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

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.