The Purdue Boilermakers (1-5, 0-2) will travel to face the Wisconsin Badgers (4-2, 1-1) in a Big Ten West Division matchup Saturday afternoon. Wisconsin has won the last nine meetings in the series, including a 34-16 win as a 16.5 point favorite on November 8, 2014 in the most recent matchup between the schools.
Purdue is coming off a 41-13 pasting at home by Minnesota last week. Wisconsin narrowly edged Nebraska on the road, taking a 23-21 victory. This contest kicks off at 12:00 pm ET from Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin and will be televised on the Big Ten Network. Wisconsin is currently a 24 point favorite with the over/under set at 48 points in this contest.
Purdue was within 10-6 at the half but fell apart in the third quarter as Minnesota outscored them 28-0 to blow the doors off this one. The Boilermakers committed four turnovers in the game, with one being a pick six that was part of that third quarter explosion by Minnesota. Purdue found themselves outgained 408-275 in the game and a -3 in takeaway/giveaway while allowing the Golden Gophers to hold the ball for 36:03 to the Boilermakers’ 23:57.
The Boilermakers are averaging 228.7 yards through the air (68th in the nation) and 148.2 yards per game on the ground (94th) this season. Purdue is scoring 25 points per game but they rank 103rd in scoring defense as they allow 34.3 points a contest. Austin Appleby was the starter under center but he’s completed 54.5 percent of his throws for 669 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions but he’s questionable with a thigh injury. David Blough has been good as a freshman, completing 68 of 127 passes for 694 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. Markell Jones is the team’s leading ground gainer with 66 carries for 412 yard and five scores; D.J. Knox adds 80 carries for 315 yards and two scores. Danny Anthrop is the team’s top receiving threat with 25 grabs for 225 yards plus a score while DeAngelo Yancey has 17 receptions for a team high 318 yards and two scores; Knox has 18 grabs out of the backfield. A close game doesn’t favor Purdue: Paul Griggs has hit 20 of 21 extra points but is 3 of 8 on field goals.
Wisconsin found themselves down 14-10 after three quarters before rallying with three fourth quarter scoring drives. Rafael Gaglianone booted a 46 yard field goal with four seconds to play after misfiring on a 39 yard kick slightly more than a minute earlier to get the win for the Badgers. The field goal helped save the day for the Badgers, who had outgained the Cornhuskers 469-325, forced the lone turnover of the game, picked up 25 first downs to Nebraska’s 13 and won the time of possession battle 31:56 to 28:04.
The Badgers have put up an average of 239.2 yards per game through the air (55th in the nation) and 164.3 yards per contest on the ground, which is 77th in the nation. Wisconsin is putting up 26 points per game and rank 5th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 11.5 points per game. The Badgers are still running the ball more than 50 percent of the time but not nearly as effective or as prolific as in recent years: they have 223 rushing attempts and 206 passes so far this season. Joel Stave has completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 1,386 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. With Corey Clement out after sports hernia surgery, it’s the duo of Taiwan Deal (81 carries, 357 yards, 4 TD) and Dare Ogunbowale (77 carries, 426 yards, 3 TD) working as a 1-2 combination. Alex Erickson leads the Badgers with 33 catches for 463 yards and a score but he did suffer a concussion against Iowa earlier this season. That means Robert Wheelwright (19 receptions, 261 yards, 3 TD), Austin Traylor (10 receptions, 156 yards, 3 TD) and Derek Watt (10 grabs, 83 yards) will need to step up. Rafael Gaglianone has hit all 17 extra points but is only 9 of 15 on field goals.
Wisconsin is 5-1 ATS in their last six against teams with a losing record and 24-9 ATS in their last 33 home games against teams with a losing road record. Purdue is 6-13-4 ATS in their last 23 on fieldturf, 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight after a straight up loss, 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine after a straight up loss by at least 20 points, 1-4-1 ATS in their last six conference games, 0-4 ATS in their last four after scoring less than 20 points and 0-5-1 ATS in their last six after allowing less than 170 yards through the air.
The Badgers may have salvaged their season with the win over Nebraska last week and now has an easier opponent in this one as Purdue has struggled. The Boilermakers have a lot of young players that may eventually develop into good players but without experience, it’s an uphill battle. Wisconsin wins this one in a romp, especially playing at home.