Dienhart: Spartans, Badgers by the numbers

So, the stage is set. It will be Michigan State, representing the Legends Division, and Wisconsin, representing the Leaders Division, in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game on Saturday in Indianapolis. The two teams met earlier this season, with the Spartans winning a last-second thriller on Oct. 22. To help preview the rematch, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart considers most important numbers for each team in this post.

WISCONSIN
34, touchdowns by RB Montee Ball, a Big Ten single-season record. Ball is six away from breaking Oklahoma State’s Barry Sander’s NCAA single-season mark of 39 set in 1988.
1.17, Wisconsin’s turnover margin, which paces the Big Ten and ranks fifth in the nation. The Badgers have 22 takeaways and just eight turnovers.
278.2, yards per game allowed to rank second in the Big Ten in total defense and seventh in the nation.
15.2, points per game, which paces the Big Ten and ranks No. 4 in the nation.
44.8, points per game, which paces the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the country.
144.5, passing yards per game yielded, which leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the nation.
55.3, third-down conversion rate, tops in the nation.
1,622, rushing yards by RB Montee Ball, the most in the Big Ten. He averages a league-high 135.2 per game.
477.1, yards per game, the most in the Big Ten.
16.3, punt return average for Jared Abbrederis, tops in the nation. He has one run back for a score.
1-2, Big Ten rank in tackles for LBs Mike Taylor and Chris Borland. Taylor averages 10.6 tackles, while Borland averages 10.3.
8, touchdown catches by Jacob Pedersen, the most by any Big Ten tight end.

MICHIGAN STATE
3.1, sacks per game, which leads the Big Ten.
16, interceptions grabbed, the most in the conference.
102.5, rushing yards allowed per game, No. 1 in the Big Ten.
139.0, rushing yards per game, which ranks last in the Big Ten.
266.7, yards allowed per game, the lowest number in the league that also ranks No. 3 in the nation.
4, interceptions for Trenton Robinson and Isaiah Lewis, tied for most in the league.
3.92, yards per rush, worst in the Big Ten.
244.7, passing yards per game, which ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten.
62, career touchdown passes by QB Kirk Cousins, the most in school history.
17, rushing touchdowns, as only Minnesota (14) has fewer.
15.4, points allowed per game, which ranks second in the Big Ten and sixth in the nation.
10, wins for a second season in a row, which never had been done in back-to-back seasons.
2,735, passing yards by QB Kirk Cousins, second-most in the Big Ten.
218, completions for QB Kirk Cousins, most in the conference.

Tom Dienhart is a senior writer for BTN.com. Find all of his work at www.btn.com/tomdienhart, follow Dienhart on twitter at @BTNTomDienhart, send a question to his weekly mailbag here, and click here to subscribe to his RSS feed.

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