Saturday, December 31, 2011
Getting to know Wisconsin
By ESPN.com staff
The more you read about Wisconsin, the more impressive the Badgers are, particularly on offense. Here are some factoids, numbers and notes Oregon fans might find interesting in advance of the Rose Bowl.
The takeaway from the below numbers: Wisconsin is extremely balanced and efficient. And it doesn't turn the ball over.
- Like Oregon, Wisconsin is one of just six teams to win at least 10 games each of the past three seasons. The others are Alabama, TCU, Boise State and Virginia Tech. Over the past six seasons, the Badgers are 60-18, and their .769 winning percentage ranks ninth in the nation.
- The Badgers lost at Michigan State and Ohio State by a combined 10 points this year, with both games decided in the waning moments.
- Wisconsin has turned the ball over just eight times this year (four fumbles, four interceptions). That total is tied for the fewest in the nation.
- Wisconsin is ranked second in the nation in passing efficiency and red zone offense. It's third in third-down conversion percentage (54 percent).
- As for that red zone offense, it's all about touchdowns. The Badgers converted 61 of 70 red zone possessions into touchdowns. That touchdown percentage -- .871 -- was No. 1 in the nation.
- Wisconsin starts fast. It has outscored foes 149-38 in the first quarter and converted 67.5 percent of its third downs in the opening frame. It also is good after halftime: It's scored touchdowns on 10 of 13 initial possessions after halftime. Only Ohio State scored on its first possession of the third quarter against the Badgers.
- The Badgers played four games against teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation in total defense. They averaged 36.5 points in those games.
- RB Montee Ball leads the nation with 32 rushing touchdowns. QB Russell Wilson ranks second in the nation in passing efficiency.
- Wilson is lights out on third down. He's completed 75 percent of his third down passes for 668 yards and 16 touchdowns. The pass efficiency rating on that is a mind-blowing 217.2. On third-and-goal, Wilson is 7-for-7 with seven touchdowns, which works out to a 463.6 efficiency rating.
- The Badgers are the first team in FBS history to have a player throw at least 30 touchdown passes (Wilson) and a running back rush for at least 30 touchdowns (Ball).
- Ball, by the way, has scored 38 total touchdowns -- six receiving -- and has scored at least two in every game this season, the longest multiple touchdown streak in FBS history. Ball needs two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl to break Barry Sanders' NCAA record of 39 touchdowns, which he scored in his 1988 Heisman Trophy winning season.
- Ball, by the way, has not lost a fumble in his career. That's over three seasons and 536 carries and 45 receptions.
- Wilson has thrown 139 passes without an interception. Sixteen of those 139 passes went for touchdowns. He threw 31 touchdown passes with just three picks this season.
- Wilson entered the postseason with an efficiency rating of 191.6. Baylor's Robert Griffin was No. 1 entering the postseason, but his efficiency rating fell to 189.5 after the Bears beat Washington in the Alamo Bowl. In any event, Wilson appears poised to -- with Griffin -- break the NCAA efficiency record of 186.0 set by Hawaii's Colt Brennan in 2006.
- Badgers WRs Nick Toon and Jared Abbrederis each caught at least 50 passes for over 800 yards this year. TE Jacob Pedersen caught eight touchdown passes.