The most important, unbelievable stats heading into Wisconsin’s matchup with Army

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Wisconsin has an old-school battle on the schedule for Saturday night, as the Army Black Knights and the triple-option offense are set to enter the gates of Camp Randall Stadium and face off against the 2-3 Badgers.

Army will enter Saturday with a 4-1 record on the season thanks to wins against Georgia State, Western Kentucky, UConn and Miami (Ohio). They do so scoring more than 34 points per game…but only throwing the ball 5-7 times.

Related: Film room: What exactly will Wisconsin’s defense be up against on Saturday?

We know where Wisconsin stands at this point in the season: the team has looked dominant against unranked opponents though struggled against the top-10 teams it’s faced.

Army will present a real test for Graham Mertz, for the Wisconsin running game and for Jim Leonhard’s defense.

Here are some of the most important stats, and some of the craziest, entering Saturday’s old-school battle:

Unbelievable: The Army Black Knights have......more touchdown passes than Wisconsin?

Army is a triple-option football team that seldom throws the football. Through five games, though, the team actually has more touchdown passes than Graham Mertz and the Badgers this season.

Army total touchdown passes: 4

Wisconsin touchdown passes: 3

Important: Something has to give on Saturday

Wisconsin’s yards per game allowed: 176 passing, 41.4 rushing, 217.8 total.

Army’s yards per game allowed: 222 passing, 54 rushing, 276 total.

So let’s digest the matchup here. Wisconsin is nearly unbeatable on the ground, yet all Army does is run the football. Army is beatable through the air, but Wisconsin has one of the least efficient pass offenses in the country.

Something has to give on Saturday (or maybe the game will end 3-0).

Unbelievable: Army's passing offense has been more efficient than Wisconsin's

This drum can only be beaten so much, as the Black Knights may not throw more than 5 passes on Saturday. But the numbers truly say that Army enters the contest with a more efficient passing offense than Wisconsin.

  • Army Expected Points Added–Passing: 0.045 (69th in the nation)

  • Wisconsin Expected Points Added–Passing: -0.406 (129th in the nation)

Wisconsin’s volume is a lot higher (28 attempts per game). But entering the game, that is what the numbers say.

Important: Early-down efficiency could decide the contest

Army’s offense is one of the least efficient teams on early downs of any in the nation (56.4% success rate–125th in the nation), while Wisconsin’s defense is the third-best in that area (53.49% success rate allowed).

Wisconsin getting Army to third-and-long will be pivotal, as we know how rarely they rely on the forward pass.

Wisconsin’s offense, on the other hand, is middle-of-the-pack on early downs (70.71% success rate–44th in the nation), while Army’s defense is near the bottom of the nation in that area (72.58% success rate allowed–94th in the nation).

Where does that favor the Badgers? Jim Leonhard’s defense will force Army into a lot of third-and-longs and be able to find favorable matchups and get off the field, while the Badger offense should be able to make third downs manageable for QB Graham Mertz and make the game easy for him.

I think this will prove to be one of the most pivotal statistics and areas of Saturday’s game.

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