Both the Wisconsin Badgers and Purdue Boilermakers enter their Big Ten kickoff matchup searching for answers.
Purdue has stumbled its way through three games on the way to a 1-2 record. Darrell Hazell's first year as coach has been a bumpy ride, mostly because of a No. 113 ranked rushing attack. The Boilermakers played Notre Dame tough a week ago but failed to close out the game.
The Badgers played mediocre competition the first two weeks of their season, downing both Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech by a combined score of 93-0. Wisconsin was then humbled as Arizona ripped off 468 total yards and won via a controversial call in the closing seconds.
With both teams needing to get back on track and start on the right foot in Big Ten play, the stage is set for a critical matchup between two very different teams. Here's everything fans need to know about the contest from Madison.
When: Saturday, September 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)
- Over/Under: 48
- Spread: Wisconsin (-24)
Purdue Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Danny Anthrop||WR||08/18/2013||is expected to miss 6-8 weeks||Out||knee|
|Landon Feichter||S||09/08/2013||is out indefinitely||Out||ankle|
|J.J. Prince||T||08/17/2013||is out indefinitely||Out||concussion|
Wisconsin Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Chase Hammond||WR||09/15/2013||is questionable for Saturday's game against Purdue||Questionable||arm|
Can Purdue Limit the Wisconsin Ground Game?
Wisconsin wins games on the heels of its running game, and that is not going to change when Purdue comes to town. The Badgers only post 211 passing yards per game through the air, but crank out 337 per game on the ground.
Purdue and its No. 119 ranked offense with only 268 yards per game stands no chance if the defense cannot shut down the trio of Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement.
In three games Gordon has racked up 477 yards and four scores, White's notched 297 yards and two scores and the freshman Clement has gone for 251 and three touchdowns.
Wisconsin players have 7 100-yard rush game this year, most among FBS teams. Ties '12 Army for most thru 3 team games over last 10 seasons— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 18, 2013
The biggest takeaway for Purdue? Wisconsin only managed 231 rushing yards and two scores against legitimate competition from Arizona State. Purdue has a shot if its defense that only allowed 91 rushing yards to the Fighting Irish shows up.
After an awkward ending last week that robbed Wisconsin of a perfect mark, expect the Badgers to come out firing on all cylinders at home.
Which team wins?
The trio of running backs the Badgers field will ultimately wear down the Boilermaker's defense that has yet to encounter a serious running threat.
There's trap-game potential here, but for Purdue to make it happen, it would need a perfect outing on both sides of the football to go along with some good luck. An ability to close out a game with a lead, which it failed to do last week against Notre Dame, would help Purdue as well.
In the end, Wisconsin rolls thanks to an elite rushing attack as the team gains momentum back heading into a matchup with a talented Top 20 Northwestern team.
Badgers win 45-28
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling