Big Ten Football Rankings And Reactions, Week 7

    Week 7 Big Ten rankings and reactions: Anything interesting happen in the Big Ten? Rutgers and Indiana came up with an epic shootout, Iowa too control of the West, and, oh yeah, Michigan State vs. Michigan was pretty good.

    September 26, 2016

    Big Ten Football Rankings And Reactions, Week 7

    Week 7 Big Ten rankings and reactions: Anything interesting happen in the Big Ten? Rutgers and Indiana came up with an epic shootout, Iowa too control of the West, and, oh yeah, Michigan State vs. Michigan was pretty good.

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    Big Ten Player of the Week

    Iowa RB Akrum Wadley ran 26 times for 204 yards and four scores in the win over Northwestern.

    Week 7 Big Ten Football Rankings

    1. Ohio State (7-0)

    W, Penn State 38-10: And now the quarterback situation is a question mark again. It’s not that Cardale Jones is awful, it’s that he’s not making the team better yet. This was the first time J.T. Barrett really started to look like the player he was last year, running for 102 yards and two scores and completing all four of his passes with two scores – so now what does Urban Meyer do? Ezekiel Elliott is good for 100 yards a week – 153 against Penn State – and the defense was swarming into the backfield, but it’s mid-October and the quarterback situation is still a topic of discussion. Fortunately, Rutgers and Minnesota are up next to keep trying to figure this out.

    2. Iowa (7-0)

    W, at Northwestern 40-10: The offensive line is the biggest reason for the turnaround. It doesn’t seem to matter who’s running the ball – the Hawkeyes are firing away, and with Jordan Canzeri down, Akrum Wadley and Derrick Mitchell stepped up. At some point, though, C.J. Beathard will have to be more of a factor with the passing game. He’s been fine, but he completed just 15-of-25 passes for 176 yards and a pick, not looking like the type of playmaker who’s so good that Jake Rudock had to be a pushed aside. But as long as the defense continues to dominate a mediocre schedule, and with the way the O line is playing, there’s no reason to expect the fun to slow down against Maryland and Indiana.

    3. Michigan State (7-0)

    W, at Michigan 27-23: Michigan State was fortunate, but it wasn’t necessarily lucky. There’s a reason Blake O’Neill dropped the ball – the Spartans were coming and were going to be all over him. Other than The Play, this was the Michigan State everyone was waiting to see get turned loose. Connor Cook only completed 18-of-39 passes, but he threw for 328 yards with the game being put in the star’s hands. When in doubt, let the NFL-caliber quarterback throw it, and that’s what the Spartans did. This was great, but don’t fall asleep on a dangerous Indiana team next week or at Nebraska to follow – the pass defense is about to get pushed a bit.

    4. Michigan (5-2)

    L, Michigan State 27-23: Michigan almost got away with one. The Wolverines were outplayed in several ways, they couldn’t get the ground game going, and Jake Rudock was just okay, but they did what they needed to do to get the win – except for being able to grind out the clock over two late drives. The run defense was phenomenal, Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers – in different ways – showed just how special they are, and the team came within a miracle of being ranked in the top five with an eye towards the playoff. Now, just keep winning. Beat Rutgers, and then beat Indiana and Penn State on the road. Michigan State – even with the unbeaten record – has been playing with fire. Could the Spartans lose at Nebraska? If the Huskers get hot, maybe. Could they lose at Ohio State? Absolutely. Michigan just needs to win out and let the rest try to take care of itself.

    5. Northwestern (5-2)

    L, Iowa 40-10 : For the second straight game, Northwestern needed a downfield passing game, and it didn’t have one. Justin Jackson was held to 30 yards on ten carries, and the team finished with just 51 rushing yards on 26 carries, but there wasn’t anything happening down the field with Clayton Thorson completing just 17-of-35 passes for 125 yards and a score with a pick. There was just one pass play of more than 11 yards and Iowa was never threatened in any way by the Wildcat receivers. But that’s Northwestern at this point – it is what it is. This is still a good defensive team that can get physical, and the offense can barrel away against the mediocre defenses, but the hopes of the West title are now all but gone with a trip to Nebraska up next followed up by Penn State.

    6. Wisconsin (5-2)

    W, Purdue 24-7: The Badger offense got through one more game without Corey Clement. The O line isn’t playing well, but Dare Ogunbowale isn’t a special back, and the running game isn’t working with just 96 yards averaging 2.6 yards per carry against a mediocre Purdue D. Clement was apparently close to going, but didn’t, and that meant the defense had to carry the team again, and Joel Stave had to be great. Stave didn’t take many chances, but outside of an interception, he was terrific completing 30-of-39 throws for 322 yards, doing a good job of spreading things out a bit when he wasn’t targeting Alex Erickson for a big play. Now comes a bigger fight against a rested Illinois defense on the road, and now the hope is for Clement to be ready to roll.

    7. Illinois (4-2)

    UP NEXT: Wisconsin

    8. Nebraska (3-4)

    W, at Minnesota 48-25: Finally, Nebraska looked like it’s supposed to. No late drama. No gags in the fourth quarter. No issues. Tommy Armstrong was terrific – throwing three touchdown passes – Terrell Newby ran for two scores, and the team took charge in the second half to keep it from getting to be a fight. Making it particularly cathartic was the pick six from Joshua Kalu, ending any possible thoughts of Minnesota making a wild comeback. Now there’s real hope again for a bowl game needing three wins still even with Northwestern, Michigan State and Iowa to deal with, along with road games at Purdue and Rutgers.

    9. Penn State (5-2)

    L, at Ohio State 38-10: This was when Christian Hackenberg had to look like the first round draft pick he’s supposed to be, and he didn’t. He completed just 7-of-13 passes for 120 yard and a score, and while he wasn’t awful, he didn’t carry the offense when it needed to try to rally. Fortunately, Saquon Barkley looked like a major factor with a huge day running the ball – taking off for 194 yards – and that’s what’s going to work going forward. Penn State isn’t good enough to be among the Big Ten big boys, but it should be able to blow through Maryland and Illinois over the next two weeks if the ground game works, the run defense gets its groove back, and if Hackenberg can be a game manager. It would be nice if he was more than that, but he’s not right now.

    10. Minnesota (4-3)

    L, Nebraska 48-25: Minnesota isn’t going to win when it runs 26 times for 65 yards. The Gophers got 301 yards and a score from Mitch Leidner – and a rushing score – but Nebraska took the game from the start because the defense couldn’t seem to get Tommy Armstrong off the field and couldn’t control the clock. Nebraska had the ball for close to 32 minutes and Minnesota had to start throwing to try to keep up the pace – that’s not going to work for this team. And now who’s next? Michigan, meaning there won’t be any running game next week, or the week after against Ohio State, or the week after against Iowa, or the week after against Illinois, or the week after against Wisconsin. Where are the two wins going to come from to be bowl eligible?

    11. Rutgers (3-3)

    W, at Indiana 55-52: No one really seemed to give Rutgers any attention when it joined the Big Ten, and it was picked by just about everyone to finish last in the Big Ten East, but one thing is becoming clear over the last two years – this is a better program than it gets credit for. Rutgers was dead and buried against Indiana, but Leonte Carroo took over for the passing game, and Robert Martin grabbed the ground game in the improbable comeback. In a brutal year for the team in several ways, now there’s actually hope for a bowl game with winnable games against Nebraska, Army and Maryland to close. Can the Scarlet Knights pull off a shocker against Ohio State or on the road at Wisconsin or Michigan? Rutgers is showing off the firepower.

    12. Indiana (4-3)

    L, Rutgers 55-52: Devastating. Absolutely devastating. The return of Nate Sudfeld showed off just how good the offense can be when he’s at the helm, throwing for 464 yards and four scores as the Hoosiers appeared to be cruising to a fifth win and on the cusp of bowl eligibility, but the mistakes started coming, the defense couldn’t hold up late, the Rutgers pulled off a comeback for the ages that would’ve been the league’s big storyline if it wasn’t for the Michigan State miracle. Now it’s going to be hard to get two more wins with at Michigan State, Iowa, and Michigan coming up next, likely needing to win at Maryland and at Purdue to get a 13th game. However, on the plus side, the offense showed it can crank things up and might be more dangerous than the next three teams might think.

    13. Maryland (2-4)

    UP NEXT: Penn State

    14. Purdue (1-6)

    L, at Wisconsin 24-7: It was a respectable performance from the defense – DT Jake Replogle had a nice day – but the offense was too punchless. The Boilermakers didn’t have anything to challenge the Badgers, but they hung around in the first half despite being badly outplayed. QB David Blough has to be more of a baller, and he needs to be the reason the team is in games. There were a few nice pass plays, but not enough of them with no running game to help the cause – but this was on the road at Wisconsin. Purdue still has yet to beat an FBS team this year, and now comes Nebraska and Illinois at home. There’s a lot of young talent on both sides of the ball, but a win has to come soon.


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