Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 13
1. Ohio State (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) vs. Indiana 42-14
This week: @ Michigan (7-4, 3-4)
Junior quarterback Braxton Miller provided many highlights in a 42-14 romping, for Ohio State over Indiana. Miller had four touchdowns on the day, while running for 144 yards and throwing for 160. Senior running back Carlos Hyde enjoyed Senior Day with a pleasant performance of his own, scoring twice on 117 rushing yards.
The score will indicate another blowout performance by Ohio State, but the Buckeyes committed three turnovers and still gave up 442 yards of offense. Indiana had the ball longer than the Buckeyes and had more first downs on the afternoon as well. The crash course of Ohio State and Michigan State is now set for Indianapolis, but Ohio State will need another impressive win next weekend over much hated rival Michigan, to try and move up in the BCS. – Ryan Stevens
2. Michigan State (10-1, 7-0 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) @ Northwestern 30-6
This week: vs. Minnesota (8-3, 4-3)
From start to finish Michigan State was in control of Northwestern, en route to a 30-6 victory. With the win, the Spartans clinched the Legends Division to set up a Big Ten Championship Game against Ohio State in two weeks. Quarterback Connor Cook was terrific, throwing a career-high 293 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, running back Jeremy Langford ran all over the Wildcats, accumulating 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns, on 25 attempts.
It was not just the offense that performed well on Saturday. Michigan State showed Northwestern why they are one of the best defenses in the country, by holding the Wildcats to just six points and forcing three turnovers. Even though Mark Dantonio’s squad already clinched a Big Ten Championship Game appearance, his team must get past Minnesota this week, prior to facing the Buckeyes. –Tyler Feldman
3. Wisconsin (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) @ Minnesota 20-7
This week: vs. Penn State (6-5, 3-4)
After getting down 7-3 early in the 2nd quarter, Wisconsin never blinked, in a 20-7 win, retaining Paul Bunyan’s Axe. It was a more than impressive showing from the Badger defense holding Minnesota to 185 total yards, including emerging junior running back David Cobb to only 68 yards. Senior running back James White led the way for the running attack, with 125 rushing yards and one touchdown.
The Rose Bowl is unreachable after three consecutive trips to Pasadena, but a trip to a BCS Bowl is still a very legitimate goal. Depending on what happens in the Big Ten championship game and some of the BCS busters such as UCF, Fresno State and Northern Illinois, the Badgers have a shot. Don’t expect this week’s Senior Day affair with Penn State to cause a lot of problems on either side of the ball. –Ryan Stevens
4. Nebraska (8-3, 5-2 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) @ Penn State 23-20 F/OT
This week: vs. Iowa (7-4, 4-3)
The Cornhuskers managed to defeat the Nittany Lions in overtime, thanks in large part to the play of leading Big Ten rusher, Ameer Abdullah. The junior running back ran all over Penn State—25 carries for 147 yards—to control the pace of the game on the road. Nebraska was able to overcome two costly turnovers and seven penalties to survive.
At this point in the season, the only thing that Bo Pelini’s team has to play for is a notable bowl game. With the road win over Penn State, Nebraska has set itself up nicely to have an opportunity to finish with nine wins and push for an enticing bowl game. However, to reach the nine-win mark, the Cornhuskers will have to beat a streaking Iowa squad who is coming off of a big win over Michigan just last week. –Tyler Feldman
5. Minnesota (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) vs. Wisconsin 20-7
This week: @ Michigan State (10-1, 7-0)
After 12 weeks of college football play, the Golden Gophers finally snuck into the rankings at No. 25. However, that stay was short-lived, as Minnesota lost at home to Wisconsin this past Saturday, to not only drop from the rankings, but to also lose the Paul Bunyan Axe. The Wisconsin defense was just too much for the Golden Gophers, who managed only 83 passing yards and 102 rushing yards.
With the loss, Minnesota has basically decided to end the season on a two-game losing streak. The Golden Gophers face Michigan State next week, which will undoubtedly be a loss. Despite the fact that Minnesota will lose the final two games of the season, the Golden Gophers should hold their heads high, because they are going bowling. –Tyler Feldman
6. Iowa (7-4, 4-3 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) vs. Michigan 24-21
This week: @ Nebraska (8-3, 5-2)
Down two touchdowns at home against Michigan, the Iowa Hawkeyes clawed back to take down the Maize and Blue, 24-21. Quarterback Jake Rudock was solid, throwing for 239 yards and two touchdowns, and Tevaun Smith hauled in five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, to lead the Iowa comeback.
Kirk Ferentz’s defense was huge down the stretch, too. An Anthony Hitchens fumble recovery with 2:12 remaining in the game clinched the victory for the Hawkeyes. With the win, Iowa will have a golden opportunity to end the season on a three-game winning streak. This Friday night on the road against Nebraska, should be a good one as both teams are coming off of thrilling wins. –Tyler Feldman
7. Michigan (7-4, 3-4 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) @ Iowa 24-21
This week: vs. Ohio State (11-0, 7-0)
In what was originally supposed to be a superior warm-up for its game against Ohio State this week, Michigan’s road game against Iowa quickly turned into a stunning loss. Michigan blew a 14-point second half lead to lose on the road. Even though Devin Gardner threw two touchdowns, he passed for only 98 yards on 28 attempts. Yet again, Brady Hoke’s offense struggled, compiling only 158 total yards.
With a big battle against Ohio State coming up this Saturday, it seems as if what was supposed to be a bowl-deciding game will simply be just a game. To no surprise, the Wolverines and their offensive struggles have negatively affected the outcome of games this season. It looks as if the Buckeyes will embarrass Michigan on Saturday. –Tyler Feldman
8. Penn State (6-5, 3-4 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) vs. Nebraska 23-20 F/OT
This week: @ Wisconsin (9-2, 6-1)
Everything was set up to send the 2014 seniors out the same way as last year. An overtime affair and a cold, windy night in Happy Valley was exactly the same as a year ago, with the exception of the result. Junior running back Zach Zwinak carried more than his own weight, with 149 yards on 35 carries, while fellow junior back Bill Belton sat out due to an illness.
The big question heading into next week will be if Penn State has anything left in the tank. It was such an emotional game down the stretch, to force overtime and then to fall the way the Nittany Lions did, it’s going to be tough to bounce back. Wisconsin runs the ball better than any team Penn State has seen all year and will certainly be looking for revenge after last year’s overtime affair in State College. –Ryan Stevens
9. Northwestern (4-7, 0-7 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) vs. Michigan State 30-6
This week: @ Illinois (4-7, 1-6)
At this point in the season, no words can truly describe what Northwestern has experienced. From a 4-0 nonconference start, when the college football world thought the Wildcats would be a serious competitor, to now being 4-7. Losing seven straight conference games, the Wildcats have had quite the up-and-down season.
Northwestern had no chance of beating Michigan State. However, this week will be Pat Fitzgerald’s best and last chance to obtain that elusive first Big Ten victory. Do not be surprised if the Wildcats win over Illinois this coming Saturday. –Tyler Feldman
10. Indiana (4-7, 2-5 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) @ Ohio State 42-14
This week: vs. Purdue (1-10, 0-7)
For Indiana, tt was much of the same as last week’s loss to Wisconsin...this week in Columbus. The offense, which is the only thing to talk about when discussing Indiana football, improved significantly and was able to rack up over 400 yards on a suspect Ohio State defense. Sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld was 25 for 41 on the day, with 224 yards and two touchdowns.
At least Indiana gets to end on a positive note next week, when Purdue comes to Bloomington. Purdue is not very good. –Ryan Stevens
11. Illinois (4-7, 1-6 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) @ Purdue 20-16
This week: @ Northwestern (4-7, 0-7)
For the first time in Tim Beckman’s Illinois coaching career, the Fighting Illini have won a Big Ten football game. Senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase led the comeback in West Lafayette with 257 passing yards and two touchdowns, despite throwing two interceptions as well. 10 of those completed passes were caught by senior Steve Hull, a career-high for the Cincinnati native.
Illinois will look to end the year with a win against in-state rival Northwestern. The Wildcats have hit the wall ever
since losing to Ohio State back in October, and show no signs of making any efforts to get a Big Ten win. The “Our State, Our Team” mantra will be put to the test against the only other BCS-conference member in the state of Illinois. –Ryan Stevens
12. Purdue (1-10, 0-7 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) vs. Illinois 20-16
This week: Irrelevant
Purdue lost, again. #BoilerUp –Ryan Stevens
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english. He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.
During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.
Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.
Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Marketing
Currently, Feldman is an executive producer, reporter and anchor for the Centre County Report, as well as ComRadio’s senior sports director. He also is the host of the Penn State Coaches Show featuring Guy Gadowsky, which airs live from Lettermans on ESPN Radio 1450 and GoPSUSports.com every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Additionally, he was the first to report the hiring of Joe Moorhead as Penn State football’s new offensive coordinator on December 12, 2015.
He’s a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism within the College of Communications and enrolled in the Smeal College of Business.
Feldman, a Pittsburgh native, has broadcasted sporting events from a number of international and professional venues, including Estadio Latinoamericano in Cuba, Madison Square Garden, CONSOL Energy Center, Wells Fargo Center, MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, and EverBank Field.
Last spring, he traveled with the Penn State men’s volleyball team as their play-by-play man, announcing his very first NCAA tournament matches at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion.
He has gained valuable broadcasting and reporting experience interning and working at WTAJ-TV, MLB Network, GoPSUSports.com, 105.9 The X, 970 AM ESPN, Big Ten Network Student U, and State College’s ESPN Radio 1450.
Feldman has a strong passion for sports and dreams to become a sports anchor/reporter in a national market and/or a hockey play-by-play announcer.