Big Ten Country

Big Ten Week 4 Power Rankings: Ohio State stuns Notre Dame


SOUTH BEND, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 23: Kyle McCord #6 of the Ohio State Buckeyes hands the ball off to TreVeyon Henderson #32 against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half at Notre Dame Stadium on September 23, 2023 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

It was a chaotic day in the Big Ten, punctuated by a last-second victory by one of the conference’s elite and a massive upset in Chicago’s suburbs.

The conference’s top teams all held serve, with Michigan besting Rutgers in their Big Ten opener and Penn State completely shutting down Iowa’s offense, but Ohio State stole the show with their last-second win over Notre Dame in South Bend.

Add to that the upset of Northwestern beating Minnesota, and it was a truly wild day of football.

With that, here are our latest Big Ten Power Rankings.

14 Indiana (Last Week: 13)

Indiana has had their moments this season, playing competitive games against Ohio State and Louisville, but they were outgained 474-282 against Akron on Saturday, and only won in four overtimes against a team they paid $1.2 million to come to Louisville.

Also a noteworthy stat: according to Big Ten Network, this will be the first time in 16 seasons a MAC team has not beaten a Big Ten team during the regular season.

13 Michigan State (Last Week: 12)  

The Spartans were able to give Maryland a bit of a scare, but ultimately they just had no answers for the Terrapins as they dropped to 2-2 on the season.

Questions remain at their quarterback position, with Noah Kim throwing two interceptions in the contest. Katin Houser had 75 yards in the game, but it’ll be interesting to see who is under center next week when they travel to Kinnick Stadium for a showdown with Iowa.

12 Northwestern (Last Week: 14)

The Wildcats faced two separate 21-point deficits in their game against Minnesota, but somehow they were able to storm back and defeat the Golden Gophers in overtime in Evanston.

Ben Bryant threw for 396 yards and four touchdowns, becoming the first Northwestern quarterback to throw for four touchdowns in a game since Trevor Siemian did so against Illinois in 2013.

11 Purdue (Last Week: 9)

Purdue’s offense put up nearly 400 yards, though they did cough up the football three times against Wisconsin. Their defense was also sorely challenged, with the Badgers racking up 193 yards passing and 195 yards rushing in a conference play-opening victory.

Purdue is now 1-3 on the season, and they’ll have their hands full against an Illinois squad that has been doing a much better job of pressuring quarterbacks of late.

10 Nebraska (Last Week: 11)

Heinrich Haarberg only threw for 107 yards against Louisiana Tech, but the Huskers’ rushing attack was in fine form, with Haarberg racking up 157 yards and Anthony Grant adding 135 more. The Huskers rushed for 312 yards in all.

The Huskers will need to improve their third-down efficiency after going 3-for-11 this week, as they’ll face a tough Michigan squad next weekend in Lincoln.

9 Illinois (Last Week: 10)

Illinois once again found themselves down 10-0 early in the game, but Luke Altmyer and the offense racked up 510 yards, their best number of the season, in a comeback win over the Owls in Champaign.

The Illinois rushing game was particularly interesting to watch, with Reggie Love rushing for 85 yards on just 12 carries. Kaden Feagin and Aidan Laughery both had key rushes to, and all three figure to be critical as the Illini face Purdue next week.

8 Minnesota (Last Week: 7)

Darius Taylor is making a strong case to be the Big Ten’s best freshman after rushing for 198 yards and two scores against Northwestern, but once again the Gophers find themselves dropping in the rankings after their loss to the Wildcats.

After giving up nearly 500 yards to Northwestern, and after giving up 68 points in their last two games, Minnesota will get a bit of a breather when facing Louisiana next week, but an Oct. 7 matchup against Michigan looms.

7 Rutgers (Last Week: 8)

The Scarlet Knights kept things close against Michigan early, but they ultimately had no answers as they gave up more than 200 yards rushing, along with a pair of touchdowns to Blake Corum.

Rutgers has upcoming games against Wagner, Michigan State and Indiana, and if they can win those three, they could be 6-2 or even 7-1 when they take on Ohio State at home on Nov. 4.

6 Iowa (Last Week: 4)

The Hawkeyes were a putrid 1-for-9 on third down, and they only managed four first downs in the entire game, with 76 yards of offense in a blowout loss to Penn State in Happy Valley.

Add to that mix the 215 yards they gave up on the ground, and one has to wonder what kind of response we can expect from Iowa after such a tough contest on the road.

5 Wisconsin (Last Week: 6)

Wisconsin’s offense was nearly-balanced against Purdue, with 193 passing yards and 195 rushing yards against the Boilermakers. Tanner Mordecai combined for 218 yards of offense and added a pair of rushing touchdowns for good measure.

The big question for Wisconsin is this: can they maintain their strong run game even if Chez Mellusi missed significant time with an injury he sustained during the third quarter of Saturday’s game? Braelon Allen is of course a strong back, but losing Mellusi is a big blow to the Badger offense.

4 Maryland (Last Week: 5)

In their last two games, the Terrapins had gone down early, but this time around they wasted no time in racing out to a lead and keeping it against the Spartans. Taulia Tagovailoa continued to shine with three touchdown passes, and the Terps got 139 total rushing yards to help keep Michigan State’s offense off the field.

With their next game against Indiana, Maryland could very well go into their Oct. 7 game against Ohio State with an undefeated record, and a big chance at making a statement.

3 Ohio State (Last Week: 3)

Ohio State’s offense was tested in every conceivable way, and they ultimately came out on top with a last-gasp win over Notre Dame in South Bend. TreVeyon Henderson asserted himself with a 61-yard touchdown run, and Emeka Egbuka and Cade Stover each had seven catches in the game.

Few teams will have the running back depth that the Irish had, but it’s worth noting that Ohio State gave up 176 rushing yards, losing the time-of-possession battle by a significant margin. The Buckeyes will have to control the clock better to keep their defense fresh, though that group also made some remarkable plays in the win.

2 Penn State (Last Week: 2)

Saturday’s win over Iowa was about as old school as it can get for the Nittany Lions. They got 215 rushing yards on a whopping 57 carries, and they held the Hawkeyes to just 76 yards of total offense.

They now have two conference wins under the belts, and the one thing we’d love to see is Drew Allar taking over a game to win it. That being said, it’s hard to question the Penn State method considering the quality of their wins, which have showcased the depth of this roster in a big way.

1 Michigan (Last Week: 1)

They didn’t look great early against Rutgers, but they did the things required to win, including holding Kyle Monangai in check, with just 27 yards rushing, and getting Blake Corum going again, with 97 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the victory.

JJ McCarthy was back to his efficient self, 15-of-21 for 214 yards and a touchdown in the win. He'll be under the microscope next week when the Wolverines take on Nebraska in Lincoln, their first road game of the season.

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