Sports

Rushing offense, defense key components for contenders in the Big Ten

  • Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde (34) scores over Northwestern safety Traveon Henry during the second half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, in Evanston, Ill. Ohio State won 40-30. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde (34) scores over Northwestern safety Traveon Henry during the second half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, in Evanston, Ill. Ohio State won 40-30. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)  (The Associated Press)

  • Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah (8) runs past Illinois linebacker T.J. Neal (52) in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. Abdullah ran for a career-high 225 yards and two touchdowns in Nebraska's 39-19 win. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah (8) runs past Illinois linebacker T.J. Neal (52) in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. Abdullah ran for a career-high 225 yards and two touchdowns in Nebraska's 39-19 win. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iowa running back Damon Bullock, right, is tackled by Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, in Iowa City, Iowa. Michigan State won 26-14. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

    Iowa running back Damon Bullock, right, is tackled by Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, in Iowa City, Iowa. Michigan State won 26-14. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)  (The Associated Press)

With a full week of league play in the books, a familiar trend has emerged in the Big Ten.

Running the ball — and stopping others from doing likewise — will likely be huge for teams hoping to contend in the conference this season.

Five Big Ten teams rank in the top 25 nationally in rushing offense, the most of any conference in the country. The Big Ten is also first with six teams ranked in the top 20 in rushing defense, and four of them; Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan, are among the top 10.

By contrast, Indiana is the only league team in the top 30 in passing offense.