November 26 - December 2 The Wisconsin football team (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten) returns to Indianapolis on Saturday to take aim at a third-consecutive conference title and Rose Bowl berth. The Badgers face off with No. 14 Nebraska (10-2, 7-1) for the second time this season in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game.
FOX will broadcast the game live at 7:17 p.m. (CT), with Gus Johnson, Charles Davis, Julie Alexandria and Petros Papadakis on the call.
Key Notes to Consider • Wisconsin returns to the Big Ten Football Championship Game for the second-consecutive season and looks to claim a third-straight Big Ten title for the first time in school history.
• The Badgers seek to become the first Big Ten school to play in three consecutive Rose Bowl games since Michigan appeared in Pasadena from 1977-79.
• Wisconsin’s four Rose Bowl trips in the BCS era trail only USC’s five appearances in Pasadena for the most of any team since 1998.
• Wisconsin and Nebraska represent two of the winningest programs in the nation over the past four seasons. UW has the FBS’ 11th-best win percentage since the start of the 2009 season at .750 (39-13), while Nebraska ranks 13th at .736 (39-14).
• A Doak Walker Award finalist for the second-straight season, senior RB Montee Ball became the NCAA’s all-time leader in touchdowns by scoring his 79th career TD on a 17-yard run at Penn State last week. UW is home to the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher (1999 Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne) and its all-time leading scorer.
• Wisconsin’s senior class owns a 39-13 (.750) record over the last four seasons and is the second-winningest class in UW history. A win Saturday would tie the 2007 class’ school record of 40 victories in a four-year span (40-11, .784).
• In conference play, Wisconsin was the only Big Ten team to rank among the league’s top five in scoring offense (30.5), scoring defense (18.2), total offense (414.2) and total defense (298.9).
Numbers to Know 7: Senior RB Montee Ball has scored seven touchdowns in two games against Nebraska, including three rushing scores in the teams’ meeting on Sept. 29.
18.6: The nation’s top tackler over the past two seasons with 265 total stops, senior LB Mike Taylor has averaged 18.6 tackles in two career games vs. Nebraska. He had a career-high 22 tackles last season and totaled 15 stops in the teams’ Sept. 29 meeting.
247.5: The Badgers averaged 247.5 rushing yards per game in Big Ten play this season, an improvement on their average of 247.2 in 2011. UW is the first Big Ten team to average 240+ yards in conference play in three straight seasons since at least 1992.
307.9: Wisconsin ranks 11th in the nation in total defense, allowing just 307.9 yards per game. Nebraska is 15th in the country, giving up 318.3 yards per contest.
Game Notes Complete football game notes in printable PDF format.
General Notes • The Badgers won the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game last season with a 42-39 win over Michigan State at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
• Wisconsin becomes the seventh team to represent its division in each of the first two seasons of its league’s championship game:
• UW is one of four programs nationally returning to its conference’s title game for the second-straight year, joining Georgia (SEC), Northern Illinois (MAC) and UCLA (Pac-12).
• The Badgers can join Marshall (which won the first four Mid-American Conference championship games from 1997-2000) as the only team to win its league title game in each of the game’s first two occasions.
• In all, seven programs have won their league’s championship game in back-to-back seasons. Wisconsin looks to become the first team to repeat in its league title game since East Carolina won back-to-back Conference USA crowns in 2008 and 2009:
• Wisconsin has won its last nine games in the state of Indiana, dating back to 2002. The Badgers are 8-0 in games played in Indiana under head coach Bret Bielema, winning those games by an average margin of 23.8 points.
• Wisconsin is 23-8 in games played after Nov. 1 under seventh-year head coach Bret Bielema.
• Since the start of the 2009 season, Wisconsin is 7-3 following a loss. That includes a 3-1 record this season.
• Each of Wisconsin’s five losses this season have come by a margin of a touchdown or less, including four by three points and three in overtime. The average scoring margin in those five losses is 3.8 points.
• The Badgers are 19-14 in games decided by a touchdown or less under Bret Bielema.
• Wisconsin hasn’t lost a game by more than 10 points since falling at Ohio State 31-13 on Oct. 10, 2009 (a span of 46 games).
• Since the start of the 2010 season, Wisconsin is the only Big Ten team to not lose a game by more than seven points. In fact, every other Big Ten team has at least one loss by at least 14 points in that span:
• Not only have the Badgers lost the fewest games by 14 or more points over the past three seasons (0), they also boast the most wins of 14 points or more by a Big Ten team in that span with 20.
• In that three-season span from 2010-12, Wisconsin has played 52 games. The Badgers have won nearly a third of their games (32.7 percent) by at least 20 points.
• Despite losses in three of their last four games to end the regular season, the Badgers still have the opportunity to finish with at least nine wins for the sixth time in seven seasons under head coach Bret Bielema. The UW program produced a total of six nine-win seasons in the previous 104 years combined (all coming during Barry Alvarez’s 16-year run as head coach from 1990-2005).
• Since giving up 30 points to the Huskers in the teams’ Sept. 29 meeting, the Badgers have allowed an average of just 16.6 points over their last seven games. On the season, Wisconsin ranks 17th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 18.1 points per game.
• Penn State amassed 363 yards of offense last week, snapping a run of six straight games in which the Badgers held their opponent under 300 total yards. The Badgers rank 11th in total defense nationally, allowing 307.9 yards per game.
• The last team from any league to make three straight appearances in the Rose Bowl was USC, from 2006-09.
Make No Mistake • Wisconsin has lost just 11 turnovers on the season, matching Iowa for the fewest in the Big Ten and tying for the fourth-fewest nationally. Only Ohio (8), Pittsburgh (8) and Kansas State (9) have fewer giveaways than UW this season.
• Before a fourth-quarter fumble vs. Ohio State, Wisconsin had not lost a turnover in 16 consecutive quarters, finishing each of its previous three games without a giveaway.
• Over the past three seasons (39 games), the Badgers have lost a combined 30 turnovers, the lowest total in the nation over that span. Alabama has the second-fewest turnovers lost since the start of the 2010 season with 39. Wake Forest, with 41, ranks third in that span.
• UW committed the fewest turnovers in the nation in each of the last two seasons, leading the FBS with 9 in 2010 and matching LSU for the fewest in the nation in 2011 with 10.
• Since the start of the 2010 season, Wisconsin has a combined turnover differential of +31, trailing only Alabama (+34) for the best mark in the nation over that span. Oklahoma State (+28) ranks No. 3.
• The Badgers’ six giveaways were the fewest by a Big Ten team in league games. UW ranked third among Big Ten teams in conference play with a +5 turnover margin, trailing only Iowa (+9) and Northwestern (+9).
• Over the past two seasons (a span of 16 conference games) Wisconsin owns a combined turnover margin of +18 in Big Ten play. That’s the best margin of any league team over that span, with Northwestern (+10) ranking No. 2. UW led the Big Ten with a +13 turnover margin in conference play last season. Michigan State (+4) ranked second.
• The Badgers have averaged 3.8 penalties per game this season, tied for the sixth-lowest average nationally. Only Air Force (3.3), Kansas (3.4), Navy (3.4), Kansas State (3.5) and UCF (3.7) average fewer flags per game than UW.
• The Badgers’ 45 penalties not only rank as the seventh-fewest nationally this season but are by far the fewest by a Big Ten team. Michigan (58) has drawn the second-fewest flags in the league.
• Wisconsin led the nation in fewest penalties in 2010 (3.2 per game) and ranked in a tie for 20th in 2011 (4.8).
RB Montee Ball
This Fall Belongs to Ball | More on Ball • Senior RB Montee Ball passed former Miami (Ohio) RB Travis Prentice for the NCAA career touchdowns record by scoring the 79th TD of his career at Penn State last week.
• According to the BTN stats department, Ball’s 79 career touchdowns have averaged 10.9 yards. Also, 41 of Ball’s 79 career TDs have come after contact.
• Ball also ranks in a tie for the NCAA’s all-time lead in rushing touchdowns (73), tied with Prentice.
• Ball has averaged 11.2 yards per rush on his 73 rushing TDs.
• Ball holds or shares the NCAA records for TDs scored in a season (39, shared with Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders), TDs scored in consecutive seasons (57, Ricky Williams of Texas is second at 53), TDs scored in three consecutive seasons (75 and counting, Williams is second with 67) and career TDs.
• On its own, Ball’s three-season total of 75 would rank as the third-best career total in NCAA history.
• Ball is the only player in the nation to eclipse 1,500 rushing yards each of the past two seasons. Ball has run for 1,528 yards this season after rushing for 1,923 in 2011.
• With 18 touchdowns on the year, Ball is the first player to lead the Big Ten in scoring in three consecutive seasons since at least 1939.
• Ball is the leader among active players nationally in:
- Total touchdowns with 79 — 25 more than second-place Collin Klein of Kansas State (54)
- Rushing touchdowns with 73 — 20 more than second-place Klein (53)
- Scoring with 476 points — 20 more than Florida State K Dustin Hopkins (456)
- Rushing yards with 4,838 — 213 more than Fresno State RB Robbie Rouse (4,625)
• Rushing yards per game at 102.9 — 8.5 ahead of Rouse (among players with at least 25 career games)
• In his last 21 Big Ten games, Ball scored 56 touchdowns (an average of 2.7 per game), with at least two TDs in 18 of those games.
• After running for 198 yards and three touchdowns in UW’s win over Indiana for the 24th multiple-TD game of his career Ball needs one multiple-touchdown game to tie the NCAA record of 25. He has scored at least three TDs 14 times in his career.
• Ball is the only active player in the FBS who has played at least 25 games and is averaging at least 100.0 rushing yards per game in his career (102.9).
• At 146.0 yards per game, Ball became just the seventh player in Big Ten history to lead the conference in rushing yards in league games in two straight seasons (league records date back to 1939). Two of the previous six were also Wisconsin running backs (Alan Ameche in 1951-52 and Ron Dayne in 1998-99). Ball is the first player to do so since Dayne.
• Ball rushed for 1,168 yards in Big Ten play (146.0 yards per game). That is 130 yards more than Michigan State’s La’Veon Bell, who finished in second place.
• In four games this season vs. top-25 rushing defenses (Utah St., Michigan St., Ohio St., Penn St.), Ball has averaged 121.8 yards per game. Among the other Doak Walker Award finalists, UCLA’s Johnathon Franklin has faced two top-25 rushing defenses (Utah, Stanford) and averaged 72.0 yards per game. Oregon’s Kenjon Barner has faced one (Stanford) and ran for 66 yards.
• Ball is averaging 153.6 yards per game in the Badgers’ seven contests since Oct. 1. That is the second-best average in the country since Oct. 1, trailing Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona (174.1).
• Ball has run for at least 166 yards in four of his last six games.
• Ball became the first player to rush for 190-plus yards against Ohio State since Eric McCoo (Penn State) had 211 yards on Oct. 16, 1999. The Buckeyes entered the game giving up an average of 107.9 yards per game on the ground. Ball had 112 in the first half.
Series History • Nebraska leads the all-time series between the two teams 4-3 after scoring a 30-27 win over the Badgers on Sept. 29. The series is split 1-1 since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011.
• UW head coach Bret Bielema and Nebraska coach Bo Pelini are each 1-1 in the series.
• This will be the second meeting at neutral site between the Badgers and Huskers. Wisconsin scored an 18-10 win over Nebraska in Milwaukee in 1901.
• Wisconsin makes its second appearance in the Big Ten Football Championship Game, while Nebraska will take part in a conference title game for the third time in four seasons. The Huskers appeared in the 2009 and 2010 Big 12 championship games in their final two seasons in that league.
Connections • UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez is a 1969 graduate of Nebraska, where he played linebacker from 1965-67.
• Nebraska coach Bo Pelini went 3-1 against the Badgers as a player at Ohio State from 1987-90.
• UW head coach Bret Bielema was 2-0 against the Huskers as defensive coordinator at Kansas State from 2002-03. He was 0-2 against Nebraska as an assistant coach at Iowa in 1999 and 2000.
• UW defensive coordinator Chris Ash was 3-3 against Nebraska as an assistant coach at Iowa State from 2002-06 and 2009.
• UW tight ends coach Eddie Faulkner was an assistant coach for a Ball State team that fell to Nebraska, 41-40, in Lincoln in 2007.
• UW interim offensive line coach Bart Miller is a native of Omaha, Neb.
• Bill Callahan, an assistant coach at UW under Barry Alvarez from 1990-94, served as Nebraska’s head coach from 2004-07.
• Nebraska redshirt freshman longsnapper Josepth Rotherham (Green Bay) is the lone Wisconsin native on the Huskers’ roster.
RB James White
On the Offense • The Badgers’ offense ranked No. 5 in scoring during Big Ten play at 30.5 points per game. Ohio State (36.9) led the league in scoring during conference games.
• The 62 points UW scored at Indiana tied for the sixth-highest scoring output in school history.
• The Badgers have scored 59 or more points 14 times in the modern era (post World War II). Seven of those performances have come in the past three seasons.
• In its last six games, Wisconsin has outscored its opponents by a 124-49 margin in the second half, an average of 20.7-8.2.
• UW averaged 414.2 yards per game in conference play, ranking fourth among Big Ten teams. Penn State led the league at 437.0 yards per game in conference play.
• Wisconsin piled up 605 offensive yards at Indiana, the second time this season UW has topped the 600-yard plateau (also 645 yards at Purdue). That marks the third time the Badgers have posted multiple 600-yard games in the same season. UW had three 600-yard games in 2011 and had two in 1999.
• The Badgers put on the second-best offensive performance in school history en route to a 38-14 win over Purdue, racking up 645 yards of offense. That total trails only UW’s single-game school record of 705 yards from a win over Indiana in 1999.
MAKING A RUN FOR IT • Since Oct. 1, Wisconsin is averaging 274.9 rushing yards per game.
• The Badgers’ 29 rushing touchdowns this season ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (37) and is good for a tie for 20th nationally.
• Over the past three seasons (since the start of the 2010 season), the Badgers have rushed for 125 touchdowns. Only Oregon (131) has more rushing TDs over that span.
• The Badgers averaged 247.5 yards per game in conference play this season after posting averages of 247.2 in 2011 and 242.2 in 2010. UW is the first Big Ten team to average 240+ rushing yards in conference play in three straight seasons since at least 1992.
• Wisconsin’s 564 rushing yards vs. Indiana were not only a school record and the most by a Big Ten school since 1994, it was also the most by an FBS team this season. UW owns two of the top 10 team rushing performances in the country this season. Seven of the other nine spots are occupied by teams that run the option (Army, Navy, Air Force and Georgia Tech).
• The Badgers matched their school record with seven rushing touchdowns at Indiana, running in seven scores for the 10th time in school history.
• Wisconsin is tied for ninth in the country with 27 runs of 20+ yards. Of those, 22 have come after Oct. 1. UW also is tied for sixth nationally with eight runs of 40+ yards.
• RBs Montee Ball and James White have combined for 2,221 rushing yards this season. That is the third-best total for a running back tandem in the country. Kent State’s Trayion Durham and Dri Archer have combined for 2,513 yards while Oregon’s Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas have combined for 2,310 yards.
• In combining for 359 yards at Indiana, Ball (198) and White (161) went over 100 rushing yards in the same game for the sixth time in their careers and for the third time in four games.
• Ball and White’s performance marked the third time this season a pair of FBS teammates have rushed for at least 150 yards in the same game. Ball (171) and White (175) also did so against Minnesota, while Northwestern’s Cain Kolter (171) and Venric Mark (164) did so vs. Iowa on Oct. 27.
• After rushing 14 times for 163 yards — including a career-long 69-yard TD run — at Indiana, White owns the best rushing average in UW history at 6.13 yards per carry, placing him ahead of Ron Dayne’s school record of 5.84.
• White ranks seventh nationally among active players with his average of 6.13 yards per carry. Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch is the active FBS leader at 7.14 yards per attempt.
UNDER CENTER • Wisconsin is one of nine schools to have started at least three different quarterbacks this season, as Danny O’Brien, Joel Stave and Curt Phillips have all started games for UW. Wisconsin joins Southern Miss (0-12), Kentucky (2-10), Tulane (2-10), Colorado State (4-8), Maryland (4-8), Utah (5-7), Minnesota (6-6) and Oklahoma State (7-4) in that category.
• Excluding Wisconsin (7-5, .583), the records of the seven other schools that have started at least three QBs this season is 31-64 (.326).
• Senior QB Curt Phillips has led the Badgers on successful fourth-quarter comebacks to force overtime in each of the Badgers’ last two games.
• At Penn State, the Badgers got the ball back with 3:51 to play and trailing, 21-14. Phillips went 6-for-7 for 54 yards and a game-tying 4-yard TD pass to Jeff Duckworth with 0:18 remaining.
• Against Ohio State, the Badgers got the ball back with 1:33 to play and trailing, 14-7. Despite being sacked on first down, Phillips led the Badgers 41 yards down the field in 1:25 by going 5-for-5 for 48 yards and a game-tying 5-yard TD pass to Jacob Pedersen with 0:08 remaining.
• Phillips went 12-for-25 for a career-high 191 yards and two touchdown passes at Penn State.
• Coming back from three ACL surgeries during his career, Phillips made his first career start at Indiana, going 4-for-7 for 41 yards and a touchdown. He also ran seven times for 68 yards.
• Phillips became the fifth-consecutive Wisconsin QB to win his first career start, including all three of UW’s starters this season.
• Before being sidelined for the season with a broken clavicle vs. Michigan State, redshirt freshman QB Joel Stave was leading the Big Ten in pass efficiency rating at 149.6. Stave was 70-for-118 with six touchdowns and three interceptions and was averaging 157.7 yards per game.
• With a career-high 254 yards vs. Illinois, Stave became the eighth QB in Wisconsin history to throw for 200-plus yards in three consecutive games and the first to do so in his first three starts since Tyler Donovan in 2006 and 2007.
• Junior QB Danny O’Brien was efficient in his Wisconsin debut, completing 19 of 23 passes for 219 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Badgers’ season-opening win over Northern Iowa.
PROGRAMMED TO RECEIVE • Kwalick-Clark Big Ten Tight End of the Year Jacob Pedersen recorded his fourth touchdown reception of the season on a pass from Curt Phillips with 8 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime vs. Ohio State.
• Pedersen’s four TD receptions this season are the second-most by a Big Ten tight end, trailing Michigan TE Devin Funchess’ five touchdown catches.
• With 14 career TD receptions, Pedersen ranks 11th on UW’s career TD receptions list.
• Junior WR Jared Abbrederis ranks second in the Big Ten in receiving at 69.5 yards per game. He trails Penn State WR Allen Robinson, who leads the conference at 84.8 yards per game.
• Abbrederis ranks sixth among active FBS players with an average of 16.7 yards per catch for his career. Georgia WR Tavarres King is the active career leader at 18.4 yards per reception.
• Despite missing the second half of UW’s game vs. Oregon State and the entire Utah State game with an injury, Abbrederis ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 764 receiving yards and also ranks in a tie for ninth in the Big Ten in touchdown receptions (5).
• With 147 yards vs. UTEP, 142 yards at Nebraska, and 117 yards vs. Illinois, Abbrederis became the first Badger with three consecutive 100-yard receiving games since Lee Evans in 2001.
• Abbrederis is tied for 11th nationally with four receptions of 50-plus yards. He is tied for 14th nationally with six receptions for 40-plus yards.
LB Mike Taylor
On the Defense • Wisconsin is one of nine teams that has ranked in the top 20 nationally in both scoring defense and total defense for each of the last two seasons, joining Alabama, Boise State, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers and South Carolina.
• UW’s defense has held seven of the Badgers’ 12 opponents this season to 20 points or fewer.
• Since the start of the 2011 season, UW has held 16 of its 26 foes under the 20-point mark, going 14-2 in those games. The Badgers are 46-4 under Bret Bielema when holding teams under 20 points.
• UW allowed just 18.3 points per game in conference play, the second-best mark among Big Ten teams. Michigan led the league at 16.6 points allowed per conference game.
• In their seven games games since facing Nebraska on Sept. 29, the Badgers have allowed an average of 16.6 points, tied for the best mark of any Big Ten team over that span:
• Ohio State entered the Nov. 17 game vs. the Badgers averaging 41.3 points per game but were held to 21 by UW (including one offensive touchdown in regulation).
• In holding Indiana to 14 points, the Badgers improved to 33-1 under Bret Bielema when allowing 15 or fewer points. UW has held four of its last seven opponents under 15 points.
• Wisconsin ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten in total defense, allowing 307.9 yards per game, trailing only Michigan State (273.3). In Big Ten play, the Badgers gave up just 298.9 yards per game, which trailed only the Spartans (293.1) and Michigan (298.5)
• Prior to allowing Penn State to amass 363 yards of total offense, the Badgers had held each of their previous six opponents to less than 300 offensive yards.
NOWHERE TO RUN • The Badgers rank second the Big Ten and 12th nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 111.3 yards per game. That currently ranks as the fifth-best mark in Wisconsin history.
• UW held Ohio State to a season-low 139 rushing yards. The Buckeyes entered last Saturday’s game ranked eighth in the country, averaging 256.1 rushing yards per game.
• Wisconsin limited Michigan State RB Le’Veon Bell, who leads the Big Ten in carries (350) and yards (1,648) to just 77 rushing yards. Bell has averaged 142.8 yards per game in MSU’s other 11 games.
• Wisconsin is allowing opponents 3.4 rushing yards per carry, the second-best mark of any Big Ten defense and a mark that ranks No. 16 nationally.
• The Badgers have allowed just eight rushing touchdowns this season and have allowed just two rushing scores during regulation in their last five games.
• UW is one of eight teams in the nation to allow eight rushing TDs or fewer, Only Notre Dame (2), BYU (5), Michigan State (5), Rutgers (6), Utah State (6) and Alabama (7) have allowed fewer rushing scores than the Badgers.
• The eight rushing touchdowns given up this season ranks in a tie for the third-fewest UW has allowed in a season (also allowed eight in 2009).
PASSING CHANCE • Wisconsin’s opponents have attempted an average of 34.2 passes per game in 2012, the fifth-most passes a Big Ten team has faced this season. Still, the Badgers rank third in the conference in opponents’ completion percentage at 54.6 yards per attempt at 5.8 (Nebraska’s defense leads the league at 45.5 percent and 5.2 yards per attempt).
• At 172.3 yards per game, the Badgers ranked third in passing defense in conference play. UW also allowed the second-lowest completion percentage (53.7) and yards per attempt (5.4) of any Big Ten defense in conference play. Nebraska leads both categories (42.8 percent, 5.1 yards per attempt).
• The Badgers are tied for sixth nationally with 60 passes broken up on the season. Combined with UW’s six interceptions, its total of 66 passes defended ranks in a tie for 22nd nationally.
• UW has disrupted one of every 6.2 pass attempts by its opponents this season.
• The Badgers held Ohio State to a season-low 97 passing yards and 5.4 yards per attempt. The Buckeyes have averaged 189.2 passing yards and 8.0 yards per attempt in their other 11 games.
• Against Indiana, the Badgers limited the Big Ten’s top passing offense to 233 yards and snagged two interceptions. In their other 11 games, the Hoosiers averaged 319.2 passing yards and threw 1.0 interceptions per game.
DRIVE SLOWLY • The Badgers have forced opponents to go three-and-out on 42.6 percent of their drives this season, the fourth-best rate of any team in the nation. Of the 148 drives by UW opponents this season (excluding five possessions to end a half), 63 ended without the opponent recording a first down.
• On the season, the Badgers have held opponents to no gain or negative yardage on 20 possessions.
• Opponents are converting just 32.4 percent of their third-down attempts this season, which ranks the Badgers No. 3 in the Big Ten and No. 19 nationally in third-down defense. Florida State leads the nation at 27.1 percent, while Michigan State is the Big Ten leader at 31.3 percent.
• That mark of 32.4 percent also would as the fourth-best effort in Wisconsin history.
• The Badgers have held eight of their 12 opponents to a third-down conversion percentage of less than 33 percent, going 6-2 in those games. UW is 37-8 under Bret Bielema when allowing opponents to convert 33 percent or fewer of their third-down attempts.
• On third down, the Badgers are allowing opponents to complete just 45.2 percent of their passes (for 5.0 yards per attempt), the ninth-best third-down passing defense mark in the nation. UW is also giving up just 1.3 yards per carry on the ground, the ninth-best mark nationally in that category (Stanford leads at 0.6 yards allowed per third-down attempt).
• Wisconsin allows opponents an average 16.2 first downs per game, the second-lowest average of any Big Ten team. Michigan State leads the league, allowing 14.8 first downs per contest.
• Wisconsin has allowed just 28 of its opponents’ 148 drives in regulation to enter the red zone this season (18.9 percent), tied for the fourth-fewest red zone trips allowed by any team in the nation (12 games played). Only Alabama (23), Boise State (25), Connecticut (25), BYU (26) and Florida State (26) have allowed fewer drives inside the 20.
NO BIGGIE • UW has not allowed many “big plays” this season, having given up a play of 20 or more yards just 35 times. That ranks as the ninth-fewest in the nation and the second-fewest in the Big Ten, trailing only Michigan’s nation-leading 28. UW’s total of 11 plays allowed of 30-plus yards also ranks 10th nationally and second among Big Ten teams to Michigan’s 12.
• In conference play, the Badgers allowed just four plays of 30-plus yards to their opponents, the fewest of any Big Ten team. Michigan ranked No. 2 with seven such plays allowed.
• Since surrendering an 81-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of its win over Purdue on Oct. 13 (a span of five games), Wisconsin has allowed just one run from scrimmage of longer than 20 yards (a 24-yard gain by Penn State’s Zach Zwinak).
• Of the 167 rushing attempts by UW opponents over the last five games, only seven runs have gone for more than 10 yards, and only four have gone for more than 15.
MIDDLE MEN • Senior LB Mike Taylor has recorded more tackles than any player in the Football Bowl Subdivision over the past two seasons. With 115 tackles, Taylor ranks in a tie for 24th nationally this season after ranking third with 150 total stops in 2011. His 265 tackles over the past two seasons are 10 more than the 255 Khaseem Green of Rutgers.
• Taylor has averaged 10.2 tackles per game over the past two seasons (26 games), posting double-digit tackles in 13 games.
• After leading the Big Ten with 150 total stops last year and adding 115 this season, Taylor is one of three Big Ten players to record at least 100 tackles each of the last two seasons, joining Iowa LB James Morris (109, 113) and Penn State LB Gerald Hodges (106, 109).
• Taylor also ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 14.0 tackles for loss on the season. With 37.5 TFLs for his career, Taylor ranks 11th in school history.
• In his last seven games, junior LB Chris Borland has averaged 8.6 tackles. He has also recorded 8.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, broken up four passes, forced a fumble and recovered three fumbles. Borland is one of five Big Ten players to have a hand in at least five forced turnovers this season.
• Despite missing the Ohio State game with an injury, Borland ranks in a tie for 10th in the Big Ten with 4.5 sacks on the season. His 82 total tackles rank in a tie for No. 12 in the conference.
• Borland forced a fumble vs. Illinois, the 12th of his career, to extend his own school record in that category. His total of 12 also leads all active FBS players. Borland needs two forced fumbles to match the Big Ten record of 14 set by Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan.
BREAKING UP IS EASY TO DO • Senior CB Devin Smith ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 15 passes defended on the season and is tied for fifth in the league with three interceptions.
• For his career, Smith ranks in a tie (with Steve Wagner, 1973-75) for 10th in school history with 29 passes defended. His 23 pass breakups also rank No. 8 on UW’s career list in that category.
On the Special Teams • Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in both kickoff returns (23.0 yards per return) and kickoff coverage (41.0 net yards per kickoff).
• The Badgers rank second in the Big Ten, allowing an average of 19.3 yards per kickoff return. Minnesota has the league’s top mark at 17.9.
Head Coach Bret Bielema • Head coach Bret Bielema has compiled a 67-24 (.736) record in his seven seasons at UW, the ninth-best winning percentage among active FBS head coaches.
• UW is 86-30 (.741) since Bielema arrived as defensive coordinator in 2004. That is the 10th-best record in the country and second-best in the Big Ten over that time span.
• With UW’s 38-13 win over Minnesota, Bielema moved past College Football Hall of Famer Phil King (1896-1902, 1905) for second on the Badgers’ all-time wins list and is now 67-24 in his seventh season at UW. His .736 winning percentage is ninth-best among active FBS coaches.
• Bielema's 67-24 record is second-best among the 11 head coaches hired prior to the 2006 season. He trails only Chris Petersen of Boise State (82-8). Bielema and Peterson are the only two of those 11 head coaches to have led their teams to six straight bowl appearances.
• Wisconsin has won at least 10 games eight times in school history. Bielema has been a part of five of those seasons (head coach in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011, defensive coordinator in 2005). He has coached UW to the only two 11-win regular-seasons in school history (2006 and 2010).
• Bielema is 27-1 in non-conference games as Wisconsin's coach. His 25-0 start was the second-best start in non-conference play in Big Ten history, trailing only the 41-0 start by Michigan's Fielding Yost.
• Bielema is 44-5 in home games as Wisconsin's coach. The Badgers' 44 home wins are the most by an FBS team since the 2006 season.
Taking it to the Next Level | Badgers in the NFL • A total of 17 former Badgers have earned a start for their NFL teams through the season’s first 11 weeks, including seven players that have started each of their team’s games.
• Wisconsin had six players selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, including first-round pick OL Kevin Zeitler (Cincinnati). Also selected were OL Peter Konz (Atlanta - 2nd round), QB Russell Wilson (Seattle - 3rd), WR Nick Toon (New Orleans - 4th), FB Bradie Ewing (Atlanta - 5th) and P Brad Nortman (Carolina - 6th).
• The Badgers tied for the Big Ten lead and tied for fourth nationally with their six draft picks. Only Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma had more.
• The Badgers have produced 11 NFL draft picks over the past two seasons, tying UW for the fifth-most of any college program and the second-most of any Big Ten team.
• Of the Badgers' 11 draft picks the last two seasons, five have come from the offensive line: Kevin Zeitler (Cincinnati), Peter Konz (Atlanta), Gabe Carimi (Chicago), John Moffitt (Seattle) and Bill Nagy (Dallas) -- the most offensive linemen from any program in the nation.
• Of the five Wisconsin offensive linemen who started in the 2010 Rose Bowl, two were drafted in the first round (Gabe Carimi, Bears, 2011; and Kevin Zeitler, Bengals, 2012), one in the second round (Peter Konz, Falcons, 2012) and one in the third round (John Moffitt, Seahawks, 2011). The other starter, Rick Wagner, enters his senior season at Wisconsin as a leading candidate for the Outland Trophy.
• Wisconsin has had three first-round NFL picks from its offensive line since 2007, matching USC for the most of any program in the nation.
• Wisconsin has featured five first-round NFL draft picks from its offensive line since 1999, the most of any FBS team. Boston College and Oklahoma are tied for second with four each.