Top Teams In Big Ten Avoid Nonconference Hiccups

GENARO C. ARMAS, AP Sports Writer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin badgered Akron. Michigan manhandled Central Florida. Iowa overwhelmed Iowa State.

With Big Ten play looming in a couple weeks, the conference’s top teams took advantage of what on paper at least looked like weaker Week 2 opponents.

These wins are by no means automatic for power conference schools. Just ask Oklahoma State .

Clemson and Georgia had some nervous moments, too.

“These are limited opportunities you get, and I think you’ve got to learn to appreciate each opportunity,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chyrst said Saturday. “All we’ve got to focus on is ourselves and maximize each opportunity.”

Chryst had his team focused and ready. The Badgers led 30-10 at halftime on the way to a 44-point rout of the Zips.

Ohio State got off to what would be considered a sluggish start for the Buckeyes in a 48-3 win over Tulsa. Ohio State didn’t score an offensive touchdown until quarterback J.T. Barrett rushed in for a score with 9:42 left in the third quarter.

“But good teams pick up each other,” coach Urban Meyer said.

The Buckeyes defense is in midseason form after intercepting four passes, including pick-sixes.

Week 3 promises to be a bit more challenging for the Buckeyes, who will face Oklahoma and quarterback Baker Mayfield on the road.

“Obviously, the challenge will come next week against a very good team, and we’re going to jump on that one early and get ready to go” Meyer said.

Wisconsin has already passed its big nonconference test after defeating then-No. 5 LSU at Lambeau Field in the season opener. So for the Badgers, the two weeks between the Tigers and their Big Ten opener on Sept. 24 against Michigan State are about building momentum and keeping a chip on their collective shoulders.

Chryst’s club has gone from unranked in the polls to a Top 10 team thanks to the win over LSU.

“We didn’t want to show that we were too excited and thinking about (LSU) … We wanted to go and move on to Akron, and we’re going to do the same thing next week here,” Wisconsin outside linebacker T.J. Watt said.

Ohio State moved up one spot to No. 3 in AP Top 25 poll released Sunday. Wisconsin moved up a spot to ninth. The Badgers play winless Georgia State in Week 3.

Also among the Big Ten’s ranked and unbeaten teams:

MICHIGAN: Moved up one spot to fourth after trouncing Central Florida . Colorado, also 2-0, might provide a little bit more of a challenge in the Big House on Sept. 17.

MICHIGAN STATE: Stayed at No. 12 after an early bye week. They probably appreciated the break with a trip to No. 18 Notre Dame coming up on Sept. 17.

IOWA: Moved up three spots to 13th after beating the in-state rival Cyclones . FCS school North Dakota State visits Kinnick Stadium next week.

“At the beginning of the week our focus was just on having a relentless week of preparation, starting with our concentration and execution on both sides of the ball and special teams,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “The goal there is to improve, and that’s something we’re trying to do on a weekly basis.”

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Online: AP College Football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org/

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Follow Genaro Armas at: https://twitter.com/GArmasAP

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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