Crunching The Numbers: OSU-Wisconsin

These teams have had some noteworthy battles with a No. 1 ranking involved. Find details on that along with a scoring trend in the series, a Big Ten record on the line, Chris Wells' shot at a little history, a comparison of how rarely OSU opponents enter the red zone compared to others and more in this week's Crunching The Numbers.


The Buckeyes are again ranked No. 1, which is worth mentioning in this space this week for a couple of reasons.

Ohio State is 5-1 when facing Wisconsin as the nation's No. 1 team with the loss coming 65 years ago today as the sixth-ranked Badgers dealt head coach Paul Brown's Buckeyes their only loss of the 1942 campaign. The Buckeyes still went on to be crowned national champions by the Associated Press.

Ohio State got its revenge 10 years later when an unranked bunch of Buckeyes (including Howard "Hopalong" Cassady) traveled to the Madison and knocked off No. 1 Wisconsin and fullback Alan "The Horse" Ameche, 23-14, the only week the Badgers have ever reached that lofty position in the poll.


Wisconsin has won its last three trips to Ohio Stadium (1999, 2001, '04). Prior to that streak, which began in 1999, the Badgers had won just two times in their previous 30 visits to the Horesehoe.


Chris Wells needs four yards to become the fifth Ohio State running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season as a sophomore. He would join Archie Griffin, Keith Byars, Vince Workman and Antonio Pittman.


This number combination is not just a song by The Doors but also the ratio of Ohio State scoring drives to those by its opponent. The Buckeye offense has driven to scores 50 times while the OSU defense has allowed the opponent to do so just 10 times.


Six of the 45 players listed as prospective starters on offense and defense for Ohio State and Wisconsin are seniors (the Badgers list 12 starting positions on offense: five linemen, two tight ends, two wide receivers, a fullback, a tailback and a quarterback).


Ohio State's conference-best average yards per pass play is 8.3.


There are nine Badgers from Ohio: defensive back Otis Merrill (Cleveland), running back Lance Williams-Smith (Warren), wide receiver Kyle Jefferson (Cleveland), defensive back Shane Carter (Troy), defensive back Prince Moody (Columbus), defensive lineman Brandon Kelly (Bedford), offensive lineman Bill Nagy (Hudson), wide receiver Daven Jones (Cleveland) and defensive lineman Jason Chapman (Bedford Heights).


Ohio State opponents have made 11 trips inside the red zone in nine games. That total is less than half that of any other Big Ten team. The next fewest is a three-way tie between Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, whose respective opponents have all made 25 trips inside the 20-yard line.


Ohio State has won 19 conference games in a row, setting a school record and tying the Big Ten record set by Michigan from 1990-92.


In 85 games under Jim Tressel, Ohio State has been outrushed 21 times. That total includes all four previous meetings with Wisconsin.


Neither team has scored more than 24 points in any of the last five meetings in the series. Both teams enter this game averaging at least 30 points per game this season.


Wisconsin leads the Big Ten and is second in the nation in average time of possession (34:08). Ohio State is second in the Big Ten and seventh in the nation (32:38).


This Saturday Ohio State will retire jersey No. 99 to honor two-way standout Bill Willis, a Buckeye from 1942-44 who contributed to Ohio State's national championship team in 1942 and earned All-America honors in '43 and '44. He later played for the Cleveland Browns and was one of the first African-Americans to re-integrate professional football.


Jim Tressel is 18-3 in November games as head coach at Ohio State. That equates to a winning percentage of 85.7, more than two points higher than his overall winning percentage at OSU.


Ohio State and Wisconsin have averaged virtually the same number of yards per game (419.2 for the Buckeyes and 418.4 for the Badgers) but Ohio State's defensive average is 119.5 yards better than that of Wisconsin.

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