B1G Power Rankings after Week 2: Serious reshuffling after a wild Saturday
With six games against Power Five opponents on the schedule, the B1G had an opportunity to make its case as the best conference in football. But the league fell short. Well short.
B1G teams finished 3-3 against Power Five foes in Week 2 and the MAC extended its win streak over the conference with Eastern Michigan’s victory over Purdue. While there were some strong performances, it wasn’t the best weekend for the conference.
Here’s our B1G power rankings following Week 2 action.
14. Rutgers 1-1 (lost to Ohio State 52-3)
Nobody expected Rutgers to go into Columbus and put up much of a fight. And they didn’t. But worse than the 49-point loss was that true freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski took a nasty hit and suffered an apparent arm injury which sidelined him for the second half. That loss would be much more significant than the one to the Buckeyes.
13. Illinois 2-0 (def. Western Illinois 34-14)
Yes, the Illini are 2-0 (probably thanks to Lovie Smith’s beard) but they’ve not been impressive in either of the two victories. Illinois held just a touchdown lead over FCS foe Western Illinois at halftime before outscoring the Leathernecks 20-7 in the second half. Oh, and QB AJ Bush and WR Edwin Carter both left the game with injuries.
12. Purdue 0-2 (lost to Eastern Michigan 20-19)
The Boilermakers could easily be 2-0 but dumb penalties late in its first two games, both of which were unsportsmanlike conduct fouls, have been costly. But Saturday’s game against Eastern Michigan shouldn’t have been that close in the first place. Neither Elijah Sindelar or David Blough have played as well as expected, either.
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11. Nebraska 0-1 (lost to Colorado 33-28)
It would’ve been interesting to see how things turned out in Lincoln if Nebraska would’ve gotten some of the kinks worked out against Akron. Instead, the Huskers suffered a heartbreaking loss at the hands of an old rival, and QB Adrian Martinez suffered an injury in the process. It wasn’t the ideal debut for Scott Frost, but Nebraska showed promise in its first game of the year.
10. Indiana 2-0 (def. Virginia 20-16)
Even without its top two running backs from 2017, Indiana managed to rack up 237 yards on the ground in a huge win over Virginia. Are the Cavaliers that bad defensively? Or are the Hoosiers that good on the offensive line? The answer is probably somewhere in the middle. The first wins haven’t been pretty, but IU is 2-0 and that’s all that matters.
9. Northwestern 1-1 (lost to Duke 21-7)
Clayton Thorson just hasn’t looked like the same quarterback this season and it’s hurt the Wildcats. He doesn’t have the same mobility since recovering from the ACL injury, and Northwestern’s offense struggled against Duke. Pat Fitzgerald’s group had a similar outing last year and still rattled off 10 wins. This was a disappointing loss but Northwestern tends to improve each week.
8. Minnesota 2-0 (def. Fresno State 21-14)
The Gophers are 2-0 to start the season, but it’s still tough to get a beat on P.J. Fleck and Co. Minnesota put up 48 points a week ago against New Mexico State but struggled to score on Fresno State. On a positive note, the defense shut down a Bulldog offense that scored 79 points a week ago. Another positive, Zack Annexstad still hasn’t thrown an interception.
7. Maryland 2-0 (def. Bowling Green 45-14)
A huge fourth quarter propelled Maryland to a 31-point victory over Bowling Green in Week 2. The Terrapins were virtually unstoppable on the ground, registering 444 yards on the ground, led by Ty Johnson (124 yards) and Tayon Fleet-Davis (102 yards). Matt Canada’s offense seems to be working in College Park.
6. Michigan State 1-1 (lost to Arizona State 16-13)
It was the upset that everyone was predicting and it came to fruition. Michigan State couldn’t get anything going offensively and the O-line struggled again. This time, it cost the Spartans a win as Arizona State kicked a game-winning field goal. It’s still not quite time to push the panic button, but MSU certainly isn’t a contender in the East. At least not right now.
5. Iowa 2-0 (def. Iowa State 13-3)
Defense, defense and more defense. The Hawkeyes have held their first two opponents (Northern Illinois and Iowa State) to a total of 10 points. That’s pretty good. The offense still has a long, long way to go, but if the defense continues to play at this level, Iowa may have a real shot to take down Wisconsin in a few weeks.
4. Michigan 1-1 (def. Western Michigan 49-3)
This was the type of offensive showing everyone expected to see when Shea Patterson committed to Michigan in the spring. This looked like a completely different unit than last week at Notre Dame. Patterson had three touchdown passes and Karan Higdon accounted for 156 yards on just 13 carries. It was good to see the Maize and Blue moving the ball on Saturday.
3. Penn State 2-0 (def. Pitt 51-6)
Any concerns about Penn State’s defense were answered in Saturday night’s rivalry game, at least temporarily. The Nittany Lions mauled Pitt and held the Panthers to just 55 passing yards for the game. Penn State’s dominating win in Week 2 might be a sign that the close call against Appalachian State can be credited to first week jitters.
2. Wisconsin 2-0 (def. New Mexico 45-14)
The Badgers weren’t as crisp offensively as Week 1 against Western Kentucky, but they still didn’t have much trouble with New Mexico. Jonathan Taylor galloped for 253 yards (a new career high) and three touchdowns as Wisconsin improved to 2-0. Two weeks in and this still looks like the team to beat in the West.
1. Ohio State 2-0 (def. Rutgers 52-3)
Remember those questions we had about Ohio State’s defense last week? Yeah, maybe they’re not as relevant after the Buckeyes pounded Rutgers 52-3. The offense has now scored 129 points in the first two weeks of the season and Dwayne Haskins has thrown nine touchdown passes. Ohio State gets its first real test next week against TCU.