NCAA Week 12: Previewing the Wisconsin-Purdue Match-up

November 19, 2016 • Jon Lowe • Big Ten, Front Page, NCAA, Predictions, Preview

That was a true defensive showing for the ages for Wisconsin last week, although they did allow the Illinois Fighting Illini to get a field goal.

However, four first half interceptions, no touchdowns, under 200 yards, that’s all impressive.

It was a way for this championship level defense to add on some statistics, and the offense also had an opportunity to get going. Forty-eight points is the second highest total of the season for the Badgers, and the only time outside of the 54-10 win over Akron that they scored more than 30 points on the season.

This is the last true road game of the season for the Badgers, and this two-loss team has split those losses between being at home and on the road. They’ve lost by seven points each time, and both of those losses are to teams who would be in the College Football Playoff if the season ended today

Purdue is no longer than biggest pushover in the Big Ten, due to a dynamic passing game. Quarterback David Blough will hit over 3,000 yards by the time the season ends, but playing this defense means he has no shot at 4,000. Purdue is a team slowly on the rise, and the Badgers should not take them lightly.

Purdue is basically the anti-Badgers, as they throw the ball well, don’t play defense and have a terrible running game. Purdue is 113th in total defense, and even worse in run defense at 122nd. They are also 124th in rushing offense, so the Badgers’ defense just needs to key in on the passing attack. Purdue does spread the ball around, however, as five players have over 300 yards receiving on the season. With the return of Natrell Jamerson in the secondary, and the four interceptions against Illinois, I still give the edge to the Badgers in both phases.

As far as the Purdue defense is concerned, the pass defense is 53rd overall despite the terrible running defense. I honestly wouldn’t even try to throw the ball against the Boilermakers until they show up in an attempt to stop the run, seeing how “great” Wisconsin’s passing game is. The Badgers offense is 91st overall, that is with the rushing attack being 40th, so the passing game isn’t a strong suit for Wisconsin. They just need to keep running the football, and play the way they normally do. That is how the offense will get going against Purdue.

I don’t see how the Badgers lose to Purdue with the way that the team’s strengths perfectly align with their extreme weaknesses. I know it is a road test and that anything can happen, but I don’t see a way for that being the case this week. The Badgers will get halfway to the Big Ten Championship this Saturday, with a final score of Wisconsin 21, Purdue 14.

Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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