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AP Top 25 risers and fallers: Indiana joins the party

Profile Picture: Jason Ence

October 28th, 2020

For the first time this season, we will see teams from all five power conferences playing football this weekend. However, there was quite a bit of movement in this week’s AP Top 25, as the Big Ten kicked off its season with a big upset.

Let’s look at the biggest risers and fallers were from Week 8 of the college football season.

Rising: Indiana

Last week's ranking: Unranked. This week: 17th.

The Hoosiers made one heck of a statement Saturday, when they knocked off No. 8 Penn State, 36-35, in a thrilling overtime victory.

It did not come without controversy, as quarterback Michael Penix Jr. scored on a two-point conversion to end the game on a play that looked like he was short of the goal line.

Nonetheless, Indiana was able to make an outstanding drive to end regulation, with a score and a two-point conversion, just to send the game to OT.

Indiana will follow up its first win in 33 years over top 10 with a trip to Rutgers, which won its opening game over Michigan State, 38-27. If the Hoosiers can take home the victory, they would host Michigan the following week in a matchup that could be a top 15 clash.

Falling: Penn State

Last week's ranking: eighth. This week: 18th.

Things went quite badly for the Nittany Lions on Saturday, but they likely should have beaten Indiana.

They outgained the Hoosiers 488-211, held the ball for more than 40 minutes, and committed three turnovers.

They likely cost themselves the game by scoring a touchdown with 1:42 left. With the Hoosiers down by a point, they allowed the Nittany Lions a free run to the end zone. Rather than going down to eat more clock, Penn State scored the touchdown, which gave Indiana enough time to drive down the field and force overtime.

Now they must turn right around and regroup as they host an Ohio State team on Saturday that looked quite dominant in their opening game of the season as QB Justin Fields completed all but one of his pass attempts. A defeat would all but knocked them out of the Big Ten title race after just two weeks.

Rising: Wisconsin

Last week's ranking: 14th. This week: ninth.

The Badgers jumped up in this week’s poll, following an impressive opening win over Illinois on Friday.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz was outstanding, with five touchdown passes, and only threw one incompletion on 21 attempts

However, Mertz tested positive for COVID-19, and the Badgers' game with Nebraska this weekend has been canceled because of a coronavirus outbreak with Wisconsin.

Falling: SMU

Last week's ranking: 16th. This week: 22nd.

SMU should not have been favored against Cincinnati.

The Mustangs were dominated in the second half of a 42-13 game that saw Cincinnati rush for more than 300 yards on just 35 carries. That included a 91-yard touchdown run by quarterback Desmond Ridder in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

SMU’s unbeaten run is over, but the rest of their schedule doesn’t pose many threats. If the Mustangs run the table, they will get a rematch with the Bearcats at the end of the season for the conference championship.

However, if their run defense doesn’t improve, that won't matter.

Rising: Michigan

Last week's ranking: 18th. This week: 13th.

The Wolverines took care of Minnesota on Saturday, with a 49-24 victory. A trendy pick to pull off an upset, the Golden Gophers saw their early 7-0 lead vanish in one play, and they trailed 21-10 after the first quarter.

The Wolverines poured it on late in the half to take a 35-17 lead and pulled away after the halftime break.

The Wolverines racked up nearly 500 yards of offense, as highly touted quarterback Joe Milton threw for 225 yards and a touchdown. Running backs Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet combined to run for 152 yards on just ten carries and found  the end zone three times, as each broke runs of 66 yards or more.

Michigan will now turn its attention to rival Michigan State on Saturday, with potential ranked matchups with Indiana and Wisconsin looming


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