Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 1
September 8, 2015
Editor’s note: Every week, The Daily Illini football staff ranks the football teams in the Big Ten 1-14 and compiles the lists into its own Big Ten power rankings.
1. Ohio State — The defending national champions showed why they deserved to be the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation after defeating Virginia Tech 42-24 on Monday night.
2. Michigan State — Quarterback Connor Cook improved his NFL Draft stock by throwing for 256 yards and two touchdowns against Western Michigan in the Spartans’ 37-24 win.
3. Wisconsin — The Badgers kept Alabama’s lead to a touchdown at halftime but seemed overmatched against the No. 3 team in the nation. Wisconsin only had 40 rushing yards compared to Alabama’s 238.
4. Minnesota — Turnovers proved to be the difference in a close game between Minnesota and No. 2 TCU. Running back Rodrick Williams Jr. had a crucial fumble near the goal line in the Gophers’ 23-17 loss.
5. Nebraska — The end of the Cornhuskers’ game against BYU was all too familiar. Cougars’ backup quarterback Tanner Mangum’s Hail Mary touchdown pass at the end of the game shocked Nebraska in its 33-28 loss.
6. Iowa — The Hawkeyes held a 24-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter of a game where quarterback C. J. Beathard threw for 211 yards and six Iowa rushers combined for 210 yards in Saturday’s 31-14 win over Illinois State.
7. Michigan — Jim Harbaugh’s first game as Michigan head coach didn’t live up to the offseason hype. Three interceptions from Jake Rudock — including one at the beginning of the fourth quarter during a one-possession game — hurt the Wolverine’s offense from gaining any momentum in its 24-17 loss to Utah.
8. Northwestern — Underclassmen stole the show for the Wildcats as freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson threw for 105 yards and ran for 68 while sophomore running back Justin Jackson ran for 138 in Northwestern’s 16-6 win over then-No. 20 Stanford.
9. Illinois — The one-day delay to the start of the season didn’t stop the Illini from starting the season strong against Kent State. Quarterback Wes Lunt threw for 162 yards and four touchdowns in the Illini’s 52-3 rout over the Golden Flashes.
10. Maryland — The Terrapins scored 37 straight points and William Likely set a Big Ten record with 233 yards in punt returns during Maryland’s 50-21 win over Richmond. Quarterback Perry Hills threw for 138 yards and Brandon Ross ran for 150 yards.
11. Penn State — Last season’s struggles continued Saturday for the Nittany Lions’ offensive line. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg was sacked 10 times and only threw for 103 yards in Penn State’s 27-10 loss to Temple — the Owls’ first win over the Nittany Lions in 74 years.
12. Rutgers — Wide receiver Leonte Carroo caught three touchdowns in the third quarter to set a school record after serving a first-half suspension. The Scarlet Knights defeated Norfolk State 63-13 despite the distractions of an academic investigation involving players on the team.
13. Indiana — A failed two-point conversion in the final seconds helped the Hoosiers defeat Southern Illinois 48-47. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 349 yards and Jordan Howard ran for 245 but Indiana’s defense allowed 659 yards.
14. Purdue — Quarterback Austin Appleby threw four interceptions — two were returned for touchdowns — in Purdue’s loss 41-31 loss to Marshall on Sunday.