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Big Ten’s statistical oddities: What’s up is down

Scott Dochterman, CR Gazette –

Three weeks of action in no way starts a trend. But it does provide a compass of sorts for the statistical oddity that encapsulates the Big Ten non-conference season thus far.

Last year’s leader in points scored was Wisconsin at 44.1 per game. After three weeks the Badgers rank last at 16.3.

Michigan ranked second in points allowed per game last year at 17.4. This year the Wolverines are last at 26.3 points allowed per game.

Wisconsin led the league with almost 470 yards per game of offense last year. Now, the Badgers are last at 276 a game, more than 57 yards behind 11th Iowa. Wisconsin also led the league in first downs and third-down conversions last year and now rank last in both categories.

Indiana was eighth in total offense last year but ranks first right now. Nebraska allowed 158 yards a game on the ground last year, mid-pack in the Big Ten. This year, the Cornhuskers are last with 225 yards per game, 14 yards behind 11th-place Michigan and nearly 72 yards behind No. 10 Penn State.

Minnesota (3-0) ranked 11th last year in pass efficiency and last in touchdown passes with 10. This year the Gophers are first in pass efficiency and have thrown nine touchdowns. Minnesota also ranks first in defensive pass efficiency after finishing 11th last year.

The Gophers were last in defensive interceptions in 2011 with four. They now rank second and have five picks. Wisconsin was second last year with 16 and now has none.

Michigan State led the Big Ten with 45 sacks last year. The Spartans are last with two. Northwestern was last in field-goal percentage and now ranks first. Iowa, which was fifth in pass efficiency and fourth in TD passes last year with 26, ranks last in both categories with no TD passes.

But not all is lost for the Big Ten. Indiana was last a year ago in penalties and remains so now. Michigan State is tops in total defense, just like last year. And both are 2-1 so far and have a chance to play for the Big Ten title, unlike Ohio State and Penn State.

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