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October 4, 2011

Power rankings: Wilson the leader of the pack

Rivals.com Power Rankings by Position: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST
Coaches Power Rankings: Head Coach | Off. Coordinator | Def. Coordinator

Russell Wilson carried N.C. State's offense to such an extent the past three seasons that it was tempting to wonder what he might accomplish if he had more talent around him.

Now we know.

Wilson continued to take the Big Ten by storm Saturday as he threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third score while leading Wisconsin to a 48-17 rout of Nebraska. The performance made Wilson the new No. 1 quarterback in the Rivals.com College Football Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

"[The victory over Nebraska is] huge for our football team, huge for our football program," Wilson told reporters after the game. "... To play a great game like that against a great team in Nebraska is pretty awesome."

[Dienhart: Wisconsin stakes claim to national title status ]

Wilson ranks second nationally in passing efficiency and directs an offense that is third in the nation with 48.4 points per game. Wilson has thrown 13 touchdown passes and only one interception this season.

Wilson transferred to Wisconsin after Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien named Mike Glennon his starting quarterback during the spring. Wilson sat out spring practice and spent the summer playing minor league baseball.

Wilson took over the top spot in the power rankings from Baylor's Robert Griffin, who threw for 346 yards and five touchdowns Saturday but also tossed a critical interception that led to the winning points in a 36-35 loss to Kansas State.

In another change atop the power rankings, Alabama's Trent Richardson takes over as the No. 1 running back this week after rushing for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-10 rout of Florida. Richardson moved ahead of South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore, who was limited to 66 yards on 17 carries in a 16-13 loss to Auburn.

As Lattimore fell in the rankings, one of his teammates moved to the top of his position. South Carolina's Melvin Ingram is the new No. 1 defensive lineman after his dominant performance in a losing cause. Ingram recorded 11 tackles -- 4.5 for loss -- plus 3.5 sacks and an interception against Auburn.

"I don't really pay attention to individual stats," Ingram said afterward. "It doesn't matter to me how great of a night we have because if we have a loss, it doesn't mean anything."

Ingram took over the top spot from Nebraska's Jared Crick, whose team allowed 231 rushing yards and 486 total yards in its loss to Wisconsin.

[Rivals.com experts: Week 5 what we learned]

But Nebraska kick returner Ameer Abdullah moves to the top of the special teams rankings. Abdullah is the nation's leading kickoff returner with an average of 35.1 yards per attempt. He also ranks 18th nationally in punt returns (12.0 yards per return). Abdullah moves ahead of Bowling Green punter Brian Schmiedebusch.

Those represent the only changes at the top of the power rankings this week. Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, Georgia tight end Orson Charles, Boise State offensive tackle Nate Potter, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, Alabama coach Nick Saban, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis remain atop their respective positions.

The rankings put a special emphasis on recent performances while also taking career achievements into consideration. Our coordinator rankings exclude coordinators who don't call their own plays or signals.

Rivals.com Power Rankings by Position: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST
Coaches Power Rankings: Head Coach | Off. Coordinator | Def. Coordinator

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.

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