Auburn Outback Bowl Preview: Wisconsin Badgers Defense and Special Teams

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Nov 29, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Marcus Trotter (59) celebrates following a play during the third quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

You wouldn’t know it by looking at the box score of their most recent game, but the Wisconsin Badgers have had a very successful season, especially on defense.

The Badgers are 10-3, champions of the Big Ten West, and were ranked No. 18 in the final College Football Playoff rankings. Led by a strong defense that had allowed only 16.8 points per game, Wisconsin took a seven-game win streak into the Big Ten Championship Game.

However, they were completely humiliated by the Ohio State Buckeyes 59-0.

Ohio State racked up 558 total yards with a third-string quarterback, including 257 passing yards and three touchdowns. The Badgers were no match for the Buckeyes’ rushing attack, either, and allowed 301 yards on the ground, including 220 yards and two touchdowns (including an 81-yarder) on only 20 carries by Ezekiel Elliott.

All of that offensive production came against a Wisconsin defense that ranked first in the Big Ten and fourth in the nation in scoring defense (16.8 points allowed per game), first in the conference and second in the country in total defense (260.3 yards per game), and first in the league and second overall in passing defense (156.6 yards per game).

Wisconsin also came into the game among the top ten teams nationally in rushing defense (103.8 yards per game) and passing efficiency defense (104.9).

Simply put, aside from one horrific performance on the biggest stage of the season, the Badgers played very solid defense.

“We’ve had some guys who are two- to three-star recruits,” linebacker Vince Biegel told recently. “Not a lot of highly recruited guys, not highly touted coming out of high school. Kind of a bunch of, per se, white farmer guys who strap on their helmets and go out there and play Wisconsin defense.”

The Auburn football team has an explosive offense that leads the SEC in rushing, with a dual threat quarterback that set a school record with 456 passing yards against No. 1 Alabama.

But, 59-0 embarrassment notwithstanding, the Tigers will have their hands full with the Badgers.

Next: Wisconsin Defensive Line