Wisconsin Football: Predicting Running Back Stats

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Running back Jonathan Taylor (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Running back Jonathan Taylor (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Wisconsin Football
MADISON, WI – SEPTEMBER 09: Michael Deiter (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

What kind of stats can the Wisconsin football backfield put up in 2018?

Wisconsin football found its groove again in 2017 with a breakout performance from Jonathan Taylor. There were other solid contributions from the rest of the backfield, and the offense was tough to stop. The Badgers averaged 223.2 rushing yards per game last year and scored 28 times on the ground. Those rushing touchdowns came from eight different players, including one from offensive linemen Michael Dieter on a backward pass.

Wisconsin’s 2017 rushing stats

Jonathan Taylor: 1,977 yards, 13 touchdowns

Bradrick Shaw: 365 yards, four touchdowns

Garrett Groshek: 297 yards, two touchdowns

Chris James: 233 yards, one touchdown

Rachid Ibrahim: 130 yards, 0 touchdowns

Austin Ramesh: 89 yards, three touchdowns

Kendric Pryor: 63 yards, two touchdowns

Alec Ingold: 25 yards, two touchdowns

Taiwan Deal: Missed season due to injury

This year, the running game could be even better than last. The entire offensive line returns for the Badgers, as well as the top four leading rushers. Pryor will continue to be a threat on end-around plays, and Ingold will carry on the fullback dive tradition at Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is in a bit of a different place this year than it was last year heading into the season. There wasn’t a clear-cut top running back in 2017 and the expectations weren’t tremendously high. This year is a completely different story. Taylor is an early Heisman Trophy contender, and the starting job is his from the start. He’ll be leaned on very heavily.

The pieces that will support Taylor are different too, though they’re most of the same names. Last year, any one of them could have taken over the lead role. The Badgers coaching staff gave them each ample opportunities to do so. Taylor was just the one who took it and ran (very far) with it. They have different roles and won’t necessarily be expected to contribute at 1,000-yard levels. Shaw, Groshek, and James are simply supporting backs.

Here’s how Badger of Honor projects the Wisconsin Badgers backfield to produce in 2018.