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Badger Bits: Wisconsin masterful at avoiding penalties and turnovers

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Wisconsin rolled through the November portion of the schedule, racking up wins over Purdue, Indiana, Michigan, and Northwestern. The margins of victory in those games were 21, 63, 20, and 47. The way in which the Badgers won their November games were a major reason they were able to hold off Ohio State in the BCS standings for the Big Ten's Rose Bowl bid. The Badgers also posted an eye-popping turnover margin in November; they forced 16 turnovers and only committed three. That's a +3.25 turnover margin per game! Compare this to the month of September, where the Badgers actually committed more turnovers than they caused (three gained, four lost).

Jeff Potrykus of the Journal-Sentinel says the Badgers are the most disciplined team in the country, if the best indicators of discipline are avoiding penalties and turnovers. Wisconsin is first in the country in least penalties committed at 2.92 per game, while the Badgers are tied for first in the country with Iowa in least turnovers committed at nine. Scott Tolzien threw six interceptions, while James White, Isaac Anderson, and Nick Toon each lost one fumble. Wisconsin has cut down on the penalties and turnovers significantly compared to last season, and it's quite a turnaround when you consider that Wisconsin was 104th in the country in turnovers committed in 2008.

TCU is no slouch when it comes to these statistics- they are 5th in least turnovers committed and 33rd in least penalties committed. The Horned Frogs could still beat the Badgers if they lose the turnover margin; just ask Michigan State. The Spartans turned the ball over three times and didn't force any, but still defeated the Badgers by ten points. But in a matchup featuring two teams that take pretty good care of the ball, it's a good bet that whoever wins the turnover margin wins the Rose Bowl. Here's hoping the Badgers can carry over November's success in that department to January 1st.


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