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Badgers passing could give Michigan fits

Fresh off an 83-point outburst against Indiana, the Wisconsin Badgers and their powerful offense head to Michigan.

Wisconsin has earned a reputation for producing powerful running backs that lead its offense, but there is far more to the Badgers’ attack than a physical ground game. Senior quarterback Scott Tolzien has been one of the most efficient and accurate quarterbacks in the FBS this season, and makes the offense multi-dimensional.

The Badgers would still prefer to win by running the ball, but defenses can no longer stack the box and dare Wisconsin to beat them through the air.

In their nine wins this season, Tolzien has completed at least 68 percent of his attempts in each game. He also spreads the ball around to several targets – Wisconsin has seven players with at least 100 receiving yards. Leading the way is Lance Kendricks, who averages 15.3 yards per reception.

The passing game also helps Wisconsin excel in situations where traditional running teams struggle. The Badgers are ninth in the FBS on third-down conversions, converting a first down 51.4 percent of the time.

Tolzien’s impact is especially pronounced on third and long. The Badgers have thrown the ball 15 times on third-and-10 situations. Tolkien is 11-for-15 in 3rd-and-10 situations, converting a first down seven times, and netting 15 yards or more on four occasions.

Facing Tolzien and the Wisconsin passing attack is a Michigan defense that has struggled with injuries and performance all season . The Wolverines defense is allowing 270.2 passing yards per game which ranks 114th in the country.