Outback Bowl Preview By the Numbers

In part four of his preview series, Badgermaniac examines the Volunteer rushing offense in relation to the Wisconsin rushing defense as the squads prepare to face off in the Outback Bowl.

In today's analysis, I take a look at Tennessee's rushing attack vs. the Wisconsin rushing defense. Also note that sack yardage has been taken out of all the numbers. They will be included later in the analysis on passing offense/defense.

Volunteers rushing offense:

Tennessee averaged 39 carries per game for 175 yards for 4.5 yards per carry. Their opposition typically allowed 43 carries for 198 yards and 4.6 per carry.

Their best rushing games were against Southern Miss (+47 yards, +0.6 YPC), Arkansas State (+14 yards, +0.7 YPC), and Louisiana-Lafayette (+38 yards, +1.7 YPC).

Their worst rushing games were against Florida (-84 yards, -2.0 YPC), South Carolina (-122 yards, -1.3 YPC), and Arkansas (-11 yards, -1.0 YPC).

Overall, they had "plus" rushing yards five times and "minus" rushing yards eight times. In general, their rushing attack was slightly below average. Yes, they rely on the pass, but when they did run, they were no better than average, with most of their really productive games coming against poor rush defenses. Of note is that they had below average games in 5 of the last 6 games, including the final four.

Badgers rushing defense:

The Wisconsin defense allowed an average of 30 carries for 158 yards and a 5.2 YPC average on the season. Their opponent's average game was 38 carries for 185 yards and 4.9 YPC.

Their best rushing defensive games were against UNLV (-105 yards, -2.4 YPC), Michigan (-107 yards, -0.7 YPC), and Northern Illinois (-151 yards, -3.9 YPC).

Their worst rushing defensive games were against Washington State (+37 yards, +0.9 YPC), Michigan State (+67 yards, +3.9 YPC), and Illinois (+24 yards, +1.0 YPC). They also had pretty poor rush defense games against Indiana and Ohio State.

Overall, they had "plus" rush defense games five times and "minus" rush defense games six times.

The Wisconsin rushing defense was below average for much of the year. While the total rushing yards allowed were not atrocious, this was in part because teams just couldn't run as much since like most winning teams, they spent large parts of games behind and trying to play catchup. The telling figure is the 5.2 yards allowed per carry, which is 0.3 yards per carry more than they teams they played typically achieved.


Both units in this matchup were relatively weak throughout the season. Both units would typically be areas that opponents could attack, but it is questionable whether either team has the capacity to make this work for them to any substantial degree.

It is hard to know what to make of the matchup other than you would think that it would have to be called a draw. I will say that if either side can gain an edge here, the opportunity is there to turn a draw into a pretty beneficial advantage. My guess is that Tennessee runs for some success, though it won't be a key part of their offense.

Edge: Even

Next: Wisconsin passing offense vs. Tennessee passing defense

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