Wisconsin Badgers Football: End of Season Grades

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This defensive squad under Dave Aranda for the most part shined throughout the season. The front seven for the Badgers, especially senior linebacker Chris Borland, really was the glue that kept this defense together. With the exception of the final two games of the season, losses to both Penn State and South Carolina, this squad was able to get after it and rush the quarterback. Stopping the run is what this defense did best, ranking fifth in the nation in run defense. They only allowed 102.5 yards per game and just eight touchdowns on the ground this year. And four of those touchdowns came in one game, a loss to Arizona State.

The passing defense was not horrible by any means, but it was suspect at times especially the last two games of the season (there’s a theme building here). They gave up 16 touchdowns through the air, but three times they gave up four a game and at no surprise to anyone they lost those three games. They only had nine interceptions all year, ranking well at the bottom of the nation. Freshman Sojourn Shelton was a bright spot however, grabbing four picks of his own.

Losing the final two games of this season and giving up big yards to Penn State and South Carolina (465 and 438 respectively), made this defense seem worse than it really was. Remember this defense was very stingy most of the year. At one point they didn’t allow offenses to score a touchdown in three straight Big Ten games. But the secondary giving up so many big plays throughout the season makes this a concern going forward.