Wisconsin Rushing Offense vs. Florida State Rushing Defense
Wisconsin averaged 44 carries per game for 212 yards for 4.8 yards per carry. Their opposition typically allowed 36 carries for 125 yards and 3.5 per carry. The Badgers' rushing numbers are almost identical to last year, but the big difference is that the quality of rush defenses they faced has been MUCH better, indicating that the running game is a lot better.
Their best rushing games were against Indiana (+307 yards, +3.9 YPC), Akron (+252 yards, +2.6 YPC), and Michigan State (+158 yards, +2.3 YPC). These numbers are very impressive. You might be surprised but yes, IU did have a pretty decent rushing defense when not facing the Badgers. They also had very good rushing games against OSU, Iowa, and Cal-Poly.
Overall, they had "plus" rushing yards in 10 of 12 games (Fresno and Minnesota), but neither was a terribly poor game. The Badgers averaged an additional 1.3 yards per carry than might be expected given the opposition, a stunningly good number. This rushing offense was flat out impressive.
The Seminole defense allowed an average of 34 carries for 127 yards and a 3.7 YPC average on the season. Their opponent's average game was 38 carries for 137 yards and 3.6 YPC.
Their worst rushing defensive games were against Florida (+113 yards, +1.5 YPC), and NC State (+46 yards, +4.0 YPC).
Overall, they had above average rush defense games 7 times and "minus" rush defense games 5 times.
On paper, the Florida State rushing defense looks pretty good at first glance, but when you break it down further, you see that they played some pretty mediocre rushing offenses, which has a huge part in generating their numbers. They weren't bad by any means, but they were pretty much the definition of average. They gave up right about what you would expect and had almost as many poor games as good games.
This is the big key for the Badgers and on paper, they look to be able to run the ball against the Seminoles. Wisconsin faced some good defenses, and was able to run the ball against most of them, gashing most everybody. On the other side of the ball, the Seminoles faced only 3 good rushing offenses, and 2 of them ran all over them.
Florida State Rushing Offense vs. Wisconsin Rushing Defense
Florida State averaged 37 carries per game for 183 yards for 4.9 yards per carry. Their opposition typically allowed 36 carries for 129 yards and 3.6 per carry. As impressive as the Badger rushing attack has been, the Florida State rushing attack has been just as impressive. Their yards per game are a little less, but that is because they run it a little less. Still, that 1.3 yards per carry is right there with Wisconsin's total. This is a very very good rushing team.
Their best rushing games were against Miami (+190 yards, +2.6 YPC), Clemson (+162 yards, +4.3 YPC), and Western Carolina (+116 yards, +4.7 YPC).
They had a few marginal games, but nothing that I would call "bad".
Overall, they had "plus" rushing yards in 8 of 12 games and they all came against very good rushing defenses.
The Badger defense allowed an average of 34 carries for 133 yards and a 3.9 YPC average on the season. Their opponent's average game was 39 carries for 166 yards and 4.2 YPC. Like the Badger offense, the proof here comes via the number breakdown. While their rushing defense looks to be similar to the FSU rushing defense, they in fact faced teams that ran the ball better than the team's that FSU faced. Wisconsin had a very solid rushing defense on the year, taking off about 30 yards and a half yard per carry.
Their best rushing defensive games were against Michigan State (-110 yards, -2.4 YPC), Penn State (-96 yards, -2.0 YPC), and Akron (-88 yards, -1.0 YPC). (Yes, I was surprised to see the PSU game on the list, but their rush defense did in fact play pretty well that game.)
Their worst rushing defensive games were against Iowa (+87 yards, +3.3 YPC), and Michigan (+40 yards, +1.6 YPC). Neither game is a surprise. Michigan hurt the Badgers with the QB runs if you recall.
Overall, they had above average rush defense games 8 of 12 games.
This is a case of strength vs. strength. Ultimately though, the Florida State offense was been more impressive than the Badger rushing defense. The FSU rushing offense is very good, while the Wisconsin rushing defense is just pretty good.
Edge: Florida State (though the gap is smaller than the gap between the Wisconsin rushing offense and the FSU rushing defense.)
NEXT: The Passing Game