When Michigan State came to Purdue a passing duel was anticipated, because the Spartans were quarterbacked by Ed Smith, the Big Ten passing leader in 1976, and the Boilermakers by Mark Herrmann, who led the conference last season as a freshman. State went in front 14-0 when Smith went over from three yards out. However, in the process, he suffered a possible hairline fracture of the second finger of his throwing hand and was through for the day. As for Herrmann, he had his worst game as a collegian, hitting on only seven of 23 passes for 85 yards. Herrmann's biggest play against the Spartans was one called by Coach Jim Young. That came when Purdue had a fourth-and-four at mid-field with the score 14-all and 4:43 to go. Following orders, Herrmann went into a long count and then had the backfield shift into a single wing. The strategy worked, drawing the Spartans offside and giving the Boilermakers a first down. Fullback John Macon then ran for 12 yards and went right up the middle on the next play for the final 33 to make Purdue a 21-14 victor.
Michigan's new wishbone offense was too powerful for Illinois, which lost 31-0. In another Big Ten game, Iowa beat Northwestern 20-3. In non-conference matchups, Minnesota drubbed Toledo 38-12, and Wisconsin edged Richmond 7-6.
1. OKLAHOMA (2-0)
2. MICHIGAN (1-0)
3. COLORADO (2-0)