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Athlon Sports: 14 Big Ten stats you need to know for 2016

I was asked to put together some key stats for each Big Ten program for a story published by Athlon Sports. You can read the full rundown of what I cooked up here, but here are a couple notable stats I particularly enjoyed.

27.62: Third-down percentage by Michigan’s opponents in 2015

No Big Ten team did a better job getting off the field on third down than Michigan, with Wisconsin the next best (31.2 percent). Michigan cut that number down 10 percentage points from 2014 and may have been one of the more underrated results under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh. It is the best third-down defense by this metric among all Big Ten teams since at least 2008.

114: Northwestern’s rank among FBS teams in scoring offense

Northwestern ranked near the bottom of FBS in scoring (19.5 ppg) yet still managed to win 10 games. That tells you how dependable Northwestern’s defense was, but can the Wildcats continue that trend and be successful this season?

And perhaps my favorite stat…

73.68: Purdue’s TD percentage in the red zone in 2015

Mind you, Purdue did not penetrate the 20-yard line too often (just 38 times), but at least the Boilermakers made the most of those opportunities. No Big Ten team had a better red zone touchdown percentage last fall.

There is a stat for all 14 Big Ten teams if you want to see what I came up with Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Nebraska, Rutgers and more.

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About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.