Did you know? Big Ten title game

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
11:00
AM ET
Some notes and nuggets to get you ready for the inaugural Big Ten championship game Saturday night between No. 13 Michigan State and No. 15 Wisconsin.

Thanks to the folks at ESPN Stats & Information for most of these:
  • Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins completed all nine of his pass attempts when facing three or fewer pass-rushers on a play in Michigan State's win over Wisconsin, including 4-of-4 on the game-winning drive.
  • Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was not touched on 18 of his 29 rushing touchdowns this season.
  • Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson is completing 51.3 percent of his passes of 15-plus yards this season and only has two interceptions in 80 attempts. Both interceptions came against Michigan State. Dating back to Week 9 of last season -- when Wilson played for NC State -- he has thrown just three interceptions in his last 130 throws of 15 yards or longer. Wilson's teams are 0-3 in games over the past two seasons when he throws two or more interceptions on these throws. He has significantly improved his accuracy on these throws from last year, when he connected on just 33.6 percent of his passes.
  • Ball has more rushing yards and 13 more rushing touchdowns than any other player in the nation since Nov. 13, 2010, when Wisconsin's top running back John Clay went down with an injury. Since that point, Ball leads FBS players in rush yards (2,272), rushing touchdowns (41) and rushes of 15 yards or longer (40).
  • Spartans senior wideout B.J. Cunningham has emerged as Cousins' big-play threat. Cunningham has four of the team’s five receiving touchdowns on passes of 20 yards or longer this season, including one last week against Northwestern. The lone Spartan touchdown on one of these throws not caught by Cunningham was the "Hail Mary" catch by Keith Nichol against Wisconsin.
  • After sharing the Big Ten Championship a year ago, the squads are targeting consecutive conference crowns. Michigan State, which has won seven Big Ten titles, looks for consecutive Big Ten crowns for the first time since the 1965 and 1966 seasons. Wisconsin, winners of 12 Big Ten Championships in program history, looks for back-to-back conference titles for the first time since 1998 and 1999.
  • The 20-point mark has become significant for Wisconsin under coach Bret Bielema. The Badgers are 41-2 in his tenure, including 18 straight wins, when limiting its opponent to 20 points or less. Conversely, Wisconsin is 54-7 when scoring more than 20 points.

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