Beat Youngstown St. 55-17): The Spartans finally found some offense behind quarterback Connor Cook's 202 yards and four touchdowns, and they held Youngstown to eight first downs and 172 total yards. MSU's first real test of the season (on both sides of the ball) comes Saturday at Notre Dame. The Spartans can prove they are legitimate Big Ten title contenders with a win in South Bend.
6: Penn State (2-1; Lost to UCF 34-31): UCF is a solid team, but shouldn't be able to put up 507 yards in Happy Valley like it did. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg was very good again, completing 21 of 28 passes for 262 yards and a score, but the defense allowed 219 yards rushing and even more passing in a disappointing loss. Receiver Allen Robinson (143 yards) is becoming a crutch.
7: Nebraska (2-1; lost to UCLA 41-21): The Cornhuskers collapsed on defense after jumping out to an early lead, giving up 38 straight points and another 500-plus yards (504) on defense. Quarterback Taylor Martinez was solid in throwing for three touchdowns, but the 'Huskers couldn't bet the Bruins off the field. Head coach Bo Pelini divided the fan base with his postgame reaction, too, leaving plenty of doubt on the direction of the program.
8: Minnesota (3-0; Beat New Mexico State 29-12) The Gophers lost quarterback Philip Nelson to a hamstring injury on the same day head coach Jerry Kill suffered another sideline seizure. This was a 15-12 game heading into the fourth quarter before Minnesota finally pulled away. The Gophers will have a chance to move up if they beat San Jose State Saturday.
9: Indiana (2-1; Beat Bowling Green 42-10) The Hoosiers were impressive a week after falling to Navy, ripping off five straight touchdowns after falling behind 10-7. Nate Sudfield threw for 335 yards and two scores and Stephen Houston rushed for 155 yards, part of a 601-yard attack. The Hoosiers' offense will keep the team in a lot of games this year.
10: Illinois (2-1; Lost to Washington 34-24) The Illini have pieces, led by quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, but we question the leadership and a defense that allowed 615(!) yards against, including 342 passing. Illinois fought to the end, scoring two late touchdowns to pull within a touchdown, but the Huskies were clearly the better team.
11: Iowa (2-1; Beat Iowa State) The Hawkeyes picked up a much needed, 27-21 win over their in-state rival behind a solid defensive performance (319 yards against) and a good enough day offensively behind Mark Weisman's 145 yards rushing. This isn't a dynamic or explosive team, but the Hawkeyes still play physical football and will test some Big Ten opponents this year.
12: Purdue (1-2; lost to Notre Dame 31-24): The Boilermakers won the first half and were impressive in bringing the fight to the Irish before succumbing. It was a classic Michigan hangover game for the Irish, who needed 21 fourth quarter points and a pick-six to pull out a win. The Boilermakers managed only 294 yards of offense and couldn't run the ball.