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Around the Big Ten & Power Rankings: Week 2

It wasn't exactly a banner week for the Big Ten. Let's review.

Joe Robbins

1. Michigan State

The Spartans fell to 1-1 after a 46-27 loss to now-No. 2 Oregon in Eugene, and dropped to No. 13 in both polls. The loss also put in a dent in the Big Ten's chances to make the College Football Playoffs, since the Spartans became the conference's likely best shot once Braxton Miller tore his labrum.

The Michigan State defense allowed 491 total yards to the Ducks and the team squandered a 24-point second quarter. Quarterback Connor Cook passed for two touchdowns and 343 yards but threw two interceptions. Check out some stats analysis from the game here.

The Spartans will now return home to host Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

2. Wisconsin

The Badgers rebounded from the Week 1 loss to LSU with a 37-3 victory over Western Illinois. QB Tanner McEvoy did a better job in this one, throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a fourth, which is good news for Wisconsin fans considering QB Joel Stave is struggling with the 'yips.'

Earlier in the week, Wisconsin got bad news about starting nose tackle Warren Herring (out 4-6 weeks) and starting fullback Derek Watt (out until November), who were both hurt during the LSU loss.

The Badgers, who now sit at No. 17/18 in the polls, have off this weekend.

3. Nebraska

This pick might be a little suspect given the Cornhuskers near-meltdown at home to FCS McNeese State, but I'm going to keep them here for now. The last-minute win dropped Nebraska out of the AP poll but they still hang on at No. 19 in the Coaches Poll. By the way, if you haven't seen Ameer Abdullah's game-winning 58-yard run, you need to. The running back is a big reason why the Huskers sit at No. 6 in the nation for rushing yards through the first two weeks.

Sam Foltz was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after he averaged 51.2 yards on six punts last week, including three downed inside the 10-yard line.

The Huskers will travel to California to take on Fresno State on Saturday.

4. Ohio State

The Buckeyes were upset at home by Virginia Tech in a rough game for J.T. Barrett. Barrett completed just nine of 29 passes for 219 yards, throwing three interceptions against one touchdown. He did, however, rush for 70 yards and one TD. Ohio State showed some fight in rallying from a 21-7 halftime deficit, but ultimately sealed their fate when Barrett was picked off while attempting a game-tying drive with 46 seconds left.

OSU took hits in both polls, dropping to No. 22 in the AP poll and No. 18 in the Coaches. They also found out yesterday that backup center Chad Lindsay is stepping away from football due to injuries.

The Buckeyes will look to right the ship when they host Kent State on Saturday.

5. Penn State

The Nittany Lions struggled at times in a 21-3 win over Akron that included just seven first half points, but pulled it together in the second half to comfortably slide to 2-0. Christian Hackenberg wasn't as impressive as during his record-breaking Week 1 performance, but still threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns (and two interceptions). His arm has Penn State sitting at fifth in the nation in passing yards currently. The win also garnered the Nittany Lions 35 votes in the AP poll.

I'm sure you've heard the biggest news to come out of State College recently, which is that the NCAA has rescinded PSU's bowl ban (effective immediately) and scholarship reductions.

The Nittany Lions travel to Rutgers Saturday in a conference match up that should tell a lot more about both teams.

6. Iowa

The Hawkeyes once again struggled with a lesser opponent, and entered the fourth quarter down 13-3 to Ball State before walking away with a 17-13 victory thanks to two late touchdown passes by QB Jake Rudock. Rudock threw for 322 yards in all, while completing 33-of-52 of his passes.

Junior DE Drew Ott was named the B1G Defensive Player of the Week for his 13 tackles against Ball State, including five in the fourth quarter and 2.5 for loss.

The Hawkeyes host Iowa State on Saturday in what will be their third straight home game.

7. Maryland

I will go ahead and assume you've heard a thing or two about this team.

8. Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights join Maryland as one of just four B1G East teams who remain undefeated after taking down Howard 38-25. It wasn't as flashy as the team's opening night comeback against WSU, but QB Gary Nova threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns (with no interceptions) and Paul James caught two touchdowns on two catches for an even 100 yards on the day.

Yesterday, it was announced that former four-star safety Kiy Hester is transferring to Rutgers from Miami.

The Scarlet Knights will play their first Big Ten conference game Saturday when they host Penn State.

9. Minnesota

The Gophers are 2-0 after a 35-24 win over Middle Tennessee, which included a 28-0 lead at halftime. QB Mitch Leidner threw just 11 passes (completing five of them) for 67 yards, but David Cobb ran for 220 yards on the ground, including two touchdowns. His running has helped Minnesota rank 40th in the nation in rushing yards thus far, and his Week 2 performance was the first 200-yard rushing game by a Gopher since 2005.

For his efforts, Cobb was named Co-B1G Offensive Player of the Week.

Minnesota will travel to TCU this Saturday.

10. Michigan

After a solid Week 1 win, the Wolverines got embarrassed against now-No. 11 Notre Dame 31-0. It was Michigan's first shutout since 1984. QB Devin Gardner threw three interceptions, and no player rushed for more than 30 yards. Suffice to say, it was not the ending to the Michigan/Notre Dame series that the Wolverines were hoping for. It also left coach Brady Hoke imploring the fanbase that if they're really fans, they'll believe in the team.

Michigan will host Miami of Ohio in Week 3.

11. Indiana

The Hoosiers had a bye week in Week 2. However, their 455 rushing yards from college football's opening week still holds up as the nation's leading average.

Indiana will travel to Bowling Green on Saturday.

12. Illinois

The Fighting Illini are 2-0 after needing a 21-point fourth quarter to take down Western Kentucky. It is the second straight fourth-quarter comeback for Illinois. Quarterback Wes Lunt continued to shine, throwing for 456 yards, three TDs and one interception, including 10-of-11 completions in the final quarter. He has the Illini at No. 8 in the country for passing yards and he was named the Co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.

WR Mike Dudek was named the B1G Freshman of the Week for his 55 yards and one touchdown on five receptions.

The Illini will travel to face Washington in Week 3.

13. Northwestern

The Wildcats fell to 0-2 after a 23-15 lost to Northern Illinois, who reached the MAC championship game last year. Both teams were scoreless at halftime before the Huskies opened up a 23-7 lead late in the fourth quarter. Northwestern managed just 72 rushing yards and QB Trevor Siemian threw for 268 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The 'Cats were without injured top wide receiver Tony Jones. Here's a nifty film breakdown of the loss.

Northwestern has off this week and will look to regroup.

14. Purdue

The Boilermakers may be 1-1, but they followed up their first win over an FBS school since 2012 with a 38-17 loss to Central Michigan at home. Purdue used two quarterbacks, who combined for 24-of-49 passes, 204 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, leaving a quarterback controversy in West Lafayette.

Things likely won't get any easier for the Boilermakers, who play No. 11 Notre Dame in Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday.