Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter
The bizarre, important and historic numbers from around the Big Ten conference.
True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether it's a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the Big Ten to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in Week 13:
296.3: Braxton Miller's total offense per game in Big Ten play
The Buckeyes' star quarterback missed two full games and most of a third in the non-conference season this fall. However, since returning to the lineup at the start of the Big Ten season, no player in the league has been more productive. In conference play, Miller leads the league in total offense (296.3) and passing efficiency (166.2). He has topped 300 yards of total offense in four of his last five games and has taken his game to another level of late, rushing for 338 yards in his last two games. He has 17 touchdown passes and five rushing scores with just three interceptions in seven Big Ten wins.
14: Combined consecutive 100-yard games from Ameer Abdullah and Jeremy Langford
Nebraska has surged to win three out of four since losing to Minnesota and much of the credit goes to running back Ameer Abdullah. He is leading the Big Ten in rushing yards (1,483) and yards per game (134.8) after his eighth consecutive 100-yard effort. Not to be outdone, Michigan State's Jeremy Langford posted his sixth consecutive 100-yard effort in a dominating, division-clinching win over Northwestern. His 15 rushing scores lead the Big Ten. Having said all of that, Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde — who missed three games due to suspension early in the year — has more rushing yards (1,023) and TDs (13) in conference games than anyone else in the Big Ten.
24-7: Mark Dantonio’s Big Ten record over the last four seasons
Michigan State went 7-1 in 2010 and '11 in Big Ten play and won the Legends Division in the conference’s first year of divisional play. The Spartans came up just a few plays short of winning the Big Ten title over Wisconsin that year. After a 3-5 rebuilding year in 2012, Michigan State has reestablished itself as a Big Ten power. Dantonio’s team is 7-0 in the Big Ten and it gives him a third seven-win Big Ten season in four years. Michigan State has won the Legends Division two of the possible three seasons and will likely finish unbeaten in Big Ten play with Minnesota coming to town next weekend.
10: Straight wins for Wisconsin over Minnesota
On a blistering day in Minneapolis, the Badgers won the 10th straight battle for the Paul Bunyan Axe. The oldest rivalry in college football was once dominated by the Gophers but since Barry Alvarez took over in Madison, Wisconsin has owned the series. Since 1995, Wisconsin is 17-2 against Minnesota and it has closed the overall series to a near tie at 58-57-8. Additionally, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland forced his 14th career fumble, tying an all-time NCAA record.
7: Times Wisconsin has held an opponent to 10 points or fewer
With yet another suffocating defensive performance against Minnesota on the road, Wisconsin has now held seven of its 11 opponents to 10 points or fewer. Wisconsin pitched shutouts against UMass and Tennessee Tech to start the year. Purdue (10), Iowa (9), Minnesota (7), Northwestern (6) and Indiana all failed to score more than 10 points with the Boilermakers being the only team to score an offensive touchdown. Only Alabama (9) has more games with 10 points allowed or fewer than Wisconsin in the FBS ranks. Dave Aranda’s defense ranks No. 5 nationally in scoring defense (13.4 ppg) and No. 6 in yards allowed (278.5 ypg) in a league where Michigan State gets all of the headlines for leading the nation in defense.
18: Coldest temperature of an Iowa home football in history
The weather might have been the biggest storyline in the Big Ten this weekend. According to KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, the Iowa Hawkeyes played the coldest game in school history against Michigan on Saturday. Prior to last weekend, the coldest recorded temperature in Iowa home football history was 23 degrees (at kickoff) on Nov. 20, 1926 against Northwestern. At kickoff at noon eastern against Michigan on Saturday, the temperature was 18 degrees at Kinnick Stadium. And, oh by the way, has anyone noticed that Iowa could finish 8-4 this year?
20 and 5: Ryan Shazier total tackles and tackles for a loss against Indiana
Ryan Shazier posted a stat line for the ages in the crushing home win over Indiana. The Ohio State linebacker totaled 20 tackles, 5.0 tackles for a loss, one sack and a forced fumble in the victory. He is leading the Big Ten in tackles (109), tackles for a loss (20.5) and is third in sacks (6.5). Shazier has posted a sack in four straight games and is third nationally in tackles for a loss.
20: Illinois' Big Ten losing streak that was snapped this weekend
Ron Zook started 6-0 back in 2011 before losing six straight — all Big Ten games — to finish the year. He was removed from power and the reins of the Fighting Illini football program were given to Tim Beckman. Beckman proceeded to lose his first 14 Big Ten games. Illinois' 20-game Big Ten losing streak came to an end this weekend when the Illini topped Purdue 20-16 in a pillow fight between two teams that entered Saturday winless in conference play. Beckman’s team has shown improvement in his second year and it likely means he deserves a third trip through the Big Ten.