Big Ten Football Power Rankings: Week 3

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Sep 12, 2015; Evanston, IL, USA; Northwestern Wildcats linebacker Anthony Walker (18) runs off the first during the first half of the game against the Eastern Illinois Panthers at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 Minnesota – No. 3 Northwestern

Remember when Minnesota nearly beat TCU in week one? Well, the Golden Gophers seemed to have a little bit of a big-game hangover in week two, narrowly defeating the Colorado State Rams, 23-20.

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Mitch Leidner had a tough day with his accuracy, but he threw for 233 yards and two scores. Drew Wolitarsky caught nine of those passes for 114 yards and a touchdown and looked like Leidner’s No. 1 receiver. Who would fill in for the departed David Cobb? Rodney Smith had himself a day with 108 yards on 21 carries.

Wisconsin needed to put the primetime loss to Alabama last week behind it this week. The Badgers did just that, defeating Miami (OH), 58-0, and looking like a true contender to win the Big Ten West.

Star running back Corey Clement didn’t dress, but that’s OK because junior running back Dare Ogunbowale had a career-day, rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown. Joel Stave looked solid once again, somewhat surprisingly, in the win, completing 19-of-30 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns while throwing a pick. As always, the defense was stingy.

The surprise team, so far, in the Big Ten has to be the Northwestern Wildcats as they’ve started the year 2-0, including a big week one upset over No. 21 Stanford.

Clayton Thorson didn’t get too many chances to throw the ball in his second career start, but looked good when he did so, completing 11-of-16 passes for 152 yards and a score. On a day when running dominated for Northwestern over Eastern Illinois, racking up 344 yards as a team on the ground, Justin Jackson led the way with 78 yards and a touchdown.

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