When: Saturday, November 19 – 12:00 PM ET
Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, Lafayette, Indiana
All-Time Series: Wisconsin leads 46-29-8
Last Meeting: Wisconsin won 24-7 (2015)
Line: Wisconsin -27.5
Entering the final two weeks of the regular season, Wisconsin sits at No. 7 in the country. Wisconsin will need all the style points it can get to impress potential committee members in the Badgers’ push for Indy (and possibly the playoffs).
Now enters Purdue. The Boilermakers sit at 3-7 on the season with just one win in conference play. Gerad Parker’s team has the second worst scoring differential (-133) in the conference behind lowly Rutgers, and Darrell Hazell was fired mid-season after another year of no marked improvements.
Wisconsin has won 10 consecutive games against Purdue dating back to 2004. During that span (2004-2015), Purdue has failed to score more than 20 points against the Badgers. Expect that trend to continue Saturday.
1 BURNING QUESTION: Can Wisconsin’s stingy defense put the clamps down on Purdue’s aerial assault?
Purdue’s pass offense currently sits at No. 18 in the nation in passing yards per game (309.2 yards per game). Wisconsin will need to play a solid game defensively to halt the strength of Purdue’s offense, which relies frequently on Sophomore QB David Blough and DeAngelo Yancey, who averages 19.4 yards per reception on the year along with seven receiving touchdowns. The Badgers secondary will certainly be tested Saturday, it will be interesting to see how Sojourn Shelton, Derrick Tindal, Leo Musso, and D’Cota Dixon perform against a talented Purdue receiving corps.
2 KEY STATS:
– 309.2 That’s the amount of passing yards that Purdue averages per game this season. As mentioned above, Wisconsin will have its hands full with this Purdue passing attack, which ranks in the top 20 nationally. DeAngelo Yancey is a dangerous deep threat and Sophomore QB David Blough is one of the best young play-callers in the conference – a rising star.
– 12.7 That’s the average amount points that Wisconsin is surrendering to opponents in 2016. Wisconsin has held every opponent that they have faced this season below their average scoring mark. Expect that trend to continue Saturday against a Purdue team that is averaging 25.1 points per game. Wisconsin hasn’t given up 20 points to a Purdue team in a decade, and the last time these two teams played (in 2015) the Wisconsin defense held the Boilermakers to just 7 points.
3 KEY PLAYERS:
David Blough, Purdue QB: If Purdue has any shot of pulling off the monumental upset on Saturday, the Boilermakers will have to outscore the Badgers behind their Sophomore QB. Blough is a talented thrower who can make teams pay if they are not careful. Look for Blough to try some deep shots early in the game in an attempt to create some big plays that Purdue can build momentum off of.
D’Cota Dixon, Wisconsin SS: The Junior safety has been arguably the most important player on the entire defense in 2016. Dixon has shown a great feel for pass coverage as well as run support, forcing pass break-ups and intercepting passes when tested in coverage. Dixon will look to make more impact plays against a team that will no doubt look to throw the football around more so than the other Big Ten foes that the Badgers have faced.
Leo Musso, Wisconsin FS: On the other side of Wisconsin’s defensive backfield, Leo Musso has been outstanding for the Badgers in 2016 as well. The senior safety tends to help more in run support than Dixon does but Musso is extremely capable in coverage as well (see interception vs Illinois last Saturday). Musso and Dixon could represent the best safety tandem in college football, and they will be need to come up big for Wisconsin if the Badgers want to get one step closer to Indianapolis (and possibly the College Football Playoffs).
4 STAFF PREDICTIONS:
Andy: Wisconsin 55-7
Dave: Wisconsin 42-7
Phil H.: Wisconsin 35-13
Philip R-R.: Wisconsin 45-10
Zach: Wisconsin 42-10