Capital One Bowl by the Numbers
Taylor Mehlhaff (UW Athletics)
BN Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2006


Badgermaniac closes out his look at the numbers behind the Capital One Bowl with an examination of the special teams and other miscellaneous statistics.

Over the last few weeks, I have been attempting to break down some of the numbers for the 2007 Capital One Bowl teams.

In today’s analysis, I take a look at the Arkansas and Wisconsin special teams and other miscellaneous numbers.

Arkansas Punting vs. Wisconsin Punt Returns

Arkansas is 88th nationally in net average at 33.5 yards per punt, while Wisconsin is 98th in punt returns at 6.4 yards per return. Neither team has been very good here. Advantage: EVEN

Wisconsin Punting vs. Arkansas Punt Returns

Wisconsin is 25th nationally in net average at 37.1 yards per punt, while Arkansas is 69th in punt returns at 8 yards per return. Even though Debauche has been inconsistent this year, 25th isn’t terrible for a “bad” year. Advantage: WISCONSIN

Wisconsin Kick Returns vs. Arkansas Kick Coverage

Wisconsin is 119th (dead last by the way) at just 15.1 yards per return while Arkansas is 87th in coverage allowing 21.7 yards per return on 46 returned kicks. Both teams are quite poor. 46 kicks is a lot of returns so touchbacks are fairly rare. When players have brought the ball out, the coverage has been marginal. Wisconsin’s kick returns have been dreadful. Like the Arkansas punting game, this is a matchup of bad units. Advantage: EVEN

Arkansas Kick Returns vs. Wisconsin Kick Coverage

Arkansas is 7th nationally at 25.5 yards per return while Wisconsin is 70th in coverage allowing 21 yards per return on 29 returned kicks. This is a big danger area for the Badgers. Arkansas has been very effective on kick returns (2 TDs) while Wisconsin’s coverage has been spotty at best. This edge is lessened somewhat due to Taylor Mehlhaff’s ability to get touchbacks. Advantage: ARKANSAS

Wisconsin 3rd Down Conversions vs. Arkansas 3rd Down Defense

Wisconsin is 33rd in the nation at 41.9% while the Arkansas defense ranks 23rd at 32% allowed. Both teams are solid. Advantage: EVEN

Arkansas 3rd Down Conversions vs. Wisconsin 3rd Down Defense

Arkansas is 24th in the nation at 43.8% while the Wisconsin defense ranks 7th at 28.7% allowed. Both teams are good, but Wisconsin has been exceptional at getting off the field. Advantage: SLIGHT TO WISCONSIN

Turnover Margin

Wisconsin ranks 52nd nationally at +1 (23 takeaways/22 giveaways) while Arkansas ranks 85th at –5 (18 takeaways/23 giveaways). It is surprising that two teams with very successful seasons are a combined –4 in turnover margin. Advantage: SLIGHT TO WISCONSIN

Field Goal Kicking

Taylor Mehlhaff of Wisconsin is 14 for 19 for 74% while Jeremy Davis of Arkansas is 6 of 12 for 50%. Davis has been so poor that it would be a surprise if Arkansas didin’t go for it on some key 4th downs. Advantage: WISCONSIN

Penalties

Wisconsin has been penalized 57 times for 450 yards. Arkansas has been penalized 71 times for 631 yards. Advantage: WISCONSIN

Time of Possession

Wisconsin ranks 1st nationally at 33:46 minutes per game while Arkansas ranks 102nd at 28:33 per game. I was stunned when I saw how poorly Arkansas ranked despite being a strong running team. Advantage: WISCONSIN

Wisconsin Red Zone Offense vs. Arkansas Red Zone Defense

Wisconsin has scored on 84% of their red zone trips. They have scored 33 touchdowns and 10 field goals for 5.1 points per possession. Arkansas has allowed scores on 76% of their possessions. They have allowed 19 touchdowns and 9 field goals for 4.3 points per possession. The Arkansas defense has been ok in the red zone, but Wisconsin’s TD percentage is impressive. Advantage: WISCONSIN

Arkansas Red Zone Offense vs. Wisconsin Red Zone Defense

Arkansas has scored on 80% of their red zone trips. They have scored 30 touchdowns and 5 field goals for 5.1 points per possession. Wisconsin has allowed scores on 65% of their possessions. They have allowed 9 touchdowns and 8 field goals for 2.0 points per possession. Arkansas’s offense has been just as impressive as Wisconsin’s in the red zone. However, Wisconsin’s defense has been lights out as well, allowing TDs on just 9 of 26 possessions. Advantage: EVEN

Overall Analysis

There are very few large edges for either team when looking at special teams and miscellaneous stats. Wisconsin gets more checks in their favor, but many are fairly small edges and we must also remember that Arkansas played a tougher schedule than Wisconsin, so that minimizes some of these numbers as well. If I had to pick out a couple key areas to watch in order to differentiate two very evenly matched teams, I would say it would be the Arkansas kickoff returns and the field goal kicking game. Wisconsin must contain the Razorback return game, not only in terms of giving up the big play but also to control field position. On the other hand, if the game comes down to a key field goal or two in the fourth, the Badgers seem to have a solid edge.

Prediction

I see two evenly matched teams and would be very surprised if it wasn’t close. I think Arkansas is going to be able to run the ball and think Wisconsin is going to be able to throw it. Pass protection is key for the Badgers while Arkansas needs to be worried about throwing the ball (especially interceptions). I see a 24-21 type game. Since I AM the Badgermaniac, I will go 24-21 Wisconsin on a last second field goal.


Related Stories
Spring wrap-up: Special teams
 -by BadgerNation.com  Apr 29, 2006
Spring practice report, April 15
 -by BadgerNation.com  Apr 15, 2006
Spring preview: Special teams
 -by BadgerNation.com  Mar 24, 2006

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