Badgers look to gash Boilers
Who: Purdue vs. Wisconsin
When: Saturday, 11 a.m. ET
Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: Wisconsin -24
Matchup to watch: Joe Schobert vs. David Blough
The mid-season All-American linebacker hasn’t been very nice to opposing quarterbacks recently. We all saw how much he harassed C.J. Beathard two weeks ago and he wasn’t much kinder to Tommy Armstrong last week. Next on Schobert’s list of quarterbacks to hunt is a redshirt freshman who has struggled in his last two weeks. Blough has a big arm and mobility, much like Armstrong. But Schobert and the Badgers have been relentless in pursuing the quarterback since the Alabama game. The likes of DeAngelo Yancey and Danny Anthrop have to get off the ball. Yancey can’t be invisible like he was last week. Blough needs his first and second reads to get open or else he’ll get to know Schobert in a hurry.
Thing I’m excited to see: A whole lot of Dare Ogunbowale
There’s a decent chance we don’t see Taiwan Deal in this one. He was hurt in last week’s win at Nebraska, and that meant a whole lot of Joel Stave and Ogunbowale. Against Purdue — a team that has been gashed by opposing ball-carriers all season — the Badgers are going to want to get back to the power ground game. There’s no way Stave should be throwing 50 times like he did last week. Wisconsin — even if center Dan Voltz isn’t active for this one — should still be able to win the line of scrimmage and get downhill against the nation’s 110th-ranked run defense.
Number to Remember: 38.4
That’s how many points per game the Boilermakers are allowing to FBS teams. Kansas, Oregon and Texas Tech are the only Power Five teams surrendering more. You know who Purdue won’t have on Saturday? Ja’Whaun Benley, who is only the team’s best tackler. We saw how badly the Boilers missed him when Minnesota ran all over them. The ability to break down and tackle a ball-carrier seems like such a fundamental, given skill. But Purdue is struggling even to do that right now, which isn’t exactly a vote of confidence heading into Camp Randall.
Prediction: Wisconsin 45, Purdue 14
If Wisconsin’s offense stalls as it has in the first two B1G games, then this could be a long year for the Badgers. A home matchup against the depleted Purdue defense is exactly what the Wisconsin offense needs to get back on track. I don’t think the Badgers need Deal or Corey Clement to establish the run against Purdue. I think Ogunbowale follows up last week’s effort with an even bigger day and the Wisconsin linebackers control the Purdue offense. There should be plenty of reasons to be jumping in Madison on Saturday.