No. 21 Maryland, Purdue’s Sindelar carry Big Ten into Week 3

No. 21 Maryland and Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar headline Big Ten news in Week 3.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley throws under pressure during Iowa’s game against Iowa State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 8, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones 13-3.

Pete Mills, Sports Reporter

It’s only Week 3 of the football season, but storylines and drama are already developing in the Big Ten.

The conference is posting some of its strongest numbers in the last two decades, and certain programs are emerging as unexpected powerhouses. With surprises and standout performances coming from all over the conference, The Daily Iowan has the biggest news in the Big Ten covered.

Maryland rises to No. 21 in AP Poll

After a 63-20 win over Syracuse last week, Maryland rocketed into the AP Poll. The Terrapins replaced the Orange as the No. 21 team in the country, helping Maryland earn its first national ranking since 2013.

Not much was expected for the Terrapins this year. After a turbulent 2018 that saw the dramatic firing of former head coach D.J. Durkin, Maryland hired Alabama offensive coordinator Michael Locksley to help steady the ship. Lineman Jordan McNair died last season due to heat stroke suffered at a practice, and tensions became particularly high between the coaching staff and the players. Locksley said he’s been focused on creating great relationships with his team and moving on from the tragedy.

“We’ve stabilized the program,” Locksley said at Big Ten Media Days. “We all know about what happened last year, and it was really important for us to come in and… do a really good job of developing a meaningful relationship with our players.”

On the field, the team’s offense has been phenomenal so far this season; the Terrapins have scored a combined 142 points through just two games. Virginia Tech transfer and current Terrapin quarterback Josh Jackson gives Locksley’s team some much-needed stability, and he’s been dependable so far this year. Through two games, Jackson has thrown for 541 yards and 7 touchdowns with only 1 interception.

RELATED: Iowa defense steps up to shut out Rutgers

Ten undefeated teams in Big Ten entering Week 3

Ten teams in the conference are undefeated — each with 2 wins apiece — entering the third week of the season. That accounts for a winning percentage of .880 in nonconference games so far, the best such winning percentage in 15 years.

The Big Ten has been left out of the College Football Playoff for the past two seasons. This strong start to the season has Big Ten teams feeling confident about the season, and there are several programs that could make a run at the playoff this year.

“When you look at what it takes, we recruit nationally, we have national television second to none, we have resources, we’ve reinvented our stadiums, we have world-class, national-class coaches who have demonstrated success before they ever came here,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney said at Big Ten Media Days. “I think I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see more of a dominating presence for Big Ten football over the next half-decade to decade.’

Purdue’s Sindelar given conference honors after standout performance

Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar earned an Offensive Player of the Week honor from the conference after an impressive performance against Vanderbilt last week.

The senior threw for 509 yards and 5 touchdowns, already the second game of the season in which he’s thrown for over 400 yards. But Sindelar sustained a hit on Purdue’s last offensive play of the game and was treated for a concussion. It’s unclear as to whether he’ll take the field in Purdue’s game against Texas Christian on Saturday.

“I think him and quite a few guys got nicked up, and we’ll see how they heal up this week,” Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm said. “We’re hopeful that him and a lot of our guys will be ready to play, but we’ll probably let that play out a little more to the end of the week.”