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Wisconsin Football: 10 Startling Statistics of the Team's Season so Far

Nick HartCorrespondent IOctober 2, 2012

Wisconsin Football: 10 Startling Statistics of the Team's Season so Far

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    The 2012 season for the Wisconsin Badgers has not turned out like expected. The Badgers are currently 3-2 following a collapse against Nebraska. This Wisconsin squad was expected to be a shoe-in for the Big Ten title game this year, but that is no longer the case.

    Here's a look at the 10 most startling stats from this year's Badger squad.   

No. 1

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    Stat: Wisconsin ranks 109th in total offense.

    This stat sums up how terrible the Badgers offense has been this year. The offense can't move the ball consistently, as the offensive line has struggled. The offensive line struggles have created a trickle-down effect throughout the whole offense, with every unit unable to find consistency.

    Considering the talent and preseason hype for the unit, this stat is incredibly startling.  

No. 2

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    Stat: Wisconsin ranks 39th in total defense.  

    Considering the beatdown the defense suffered during the Rose Bowl defeat, the Badgers defense was a liability coming into the season.  

    However, the opposite has been true. The Wisconsin defense has been the best unit for the team so far and is the main reason the Badgers have been in all of their games. As long as the defense keeps playing well, the Badgers will have a shot to win every game.

No. 3

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    Stat: The Badger's rank 97th in scoring offense.

    Wisconsin is really struggling to find the end zone, averaging only a little more than 22 points per game. Considering the talent the Badgers have at the skill positions, this stat is absolutely mind blowing. Montee Ball and Jared Abbrederis are stars, and the line boasts NFL players in Ricky Wagner and Travis Frederick.  

    The corps of the 2011 offense that ranked sixth in the nation is still on this team, making this incredible drop startling.  

No. 4

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    Stat: Wisconsin is ranked 34th in scoring defense.  

    The Badgers scoring defense has been the reason why the Badgers have had a chance to win all of their games this year. By allowing just over 20 points per game, the Wisconsin defense is doing its part to keep the team competitive.

    This stat is so startling because many believed it was the offense that was going to keep the Badgers in games, not vice versa. The defense was a bit of a question mark coming into the season.   

No. 5

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    Stat: The Badgers are 96th in rushing offense.

    It is incomprehensible that a Wisconsin football team can rank this low in rushing offense. Pounding the rock has been the Badger identity for years.  

    The Badgers returned Montee Ball and James White, one of the best backfields in the country. Additionally, Ricky Wagner and Travis Frederick are back on the offensive line. That's four players with All-American potential.  

    Simply put, the Badgers need to start running the ball effectively. Wagner and Frederick need to set the tone up front.   

No. 6

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    Stat: The Badgers are tied for 86th in turnover margin.

    Wisconsin has a negative turnover margin, and it is one of the main reasons that the Badgers are 3-2. The Badgers had key turnovers in both losses, with the Danny O'Brien fumble the direct reason Wisconsin lost to Nebraska. If the Badgers are going to turn around this season, they have to start taking care of the football.  

No. 7

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    Stat: The Badgers rank 107th in first-down offense

    This is the most damning stat in regards to the Badgers' offensive failures. Wisconsin has been unable to create meaningful drives, and it has cost the team dearly. The Badgers have been unable to control the time of possession or dictate the pace of the game, two Wisconsin staples. As a result, the Badgers have lost two games that they had the opportunity to win.  

    It's startling how inefficient the offense has been at moving the ball.

No. 8

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    Stat: The Badgers rank 84th in fourth-down conversion defense.

    The defense has been very good so far this season, but the unit has struggled mightily on fourth down. Badgers opponents are converting on nearly 60 percent of their fourth-down attempts, allowing offenses to keep their drives alive. The defense has to get off the field on fourth down.

    The Badgers defense has played well, but it is startling how much the defense has struggled on fourth down.  

No. 9

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    Stat: The Badgers rank 112th in third-down conversion percentage.  

    This stat goes hand in hand with the Badgers' inability to pick up first downs and really explains the inefficiencies in Wisconsin's abilities to sustain drives. This team is too talented on the offensive side of the ball to struggle this mightily, and these struggles on offense have been baffling.   

No. 10

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    Stat: Montee Ball's season stats.  

    Montee Ball was a Heisman favorite entering the 2012 season. Now, his Heisman candidacy is in tatters. Ball has been unable to move the ball effectively, averaging only 3.6 yards per carry. The offensive line has been inconsistent in opening the holes for Ball to bust long runs, and Ball has struggled accordingly. Ball's difficulties have served as a microcosm for the entire offense.

    Montee Ball's 2012 campaign has been shocking.   

Conclusion

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    The stats provided encompass this Badger team. The offense has struggled in all aspects, especially in their ability to keep drives alive. The defense has been solid, yet it has had its struggles as well, particularly on fourth down.  

    The Wisconsin Badgers returned plenty of talent this season, yet have underwhelmed mightily. The Big Ten championship that many predicted for this season looks like all but a long shot now.  

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