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September 14, 2010

Power rankings: Big Ten makes big statement

Power Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST
Head coach | Offensive coach | Defensive coach

It's a big week for the Big Ten in the Rivals.com College Football Power Rankings.

Michigan's Denard Robinson is the new No. 1 quarterback and Ohio State's Chimdi Chekwa has emerged as the top defensive back in the latest edition of the power rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

Robinson and Chekwa join Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan and Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones as Big Ten performers ranked first at their respective positions. No other conference has more than three representatives atop the power rankings.

Robinson soared to the No. 1 spot after almost single-handedly leading Michigan to a 28-24 victory at Notre Dame. Robinson rushed for 258 yards and two touchdowns -- including the winning 2-yard carry with 27 seconds remaining -- and threw for 244 yards and a third score. His 87-yard sprint around the right end late in the second quarter was the longest touchdown run in Notre Dame Stadium history.

Robinson, a sophomore, accounted for 502 of Michigan's 532 yards in total offense. Robinson leads the nation in rushing yards (455) and total yards (885).

"Let's be patient," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez told reporters afterward. "This is [his] second game as a starter. [He's] still going to hit bumps in the road. But if he keeps making progress like this, it's going to be pretty exciting."

Robinson moved ahead of Boise State's Kellen Moore, whose team was off last weekend.

Chekwa, a senior cornerback, grabbed the No. 1 position in the defensive back rankings after intercepting two passes from Miami quarterback Jacory Harris in Ohio State's 36-24 victory over the Hurricanes. Chekwa's two interceptions led to 10 points for Ohio State.

He also made six tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.

"We knew to get a lot of pressure on him," Chekwa told reporters afterward. "We saw last year that [Harris] made a lot of bad decisions when there was a lot of pressure in the pocket, and he'd sometimes just throw the ball up for grabs."

Chekwa took over the top spot from LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, who delivered one solo tackle in LSU's 27-3 victory over Vanderbilt.

Although Peterson no longer is our No. 1 defensive back, he moved to the top of the power rankings in the special-teams category. Peterson moved ahead of UCLA kicker Kai Forbath, who missed a 49-yard field goal in a 35-0 loss to Stanford.

The only other change atop the power rankings comes at offensive coordinator. Oklahoma's Kevin Wilson surged to the No. 1 spot after the Sooners reached the end zone on each of their first four possessions in a 47-17 victory over Florida State. Wilson replaced Auburn's Gus Malzahn, whose team failed to score in the second half of a 17-14 triumph at Mississippi State.

Carimi, Jones, Kerrigan, Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas, Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles, Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph, Alabama coach Nick Saban and TCU defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas remained atop their respective positions.

The power rankings measure overall career performances as well as a player or coach's most recent results. The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how he fared the previous week. Our coordinator rankings exclude coordinators who don't call their own plays or signals.

Power Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST
Head coach | Offensive coach | Defensive coach

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.

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