Teach me how to Bucky: Northwestern-Wisconsin by the numbers

Colin Becht

For some football games, the numbers, stats, or score don’t accurately tell the story.

This is not one of those cases.

No matter how you look at Saturday’s 70-23 Wisconsin victory over Northwestern, the Wildcats were simply manhandled. Some numbers to illustrate the trouncing below:

  • With this 47-point win, Wisconsin has now won all four of its November games by a combined score of 235-84.
  • NU tied the Badgers in the fourth quarter with neither side scoring a point. The Badgers averaged 23.33 points per quarter in the first three quarters.
  • The Cats were playing without junior quarterback Dan Persa or redshirt freshman running back Mike Trumpy, two players that before Saturday’s game had accounted for 83 percent of NU’s offense.
  • Wisconsin averaged 6.1 yards per carry. That number might have been higher if not for runs of one and two yards stopped only by the end zone.
  • The Badgers gained 345 positive yards rushing while losing just 16. NU lost 20 yards rushing while gained 181 positive yards on the ground.
  • Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has scored 13 touchdowns in his last four games, including four in each of his past two games.
  • Nearly one out of every four NU passes that were caught was done so by a Wisconsin defender.
  • By completing 15-of-19 passes, Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien passed Persa for the highest completion percentage in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Persa’s 73.5 percent completion rate would have been the Big Ten record, but Tolzien has now completed 74.3 percent of his passes.
  • Despite getting 12 more first downs and possession the ball for nearly 15 minutes more, the Badgers only ran 13 more offensive plays. This is likely because Wisconsin had scoring drives of five, two, three, four, five, and zero plays, the last one being cornerback Aaron Henry’s 50-yard pick-six.
  • The Cats possessed the ball for just four minutes and 17 seconds of the fourth quarter.
  • Northwestern did not punt until its first drive of the second half. The Cats had nine drives in the first half, three ended in points, one ended because of halftime and five ended on turnovers. Four of NU’s first five drives resulted in turnovers, including three interceptions.
  • Wisconsin forced seven turnovers in its first eight games of the season. The Badgers forced seven on Saturday alone.
  • Freshman wide receiver Venric Mark set the school record for kickoff return yards in a game. While that record-breaking performance was certainly aided by Mark’s 94-yard kick return for a touchdown, he might have also benefited from the nine kick returns he had, which tied the Big Ten record.
  • The Badgers accumulated 115 yards on interception and fumble returns alone, that’s greater than any NU player’s all-purpose yards except for Mark.
  • Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt finished the game with one sack, three tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, one blocked kick and three quarterback hurries that all forced interceptions.
  • Junior safety David Arnold had a career-high nine tackles.
  • Wisconsin’s average starting field position in the second quarter was the NU 43-yard line. The Badgers scored 35 points in that quarter, while all five of their drives resulting in touchdowns.

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