Preview: Purdue at Wisconsin
Wisconsin looks to continue its recent dominance of Purdue when it hosts the Boilermakers on Homecoming Saturday. The Badgers have won nine consecutive meetings in the series, including the last seven by an average of 28 points, and hope to kick-start their sputtering running attack against a Purdue defense that is giving up 215 rushing yards per contest.
“We’re excited to be back home playing Purdue this weekend, but there are certain areas that we need to clean up,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst told reporters. “They have a couple of players that we certainly have to make sure we pay attention to.”
Purdue has dropped four consecutive games following a disappointing 41-13 home loss to Minnesota. The Boilermakers are heading in the wrong direction as they are 5-25 under coach Darrell Hazell, including a 1-17 record in Big Ten play, and they hope to turn their fortunes around by beating Wisconsin for the first time since Oct. 18, 2003.
“We still have six games left and we’re not writing the season off,” Hazell told reporters. “We’ve got to keep pushing them and pulling them to make sure they take steps forward.”
TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network.
LINE: Wisconsin -24
ABOUT PURDUE (1-5, 0-2 Big Ten): Markell Jones has been one of the lone bright spots on offense for the Boilermakers as the freshman has rushed for a team-high 412 yards and five touchdowns. Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, who leads the team with 49 tackles, tore his ACL in practice last Wednesday but is refusing to rule out a return later in the season. “Nothing is set in stone yet,” Bentley told reporters. “We’ve talked about a whole lot of different scenarios of what we could possibly do.”
ABOUT WISCONSIN (4-2, 1-1): Joel Stave set a program record with 50 pass attempts and completed 24 for 322 yards and a touchdown in the 23-21 win over Nebraska, and needs three more passing scores to move ahead of John Stocco for second place on the school’s all-time list. Senior linebacker Joe Schobert has terrorized opposing quarterbacks as he leads the nation with 13.5 tackles for loss and ranks second with nine sacks. The offensive line could get reshuffled once more as center Dan Voltz suffered an elbow injury against the Cornhuskers and hasn’t practiced this week.
1. Wisconsin has outscored Purdue 175-57 in the last four meetings.
2. The Badgers have won 71 of their last 79 home games.
3. The Boilermakers have lost 11 consecutive contests to FBS opponents.
PREDICTION: Wisconsin 34, Purdue 13