Take a bow, Wisconsin.

At the midway point of the season, you’ve earned it.

Now take 5 bows, Wisconsin defense.

That would be more bows than touchdowns allowed (4) for Jim Leonhard’s group. That’s right. Through 6 games, Wisconsin has allowed a whopping 4 touchdowns. Literally as I was typing that sentence, Zack Baun intercepted a Brian Lewerke pass and returned it for a touchdown.

That was Wisconsin’s fourth defensive touchdown of the year.

I know what you might be thinking — Connor, why were you already writing this column in the beginning of the fourth quarter?

Um, because I don’t think Michigan State could’ve scored 24 points on Wisconsin’s defense if they stayed on the field until December.

The Badgers are that freaking good.

And not like “oh, what a gritty group of guys who will probably get demolished when they have to face real contenders.” Nope. We’re past that point. Wisconsin led Michigan 35-0 and one point and it led Michigan State 31-0 as I typed this sentence. In those other 4 games, the Badgers outscored teams 182-15.

You could’ve convinced me that Wisconsin was playing 14 guys on Saturday/all year and I would’ve believed you. Chris Orr plays like he has a headset that’s giving him every offensive play.

It’s hard to put into words just how suffocating the Badgers have been. So instead, let’s look at these numbers before Saturday’s defensive demolition (FBS ranks):

  • Scoring defense: No. 1
  • Total defense: No. 1
  • Passing defense: No. 1
  • 3rd down defense: No. 1
  • Rushing defense: No. 2
  • Defensive TDs: No. 2
  • Red zone defense: No. 4
  • Sacks: No. 8

It’s absurd. Again, that was before Saturday when Wisconsin basically gave Michigan State a swirly.

(Bullying is not cool. Doing what Wisconsin’s defense is doing is the closest form of bullying that I endorse.)

The average person is going to say that the Badgers haven’t faced a bunch of quality offenses yet and that they aren’t impressed. That’s fine. You can be late to the party if you want.

Even though MSU, Northwestern and Michigan aren’t exactly offensive juggernauts, surely anyone can be impressed by the fact that those teams scored a combined 29 points against the Badgers. And sadly, we’ll have to wait until 2020 to see if a Group of 5 team can score against Wisconsin.

We might have to wait another couple weeks to see if another B1G team can score against Wisconsin. With all due respect to Illinois, but I don’t like Lovie Smith’s team chance of scoring a touchdown. Maybe they’ll shock the world and hit double digits? I don’t know.

What I do know is that game against Ohio State looks like the only worthy test for Wisconsin’s defense all year. Seeing what the Badgers can do to shut down Justin Fields, J.K. Dobbins and the Buckeyes will be a fascinating thing to watch.

Speaking of the Buckeyes and their heralded defense, they actually didn’t play quite as well as Wisconsin did against Michigan State. A week ago, MSU had nearly 300 yards of offense in Columbus. In Madison, MSU surpassed 100 total yards … with 90 seconds left.

And shortly after that, the Badgers picked off a pass on a garbage time drive for MSU to close it out. Because of course.

Wisconsin is the first B1G team with 4 shutouts in its first 6 games since Minnesota in 1962. In 24 quarters of football, the Badgers held the opposing offense without a point in 20 of them.

I mean, what else is there to say?

How about this — those 4 shutouts are a Wisconsin single-season record. We’re only halfway through the season!

Here’s a list of teams on the remaining schedule who I think might struggle to score a point against the Badgers:

  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Nebraska
  • Purdue
  • Minnesota

Yes, that’s everyone not named Ohio State. Do you blame me?

Dare I say, Leonhard’s unit swarms the ball like a vintage Nick Saban defense. It’s just different because we’re talking about non-top 1,000 recruits like Baun and Orr compared to 5-star, future first round picks at Alabama. The results, however, are the same.

The question that all Wisconsin fans have is how far can this group go? Is it a 2017 repeat that’s bound to end with disappointment against Ohio State in the B1G Championship? Or can this be the year Wisconsin puts it all together and makes a Playoff run?

It’s too early to tell, but the good news is that in a couple weeks, the Badgers will get a preview of that potential conference title matchup. If for some reason this defense does have weaknesses — dealing with a true dual-threat QB, stopping an elite bell-cow back, etc. — we’ll see it.

Right now, though, it’s hard to imagine this Wisconsin defense having a “back to earth moment.” Who knows that that would even look like. Allowing their first first half touchdown of the year? I don’t know, man. All I know is I need to stop being amazed by the Badgers defense every week.

From now on, I’ll instead be amazed when an offense actually scores against them.