• For the first time in the history of the Associated Press college football poll (established in 1936), the Big Ten has five teams ranked in the top 10. Iowa leads the conference at No. 2, followed by No. 6 Ohio State, No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 Michigan, and No. 10 Michigan State.
• Three Big Ten teams remain undefeated on the season, as Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State are all 6-0. Additionally, Ohio State is 3-0 in conference play and 2-0 in the East Division.
• No. 2 Iowa defeated then-No. 4 Penn State, 23-20, to earn its first win over a top-5 opponent since the Hawkeyes defeated No. 3 Ohio State on Nov. 4, 2017. The Hawkeyes have now won six straight games against ranked opponents dating back to 2019, marking Iowa’s longest streak since a six-game stretch in 1960. The Iowa defense has now held 28 straight opponents to fewer than 25 points and ranks in the top-5 nationally in the following defensive categories: scoring defense (4th, 13.0 ppg), turnover margin (1st, 2.50 per game) and team defensive passing efficiency (3rd, 89.65).
• Iowa has won 12 consecutive games dating back to last season and has outscored its opponents, 403-161, during the winning streak.
• Michigan State defeated Rutgers, 31-13, and is now 6-0 for the ninth time in school history and the first time since 2015. The Spartans offense exploded in the win for 588 total yards and became just the fifth team in FBS history to have a 300-yard passer (Payton Thorne, 339), 200-yard rusher (Kenneth Walker III, 233) and 200-yard receiver (Jalen Nailor, 221) in the same game. The last team to accomplish the feat was Oklahoma State in 2008.
• In 2021, the Spartans have received top-5 single-game FBS performances from Kenneth Walker III (2nd, 264 rushing yards at Northwestern on Sept. 3), Jalen Nailor (4th, 221 receiving yards at Rutgers on Oct. 9), Jayden Reed (4th, 285 all-purpose yards vs. Western Kentucky on Oct. 2) and Jayden Reed (5th, 88 punt return yards vs. Western Kentucky on Oct. 2).
• Ohio State topped Maryland, 66-17, marking the fifth time in six games that the Buckeyes have scored more than 40 points. The Ohio State offense has now scored more than 50 points in each of its last three games and leads the nation in total offense (563.2 ypg), while ranking third in scoring offense (48.5 ppg.) and third in team passing efficiency (187.76). The Buckeyes offense also ranks second in the country in third-down conversation percentage (.565 pct.).
• Ohio State freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns in the win over Maryland and has now registered two 400-yard passing games this season (484 vs. Oregon on Sept. 11) and five passing touchdowns in back-to-back games. Stroud ranks third in the country with a passer efficiency of 191.2 and is sixth in the FBS in passing yards per game (339.8).
• Michigan defeated Nebraska, 32-19, to remain unbeaten and is 6-0 for the first time since 2016. The Wolverines currently rank among the top 20 nationally in both scoring offense (15th, 38.5 ppg) and scoring defense (9th, 15.5 ppg).
• Wisconsin secured its first conference win of the season with a 24-0 victory over Illinois. The shutout marked the Badgers’ first since a 38-0 win over Michigan State on Oct. 12, 2019 and the school’s first road shutout of a Big Ten team since a 31-0 win at Minnesota on Nov. 25, 2017. Wisconsin outgained Illinois 391 yards to 26 yards on the ground, marking the fourth time in five games that the Badgers have held their opponent to 50 rushing yards or less. This season, the Badgers rank second in the nation in total defense (217.8 ypg), first in rushing defense (41.4 ypg) and third in defensive third-down conversion percentage (.239).
• Thirteen Big Ten Conference students are among the 176 semifinalists for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy. Now in its 32nd year, the Campbell Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete. Representing the Big Ten as this year’s Campbell Trophy semifinalists are Illinois’ Doug Kramer, Indiana’s Jack Tuttle, Iowa’s Zach VanValkenburg, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan State’s AJ Arcuri, Minnesota’s Conner Olson, Nebraska’s Ben Stille, Northwestern’s Sam Gerak, Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert, Penn State’s Sean Clifford, Purdue’s Zander Horvath, Rutgers’ Noah Vedral and Wisconsin’s Matt Henningsen.
• All six of the New Year’s Six bowl games have had a chance to host a semifinal game twice with the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl doing so three times. This year, the Cotton and Orange Bowls will serve as semifinal games. Last year, Alabama became the second-straight No. 1 seed to win the playoff. The No. 1 seed didn’t win a title in the first five years. The No. 2 seed has won it three times and the No. 4 seed has won it twice. The No. 3 seed has won just three playoff games in seven years with Ohio State winning one of those last season.
MAC Commissioner DR. JON STEINBRECHER