Football Report: Big Ten's best defense?

Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin, among others, all possess defenses that are compiling stingy numbers. Which unit is the best in the Big Ten, though? Before you blurt out “Michigan State!” realize that Michigan lands in the top 15 among FBS teams in five categories, including No. 1 in passing yards (1,162). Or that Penn State is ranked in the top 20 in four categories and Wisconsin two. Watch Howard Griffith and Chris Martin debate it now and cast your vote inside.

[RELATED: Wisconsin QB Stave out for season]

There was an interesting back-and-forth during the analysts’ discussion, and it all started with Martin’s surprising answer. Read it below:

Martin: “Overall, the best defense, it’s still Ohio State.”

Griffith: “Really?!”

Martin: “Yeah, they’re the most athletic.”

Griffith: “What about the points they’re giving up, the yardage?”

Martin: “They do give up a lot of points, but they have the best personnel. They do. But everyone’s given up yardage this year in the Big Ten Conference.”

Griffith: “Oh, I don’t know if Michigan State’s given up yardage. I don’t know about that. Michigan State’s been really good.

“What about Penn State?”

Who’s your pick? Cast your vote!

Need stats to back up your selection? Here you go:


Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2323 (7)
Passing Yards: 1162 (1)
Rushing Yards: 1161 (51)
Points per game: 17.3 (14)
Yards per game: 290.4 (9)
Touchdowns: 12 (8)
Field Goals: 13 (111)


Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2422 (13)
Passing Yards: 1591 (27)
Rushing Yards: 831 (13)
Points per game: 15.0 (10)
Yards per game: 269.1 (5)
Touchdowns: 10 (3)
Field Goals: 17 (124)


Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2691 (25)
Passing Yards: 1281 (8)
Rushing Yards: 1410 (79)
Points per game: 25.4 (55)
Yards per game: 336.4 (26)
Touchdowns: 21 (37)
Field Goals: 9 (57)


Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 3506 (87)
Passing Yards: 2501 (119)
Rushing Yards: 1005 (32)
Points per game: 24.1 (50)
Yards per game: 389.6 (61)
Touchdowns: 23 (48)
Field Goals: 12 (102)


Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2601 (20)
Passing Yards: 1596 (28)
Rushing Yards: 1005 (33)
Points per game: 18.1 (18)
Yards per game: 325.1 (22)
Touchdowns: 16 (19)
Field Goals: 4 (5)


Defense (FBS Rank)
Yards: 2802 (35)
Passing Yards: 1829 (57)
Rushing Yards: 973 (27)
Points per game: 17.6 (17)
Yards per game: 311.3 (16)
Touchdowns: 20 (31)
Field Goals: 7 (28)


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (11 Comments)
gbr on 10/29/2012 @ 7:06pm EDT Said:

take out the amount of yards given up to ucla and ohio st. and replace them with similar numbers to michigan/northwestern/wisconsin. nebraska clearly has the best defense. i don’t think any team would put up those kind of numbers against them the rest of the year. not even ohio st.

Calvin on 10/29/2012 @ 8:17pm EDT Said:

Problem is gbr, that’s hypothetical. Nebraska did give up those yards and points. Michigan St. boasts the best defense hands down, no exceptions. That defense is SEC caliber and it isn’t even close whoever is second. This, coming from an Ohio State fan.

Terrance on 10/29/2012 @ 9:49pm EDT Said:

Calvin, the Spartan defense is SEC like??? That’s why Michigan State is on the verge of one it’s worst seasons for awhile now!! I don’t think soo, Nebraska is the only team that matches Ohio St for athletic ability hands down

Doug on 10/29/2012 @ 10:55pm EDT Said:

hey gbr, you did play those games, and msu didn’t give up nearly those yards to osu. as for the btn staff, it’s always about michigan, isn’t it? i bet if msu played illinois and purdue like michigan did, instead of indiana and osu, they would have even better numbers

Josiah on 10/30/2012 @ 8:54am EDT Said:

GBR just made my day. I needed a good laugh. I am so glad we added one more delusional fan-base to the B10. UM and PSU fans needed some company.Nebraska gave up 63 points in a game!! They gave up 4 TD’s at home to Wisconsin. If we are only counting games where teams played well, then wouldn’t every team be undefeated? You win by not allowing the other team to score points. Nebraska and OSU are in the 50’s in points allowed nationally and both have allowed over 20 TD’s. MSU has allowed 10. MSU’s defense is tops in scoring D and Yds per game. Keep in mind that MSU is putting those numbers up with one of the worst offenses in the nation. One that every other defense gets to pad their stats with!!

Calvin on 10/30/2012 @ 9:29am EDT Said:

Terrance, I didn’t say a thing about their offense. That Spartan offense is terrible, but that defense has kept them in every game this season outside of the ND game. The other 3 losses were by a combined 6 pts. They have yet to allow an offense to break 400 yds and only one team has scored more than 20pts (Indiana). I would agree Ohio State MIGHT have better athletes overall, but they are not playing well together. MSU has the best defensive unit as a whole.

Doug on 10/30/2012 @ 11:59am EDT Said:

MSU’s defense is # 5 in the nation, best defense in the big ten easily.

gbr on 10/30/2012 @ 5:35pm EDT Said:

I guess we’ll see how many points/yards Nebraska puts up on MSU this weekend.

gbr on 10/30/2012 @ 5:36pm EDT Said:

And MSU’s defense is nowhere near SEC caliber. No one in the big ten is. Not this year anyways.

Doug on 10/30/2012 @ 9:37pm EDT Said:

gbr, once again, MSU is #5 in the nation defensively, that’s close to SEC caliber, and that’s with the other team getting multiple chances on offense because of MSU’s poor offense.

gbr on 11/4/2012 @ 10:38am EDT Said:

great defense