Brush up on the University of Wisconsin football team heading into its game against Nebraska at 7 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.
#1 • A very generous nature
Since Bo Pelini became coach at Nebraska in 2008 his teams have lost 62 fumbles, including seven this season. That’s an awful lot of unintended generosity. For perspective, the Badgers have lost 43 fumbles during that span, including 11 since the start of the 2010 season. Ohio State (28) and Penn State (36) have the fewest fumbles among Big Ten teams during that time.
#2 • Forcing the issue
The Badgers have forced just one turnover in the first four games — the defense still hasn’t recorded a fumble or intercepted a pass — which is a major departure from recent history. UW had 26 takeaways last season, 23 in ’10 and 27 in ’09. After the Badgers recovered a special teams fumble vs. UTEP last week, junior linebacker and co-captain Chris Borland said turnovers tend to come in bunches. He didn’t say when that tide would turn.
#3 • Chain of events
Nebraska has converted 28 of 50 third downs for a 56-percent success rate that stands seventh in the country. The Badgers have allowed opponents to move the chains 29.2 percent of the time (19 of 65) to rank 21st nationally. Who will blink?
#4 • WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES
Big plays have helped define the Cornhuskers thus far. They have 70 plays of 10 yards or more, including 29 that have gone for at least 20 yards. Only Georgia (35) and UCLA (31) have more. UW, meanwhile, has done a decent job limiting big plays, allowing 40 of 10 yards or more (10 per game).
#5 • Fashion statement
Both schools are adidas clients, which explains their taste in uniforms for tonight’s game. The Badgers will wear white pants and jerseys with a helmet design that harkens back to the 1962 Big Ten championship team. Nebraska will wear red pants and jerseys with a black helmet honoring its Blackshirt tradition on defense.