Big Ten Football Power Rankings: Week 2

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Sep 5, 2015; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats running back Justin Jackson (21) runs the ball during the second half against the Stanford Cardinal at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 Maryland – No. 6 Iowa

Maryland began the season with a big win over FCS squad Richmond. The Spiders don’t necessarily have any firepower to keep up with a Big Ten program, and that showed on Saturday as the Terrapins romped Richmond, 50-21.

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This wasn’t a statement win, by any means, but it was a confidence-booster for the Terrapins heading into week two. Junior quarterback Perry Hills got the nod, starting his first game, as he passed for 138 yards and two scores — not overly impressive. Senior running back Brandon Ross was the star, rushing 18 times for 150 yards and a touchdown in the win as the team’s run game had 341 yards.

Stanford came to Evanston, Ill., with the intention of putting a beatdown on one of the Big Ten’s bottom-dwellers, at least on paper, for the first game of the year. However, Northwestern responded to everything the Cardinal threw at it and overcame all odds to win, 16-6, in major upset fashion.

Despite being the home team, Northwestern was a two-touchdown underdog. However, the Wildcats’ defense looked stout, holding Stanford to just 240 yards of total offense. First-year starting quarterback Clayton Thorson looked better running the ball — 68 yards and a score — than he did passing — 105 yards. Justin Jackson was electric in the run game as well, finishing with 134 yards.

Iowa is kind of that wild card team every season. You never really know what kind of team the Hawkeyes will be, but the opener showed that they are pretty solid all the way around.

Although the final score was closer than the game actually was against Illinois State, 31-14, the Hawkeyes relied on C.J. Beathard who passed for 211 yards and a touchdown, and looked great. Junior running back LeShun Daniels Jr. was solid as well, rushing for 123 yards while Beathard added two touchdowns on the ground.

Next: No. 5 Nebraska-No. 3 Minnesota