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

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Wisconsin safety Tanner McEvoy communicates with the linebackers before a snap against Miami (OH). Jim Oxley photo

Getting Off The Field Quickly

Wisconsin forces a lot of three-and-outs, and that has a lot to do with how well the defense performs on third downs. Teams have faced 127 third downs against the Badgers this season and have converted on 39 of them. The 30.71 third-down conversion percentage ranks No. 14 in the country.

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The Badgers also perform well when opponents go for it on fourth down. Out of the 13 fourth-down attempts so far this season, teams have failed to convert on nine of them. The Badgers are No. 15 in nation with a 30.77 fourth-down conversion percentage.

Wisconsin ranks in the middle of the pack at No. 59 in turnovers forced with 13, so the Badgers’ third-and-fourth down conversion rates are crucial, as the defense does not get as many turnovers as it might like.

Getting the defense off the field has been especially important this season. Without a great running game, a lot of pressure has gone to Stave, who has suffered through inconsistency once again. The defense has been able to stop opponents’ drives quickly to limit the pressure of the offense.

The defense has saved Wisconsin on several occasions. When the Badgers start the game slowly on the offensive side of the ball, the defense makes sure the game remains close while the offense starts to get it going, which it eventually does.

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