Wisconsin Football: Five Reasons the Badgers Have the Best Defense in the Country

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The Wisconsin Badgers defense takes the field against Purdue. Jim Oxley photo

The Wisconsin football team comes into this Saturday’s game against Maryland with the No. 1 scoring defense in all of college football. Through nine games, defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s unit has allowed just 11 points per contest.

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Wisconsin’s defense has been the driving force behind a 7-2 overall record, including 4-1 in Big Ten play. The Badgers have been without their star running back Corey Clement for much of the season, playing in just two games but never at full health. It has been the defense that has kept Wisconsin just a half-game behind the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten West Division while its 70th-ranked scoring offense has struggled to rack up the points.

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The Badgers’ defense has been especially good at Camp Randall this year. Wisconsin allowed just three points in its home, nonconference schedule, including shutouts against Miami (Ohio) and Hawaii.

Through six home games, opponents have scored just three touchdowns against the Badgers even though it was not entirely at the fault of the defense. Each touchdown was set up by an interception thrown by Joel Stave. Iowa scored after a pick was returned to the Badgers’ 31-yard line and same with Purdue, who began its drive at the 29. The third touchdown came in Saturday’s game against Rutgers that came via a 50-yard pick-six for the Scarlet Knights.

Without those interceptions thrown by Stave, the Badgers might not have given up a home touchdown at all this season. Crazy.

The Badgers rank among the best in the country in several defensive categories. Wisconsin gives up 267.1 yards per game, good for third best in the country. The Badgers also have the seventh-best run defense and allows the 12th-least passing yards in the country.

Here are five reasons why the Badgers have the No. 1 defense in the country nine games into the college football season.

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