Saturday marks the second half of the college football season for both the Wisconsin Badgers and Maryland Terrapins. UW comes in with an undefeated record, while the Terps are still searching for their first Big Ten victory of the season.
With this game in Madison, do the Badgers have a distinct advantage? What do the numbers tell us about Wisconsin’s chances of remaining undefeated after Saturday’s contest? Can the Terps get a Big Ten era-defining win on the road?
We break it all down in our weekly look behind the numbers. Here are 10 thing to know about the matchup between the Badgers and Terps.
1: That is Wisconsin’s rank in red zone touchdown conversion by opponents
UW is leading the country in fewest opponent red zone opportunities ending in touchdowns, as just 5 of 19 red zone possessions by Badgers opponents have ended in six points. That’s 26.3 percent, and UW leads TCU by nearly five percentage points. Only Penn State’s four touchdowns against are better than TCU and Wisconsin’s five so far on the year. The Badgers are also sixth nationally in total red zone scores by opponents at just 63.1 percent.
2: That is the number of Maryland players in the national top 25 of the all-purpose yards rankings
The Terps have two of the most dangerous offensive players in the country heading in to this game, as running back Ty Johnson and wide receiver D.J. Moore both rank inside the top 25 for all-purpose yards nationally. Johnson ranks seventh nationally with 166.7 all-purpose yards/g, while Moore ranks 22nd (135.0/g). Wisconsin counters with only one player in the top 25 nationally, as running back Jonathan Taylor sits sixth with an average of 167.2 yards per game.
3: That is the number of games it has been since Maryland last threw an interception.
While the Terps may have already gone through three starters at quarterback, third-stringer Max Bortenschlager has at least been smart with the football as a starter. Maryland hasn’t thrown an INT in three games and that is the longest such streak by a Terps quarterback since 2009. Bortenschlager is also coming up on an impressive streak of attempts without an interception, having gone 83 attempts since his last INT against UCF. Wisconsin comes in to the game as one of the best defenses against quarterbacks in the Big Ten. UW has nine interceptions, tied with Penn State at the top of the B1G.
4: That is the number of times an opponent has scored on 11 turnovers by the Badgers
Wisconsin’s defensive prowess is well-known by now. However, here’s an example of just how salty UW’s defense has been. Just 4 of 11 turnovers in “sudden change” situations have resulted in any points at all so far this season. The Badgers defense has allowed just two touchdowns and two field goals to date — a total of 20 points — on the season. It’s been a huge help in swinging momentum right back in the Badgers’ favor.
5: That is the number of turnovers Maryland has given up this season
Not only have the Terps done well to protect the ball, they’ve been aggressive in taking the ball away. Maryland has given up just five turnovers and taken the ball away 10 times already this season, giving them a +5 turnover margin. That mark is tied for third in the Big Ten. Meanwhile, the Badgers have coughed up the ball a ridiculous 11 times on the season. So, this is an area to watch if you’re Wisconsin.
6: That is the number of tackles for loss last weekend against Northwestern
One of the strong points of D.J. Durkin-led defenses leading up to his appointment as Maryland head coach was the ability to attack opposing offenses in their backfields. It hasn’t been easy this season for the Terps, but they showed promise last weekend with 6.0 tackles for loss. It was the most since 9.0 against Towson earlier this season. Coming in to this game, Maryland sits eighth in the Big Ten, averaging just 5.8 tackles for loss this season.
7: Wisconsin enters this game with a seven-game win streak
Yes, the Badgers are 6-0 on the season, but they have won seven-straight including the Cotton Bowl victory last season. It is the longest active win streak in the Big Ten, and also ties Alabama for the fourth-longest streak in the country. Only South Florida (11), Miami (10) and Georgia (8) have longer active streaks.
8: Maryland has played the 8th toughest schedule in the country to date
Few teams in the country have had to deal with the gauntlet that Maryland has to date. So far the six opponents faced are a combined 21-10 (.680). Should things hold out, Maryland could end up with the toughest schedule in the country by season’s end.
9: That is Wisconsin’s defensive rank in passer efficiency on the national level
A lot has been made about an efficient season at quarterback for the Badgers, but defensively they’ve been equally impressive. UW has held opponents to a passer efficiency rating of just 104.4, good for ninth in the country. Wisconsin sits just fourth in the Big Ten in that mark though, as Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State all lead the Badgers.
10: Jonathan Taylor needs 14 yards on 10 carries or fewer to break the Badgers freshman fastest to 1,000 yards mark
Wisconsin’s freshman sensation ended last week just 14 yards short of becoming the only true freshman in the history of college football to rush for 1,000 yards in just six games. Instead, he has a good chance to break James White’s freshman record at Wisconsin. He just needs to get 14 yards on 10 carries or less and he’ll break White’s record of 1,000 yards on 138 carries as a redshirt freshman. Should Taylor get that mark, he’d also join former Badgers running back P.J. Hill as the fastest true freshmen to 1,000 yards (along with Emmitt Smith, Marshall Faulk, Adrian Peterson and Jamario Thomas) in terms of games, at seven.