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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Big Ten struggles against other power conferences in opening weekend

(AP photo)
By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

The Big Ten didn't do itself too many favors Saturday, scarred by No. 14 Wisconsin coughing up a 17-point lead in the third quarter to No. 13 LSU. 

A team-by-team look at Rutgers' 2014 opponents, which went 7-4 this week: 

Akron 41, Howard 0: The Bison managed only 68 passing yards Thursday against the MAC school.

Penn State 26, UCF 24: Sam Ficken's last-second field goal lifted the Nittany Lions to their first win under James Franklin. Emerging star Christian Hackenberg set a school record with 454 pass yards in Dublin, Ireland.

Your team-by-team Big Ten football preview guide

No. 5 Ohio State 34, Navy 17: A matchup of two future Rutgers opponents, Navy held a 14-13 third-quarter lead before Urban Meyer's offense heated up. Buckeyes redshirt freshman JT Barrett was sound in his first start with 276 all-purpose yards.

Tulsa 38, Tulane 31 (2 OT): The Green Wave blew an 8-point lead late in the fourth quarter, and kicker Andrew DiRocco missed a 21-yarder with 1:46 left in his AAC debut.

Michigan 52, Appalachian State 14: The Wolverines avenged an upset loss in 2007 behind Devin Funchess's three touchdown receptions. Paramus Catholic's Jabrill Peppers played only the first half with an ankle injury.

No. 22 Nebraska 55, Florida Atlantic 7: Heisman hopeful Ameer Abdullah racked up 232 rush yards as the Huskers breezed past the school that used to employ Bo Pelini's brother, Carl.

No. 13 LSU 28, No. 14 Wisconsin 24: Bergen Catholic's Tanner McEvoy finished a woeful 8-for-24 for 50 yards and two interceptions, and star back Melvin Gordon mysteriously disappeared late in the game.

But hey, at least the Badgers introduced us to Brazilian kicker Rafael Gaglianone.

Indiana 28, Indiana State 10: Tevin Coleman amassed twice as many rush yards (248) as the Sycamores' total yards as a team (170).

No. 8 Michigan State 45, Jacksonville State 7: The Spartans ripped off 38 unanswered points, but quarterback Connor Cook and running back Jeremy Langford suffered injuries. Both told reporters afterward they are OK.

Maryland 52, James Madison 7: Quarterback C.J. Brown was pedestrian, finishing 11-for-24 for 111 yards and a score.
(AP photo)

Lastly, my Week 1 power rankings for the Big Ten East Division:

1. Michigan State (1-0): Sparty has all the makings for another dominant defense.

2. Ohio State (1-0): A tough opener with Navy behind it, OSU can breathe easier.
3. Michigan (1-0): Maybe Devin Gardner will develop into a dual threat?
4. Penn State (1-0): Sanctions still obvious, but enough talent at skill positions.
5. Rutgers (1-0): Gets the nod by beating a meaningful opponent.
6. Indiana (1-0): Didn't show it, but might be league's top offense.
7. Maryland (1-0): Not sold on the Terps with Brown under center.

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