Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer 385d

Big Ten Week 5 power rankings: Penn State solidifies top spot, Michigan State moves up

Penn State solidified its place at the top once again this week after a 45-14 win over Indiana. Ohio State dominated Rutgers again this season, which keeps the Buckeyes at No. 3.

This week had a few close wins and surprise losses, which lead to some movement toward the middle and bottom of the power rankings. Here is a look at this week’s rankings for the conference.

1. Penn State (previous ranking: 1): The Nittany Lions beat Indiana convincingly, with a huge showing from running back Saquon Barkley. Penn State is rolling right now, and it’s tough to imagine having another team in this top spot right now. That might change as we get into the teeth of the conference schedule, but for now, Penn State stays on top.

2. Wisconsin (2): The Badgers had a little trouble with Northwestern, going back and forth throughout the game before finally putting the Wildcats away in a 33-24 win. Wisconsin had some issues, but that’s not a bad Northwestern team, so the Badgers stay at the No. 2 spot this week.

3. Ohio State (3): J.T. Barrett became Ohio State’s all-time leading passer in the game at Rutgers, putting up 275 yards with three passing touchdowns on the night. The Buckeyes won 56-0 and didn’t show many weaknesses. They could start to make a case for the No. 2 spot if this type of play continues.

4. Michigan (4): Michigan was idle this week in what coach Jim Harbaugh deemed an improvement week.

5. Purdue (5): Purdue also had a bye week, so the Boilermakers will stay at No. 5 as well. The next game is against Minnesota, so that should be a good test to help figure out where the middle of this pack is.

6. Michigan State (11): The Spartans looked better against Iowa than expected, and quarterback Brian Lewerke threw for two touchdowns with no interceptions in the game. There were still some mistakes in the game, but it looked as though Michigan State was showing some improvement, winning 17-10 against an Iowa team that had just taken Penn State to the brink.

7. Maryland (10): Despite losing its two starting quarterbacks, Maryland was able to come away with a win against Minnesota on the road. Quarterback Max Bortenschlager threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions, which might give the Terps a little confidence going forward. The schedule gets tougher, though, so this ranking might not hold up.

8. Iowa (5): The Hawkeyes drop down to eight after the loss to Michigan State. It was not a great game for Iowa, especially for quarterback Nate Stanley. No touchdowns on the day for Stanley, but what was more concerning was that the team had only 19 total rush yards.

9. Indiana (6): The Hoosiers had a tough task with Penn State, and it didn’t start well. Barkley took the opening kick back for a touchdown, and it was downhill from there. The Hoosiers are an improved team from last season and fight until the end, but they’re just not there yet.

10. Minnesota (8): This was a good opportunity for the Gophers to get off to a 4-0 start with Maryland down to its third-string quarterback. They put up a good fight in a 31-24 loss, but it ultimately wasn’t enough. Coach P.J. Fleck warned ahead of the game that Tom Brady was once a backup quarterback, so it didn’t matter whom Maryland put on the field -- the Gophers needed to be ready. A win would have been a big catapult as they still have Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin to face.

11. Northwestern (9): The Wildcats lost 33-24 to Wisconsin after making it somewhat interesting in the fourth quarter. Northwestern is now 2-2 on the season and has to play Penn State next. This team seems to have the potential to push forward, but we just haven’t seen it yet.

12. Nebraska (12): The Cornhuskers stay put at No. 12 after beating Illinois in convincing fashion 28-6, but it’s tough to say what Illinois is at this point and what kind of win this was for the Huskers. Quarterback Tanner Lee had no interceptions on the day, but the win isn’t enough to move them up just yet -- they're now sitting at 3-2 overall.

13. Illinois (14): Illinois moves up one spot even after losing to Nebraska. This team is now 2-2 and still has to play Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Ohio State and Northwestern.

14. Rutgers (13): Rutgers had a tough test with Ohio State and lost 56-0. The Scarlet Knights lost 58-0 to the Buckeyes last season, and while they were playing one of the best teams in the country, you would hope for a little improvement from last season. Rutgers still has a long way to go.

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