Tennessee Passing Offense:
The Volunteer offense averaged 28 completions on 45 attempts (63%) for 301 yards per game. Their TD/INT ratio was 31-12. They averaged 6.7 yards per attempt and allowed sacks on 1 percent of their attempts.
Tennessee opponents typically allowed 21 completions on 37 attempts (55%) for 226 yards per game. Their TD/INT ratio was 236/183. They allowed 6.3 yards per attempt and sacked the QB on 6 percent of the passing attempts.
So what does it all mean?
1. Despite being a winning team, Tennessee throws the ball a LOT.
2. Their completion percentage was 8% higher than your average QB. This is a very impressive total. Tennessee faced tougher pass defenses by and large than Wisconsin did, so picking up a +8% is huge.
3. Yards per attempt was slightly above average, picking up 0.4 yards per attempt. While they complete a lot of passes, they don't throw the ball down the field much, instead featuring a lot of dinking and dunking.
4. Their TD/INT ratio of 2.6/1, which was also outstanding.
5. The sack total is amazing. Nothing more I can say about it.
I will get to more in the analysis section, but as you can see, Tennessee can throw the ball. Perhaps giving the Badger some hope is that 5 of those picks came in the last two games. After sacks allowed in the first two games (at least one in scrub time), they allowed just 2 sacks in their last 11 games (more than 400 attempts).
Wisconsin Passing Defense:
The Badger defense allowed an average of 17 completions on 32 attempts (54%) for 207 yards per game. Their TD/INT allowed ratio was 15-11. They averaged 6.5 yards per attempt allowed and sacked the quarterback on 7% of their attempts.
Wisconsin opponents in non UW games averaged 19 completions on 32 attempts (58%) for 206 yards per game. Their TD/INT ratio was 217/141. They averaged 6.8 yards per attempt and allowed sacks on 6% of the passing attempts.
When taken as a whole, here is what we know about the Wisconsin passing defense:
1. Despite often trailing, Wisconsin opponents did not throw the ball all that much more than average.
2. They allowed 4% less in terms of pass completion, which is a solid figure.
3. They allowed 0.3 yards fewer per attempt than average, which is about average.
4. Their TD/INT rate of 1.4/1 was slightly better than average.
5. Their pass rush was also very slightly above average.
Wisconsin was better against the pass than the run this season, which bodes well considering their opponent. However, Tennessee was a really really good passing team so they are going to get the edge in this matchup.
What will be interesting to watch is how the Wisconsin DB's play the Tennessee receivers. Jack Ikegwuonu of course has the ability to play tight and help negate that short UT passing game, but with Allen Langford and Aaron Henry out, do you risk putting Ben Strickland or Josh Nettles or whomever lines up at DB up at the line of scrimmage and risk the big play? With UT's leading receiver out, it will be an interesting thing to watch. I suspect that Wisconsin will sit back on that side and play it safe and hope Erik Ainge doesn't pick them apart.
While we certainly won't see many sacks, if any, but pressure will still be important, forcing Ainge to get rid of the ball quickly in order to protect the "non-Ike" side of the field.
Next: Special teams