October 28, 2008

Inside the numbers: Michigan State

MADISON, Wis. - After feeling the joys of victory again after beating Illinois last weekend, the Wisconsin football team looks to keep their new found momentum alive as they prepare to take on Michigan State. The task will be anything but easy for UW as the Big Ten's leading rusher Javon Ringer patiently waits.

The following is a look inside the numbers of both the Badgers and Spartans:

2,149 and 159: After breaking his left fibula during the game against Illinois, senior playmaker Travis Beckum will not suit up again for the cardinal and white.

He finishes his stellar Badger career with 159 receptions for 2,149 yards, both good enough for third on UW's all-time list in both categories.

309: It will be interesting to see how the Badger defense responds Michigan State's offensive prowess this weekend. It seems UW is headed in the right direction as they held the Illini attack to only 309 total yards last week, nearly 200 yards below their average.

Also, since conference play has started, the Badgers rank third in the Big Ten total defense, holding opponents to 331.2 yards per game.

2: David Gilreath logged his first two-touchdown game as a Badger. He now sits second on the team with 296 receiving yards and is tied with Garrett Graham with three receiving touchdowns.

17: The Badgers scored 17 unanswered points after falling behind Illinois 17-10 early in the second half to win its first game in 42 days. Perhaps more exciting is the fact the Badgers scored three touchdowns in the game. In their previous eight quarters, UW only mustered two touchdowns.

480: John Clay, who may see his second consecutive start this weekend, has rushed for 480 yards on 90 carries. The redshirt freshman has scored four touchdowns and averages 5.3 yards per carry.

62: UW's freshman kicker Philip Welch leads the team in scoring with 62 points. The next closes is P.J. Hill with 30.

14: Welch's 14 made field goals are more than Badger opponents have attempted (11) on the season. Of those 11 attempts, opponents have only cashed in on eight.

41.9: True freshman punter Brad Nortman has averaged 41.9 yards per punt this season. After enduring a mid-season slump, Nortman had a career day against the Illini. He averaged 51.7 yards per punt and pinned Illinois inside their own 20 yard line three times.

51: Chris Maragos' interception return of 51 yards was the longest of any Badger since 2005.

7-2 Through nine games, Michigan State has compiled a record of 7-2, with losses coming to Cal and Ohio State. It is the 20th time in school history that MSU has earned seven wins in its first nine game.

To go along with that feat, second year head coach Mark Dantonio is the program's first coach to start each of his first two seasons with seven wins in nine games.

Javon Ringer: To say Ringer's start season has been anything but amazing would be an injustice. He leads the nation with 16 touchdowns and 300 carries.

He ranks second in the country by averaging 152.6 yards per game and all-purpose yardage, 190.8 yards per game. His 300 carries are 65 more than the next player on the list. In total, Ringer averages 33 carries per game.

26-20: The Spartans hold the series edge 26-20 including a 65 percent winning percentage in Spartan Stadium. UW last trip to East Lansing was ugly. Entering the game 9-0 and on the verge of a trip to Pasadena, the Spartans routed the Badgers 49-14 in 2004, sending Wisconsin on a downward spiral to end the season.

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