In small sample size, Hornibrook's statistics have propelled Badgers

Alex Hornibrook hopes to lead Wisconsin past Michigan Saturday in only his second career start. 

Image By: Gage Meyer

Whether they are displayed on stat lines or stitched onto jerseys, numbers are forever integrated with sports. Over the last decade, statistics have become tools for coaches and upper management to make better decisions. For the 2016 Wisconsin Badgers, their statistics translate to on-field success.

Rolling into Week 5 with a 4-0 record, the Badgers have averaged 30.8 points/game. Its defense has been lockdown thus far, holding opponents to 11.8 points/game. Justin Wilcox’s unit has six interceptions through four games and has accumulated 11 sacks against quarterbacks.

Against Georgia State, arguably the Badgers’ worst performance this year, it only had one sack. However, in last week’s Michigan State victory, they compiled four sacks. The Badgers must apply similar pressure on Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight next week if they want another victory against a tough conference opponent.

The Badger defense has done its job thus far, but the offense has trended slightly downward since the blowout win over Akron. In the 54-10 victory over the Zips, Wisconsin totaled 586 yards and averaged 7.15 yards per carry. Heading into Week 5, the Badgers need to focus on obtaining these large offensive yards against Jim Harbaugh’s team.

The Wolverines average 6.32 yards/play, which is higher than Wisconsin’s 5.46 yards/play. In the Big House, the Badgers must score early and often. While in the red zone, the Badgers score 77.78 percent of the time, a healthy conversion total that aligns with 11 TD’s.

Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook must perform even better in the red zone in Week 5. Michigan scores 91.67 percent of the time while in the red zone. Therefore, defenders T.J Watt, Leo Musso and D’Cota Dixon must perform well against another difficult challenge.

Maintaining their high level of resilience will not be easy, but there is optimism for a 2016 Big Ten title in Madison. If the offense contributes and the defense continues to perform well, then what was once called luck will be called ability. The numbers don’t lie, after all.

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