Wiskydicto – The Badger Predicto
As we detailed yesterday, Purdue will be wearing their neat-o, military appreciation helmets tomorrow vs the Badgers. My only nit on them is how when you view them from the front angle, it almost looks like a French flag on the top center. Boo, frenchies. Except for french fries. Those are delightful. But when it comes to Wisconsin? Bad things, man. Bad things.
That’s what most Purdue fans think of when it comes to Wisconsin football. Sure, Purdue and Matt Painter are the closest to “having their number” when it comes to winning in the Kohl Center, and that’s nice, but when it comes to being on grass…nothing but bad things.
We’ve rehashed it many times, but of course, the Orton fumble and the apex of Purdue football as we know it came against the Badgers at Ross-Ade. GameDay has never returned and Purdue has barely returned to the rankings since tumbling out in the following weeks.
Here’s another tidbit – maybe this won’t seem surprising to the younger Purdue fans out there, but Purdue has not beaten Wisconsin in football since that fateful fumble.
And lest we forget, even as Alvarez had Wisconsin getting better throughout the ‘90s and early ‘00s, Purdue still was able to be a formidable foe for Bucky. Purdue won at a 14th-ranked Wisconsin the year before; the Boilers beat a 9-win Wisconsin team during the 2000 Rose Bowl season; and slapped around a ranked Wisconsin team in 1997 during Tiller’s first season. The point is, Purdue football, as an entity of both team and fans, did not fear the Badgers. And while no player would admit to fearing anyone, I think it’s fair to say that many of us look at Wisconsin as a hump Purdue needs to get over if they want to get back to better days of Purdue football.
Are they close to ascending that hump?
One thing I’ve always loved about the Gary Anderson era was the weirdly bored way the team reacted to getting to wear different helmets. Always loved that clip. But that’s where my enjoyment of anything related to Wisconsin ends.
I’ll believe Purdue can beat these big-boy linemen, run-heavy Wisconsin teams when I see it. Sure, you can talk yourself into believing there’s a chance at winning simply because of how awful their quarterback play is, but that’s fool’s gold, my friends. Joel Stave – or Tanner McEvoy or whomever they pull out of the stands – doesn’t need to be good. They barely even need to be a game manager. In fact, they’ve proven that they can actually be terrible – a detriment to their team’s progress – and Wisconsin will still win games. Particularly against teams that can’t defend the run.
While their QBs have roughly 500 less passing yards than Purdue, their running stats are scary. You know about Gordon and his ~1300 yards and eighteen touchdowns, but they also have Corey Clement who has 700 yards and seven TDs (and is just a sophomore – fun!) and even McEvoy has three rushing TDs, a 62 yard jaunt in there, and 400 yards on 43 rushes (9.3 avg).
Wisconsin does not need to pass the ball at all this weekend, not even to “keep Purdue honest.” The only thing that will change that is if the Purdue defense that looked somewhat better against Nebraska manages to turn it up another couple notches…enough so that Wisconsin makes the mistake of putting the ball in their QB-du-jour’s hands. However, I don’t think they’ll do that.
Wisconsin 45 Purdue 21
Aneesh the Swamy:
So you’re telling me Ameer Abdullah doesn’t play most of the game, and Purdue still got stomped against Nebraska?
And now the Boilers have to play another top-5 Heisman candidate in Melvin Gordon??? Meh, I’ll bet he didn’t even have a great game last weeOH MY GOD 128 YARDS, 2 TOUCHDOWNS ON 19 CARRIES.
So, doesn’t look great. I haven’t even mentioned the injuries, headlined by Frankie Williams and Danny Anthrop. And there’s the small matter of all the other players on #25 Wisconsin’s team. The murderer’s row part of the schedule (Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin) hasn’t been friendly to the good guys, and that Minnesota loss/giveaway looks worse and worse. As (I’m sure) the other gents talked about, the Northwestern/Indiana finale is definitely winnable even without Anthrop, and the Minnesota win could have made 6.
Unfortunately, it’s all in the rear view mirror. BUT, who knew that excitement would come with 3 to 5 wins? Who knew Shoop could craft a creative offense? Who knew that the man under center could do things like this:
We’re going to lose this Saturday, but there will be a few moments like that where Austin will have us dreaming of a brighter future. Something’s definitely happening in West Lafayette, and if this damned ACL curse could cut us a few breaks from time to time Coach Hazell could showcase some football that’s exciting AND wins games.
This week…isn’t that week. Appleby will need to get comfortable with non-Anthrop receivers extremely quickly, and the top-notch Badger defense won’t be nice. I smell a bloodbath.
Spread: Wisconsin -17
Wisconsin 45 Purdue 10
Michael RRT Henry:
Purdue is fortunate in the sense that after the Wisconsin game, things will get a little easier, as the only remaining teams on their schedule after Wisky are an inconsistent Northwestern team and an IU team that is absolutely toothless on defense and has exactly one (1) offensive weapon. If things break Purdue's way, they could end the season on a high note with two wins in a row.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Wisconsin is very good, the third ranked team Purdue will have faced in the past four weeks. Last year Wisconsin destroyed Purdue 41-10 in a game that felt like it could have been much worse. I'd expect the Badgers to use the same game plan they always use: run the ball down their opponents throat.
They are third in the nation in rushing yards per game (at an incredible 333 yards / gm) and they will pretty much only pass when necessary (as evident by the fact that they have the same number of interceptions - nine - as they do passing touchdowns). Melvin Gordon is a beast of a back who has just shy of 1,300 yards on the season. And although Purdue's front seven played admirably against a talented Nebraska rushing attack (which featured an injury, but still...) there's little hope that they will morph into the Iron Curtain for this matchup. Minnesota wore Purdue down with its running game by eating up yards and clock; Nebraska won by breaking big plays in the running game - especially from the Quarterback position - and Wisconsin is a threat to do both.
On offense, Purdue will have a hard time getting going against this defense, so they will have to play smart and limit turnovers and 3-and-outs (to give the defense some rest). This Boilermaker team hasn't put together a clean game in all three phases yet, but it will take everyone being on point to be in this one.
Purdue is getting better, and there's hope moving forward, but I'm afraid this week will be rough.
Wisconsin 35 Purdue 13
The turnaround that we were hoping for in season 2 of the Hazell era finally seems to be here. Even though the last few weeks haven't produced wins, we have seen signs of improvement that were mostly lacking in 2013 and the early part of this season. Unfortunately, the meat of the schedule hasn't all been digested yet, as the Boilers host a ranked Wisconsin team prior to finishing the season with three much easier weeks. (Bye is +10 next week, last I saw.)
Both polls and ratings generally agree that the Badgers have a significant advantage here. Like last year's squad, this Wisconsin team has an excellent defense, an offense that could be improved, and exploitable special teams, particularly on kickoff returns (120th in I-A) and punt coverage (113th). Fortunately, Purdue can take advantage of the latter (let's not mention kickoff coverage - Purdue is about as bad at covering kickoffs as Wisconsin is at returning them), because Williams ... uh, I mean Anthrop ... uh, well, Knauf has 2 returns for 26 yards. All three Boilers average over 10 yards per return, so it's possible that at least some of that comes from the return team as a whole, and if so, that might be a chance for defense and special teams to combine to give Appleby and the passing game a little help.
And boy, will they need it. I looked at the Badgers' stats to try to find a weakness, and all I found was that they're just pretty good on standard downs (1st and 10, 2nd and <8, 3rd and <4). If they know you have to pass, though ... 16th overall against the pass, 13th on passing downs, tied for 18th averaging 3 sacks per game, 4th in pass efficiency allowed (they've only 94 completions and only 6 TDs). Opponents convert just 26.8% on third downs, and I'll bet more of those are runs than passes. Purdue can't afford mistakes on offense; penalties and mistakes will lead directly to punts against the Badgers.
Offensively, the Badgers kind of suck at passing. They're 88th in S&P+, 100th on passing downs, 97th in passing efficiency ... all that lines up perfectly with Purdue's pass defense, which has been steadily showing its strength. Purdue's actually 27th in S&P+, but only 50th on passing downs. None of that matters, though, because Wisconsin excels at running the ball, as usual, and Purdue ... let's just say that if you do college fantasy football, you should probably be starting as many Wisconsin RBs as the game will let you.
The best thing about that mismatch is that it'll keep the clock moving. Russell Wilson isn't stepping through that door any time soon, so the Badgers will be running the ball early, often, late ... you name it. Some teams pass to set up the run, but Wisconsin will probably run to set up the run. (If you're hoping for drive-killing fumbles, don't hold your breath. The Badgers have lost only 3 fumbles all season. I don't know how many total fumbles they've had, but I'll bet it isn't many.) The good news is that the heavy running will keep the score down. Bring on the bye!
Repeat of 10/11/1958:
Wisconsin 31 Purdue 6
Injuries are mounting, and a thin, young Boiler team is playing the best offensive line they'll face this season...that's bad news.
Purdue held one of the best running teams in the nation in a relative check, last week...but the injury of Abdullah aided that effort.
This week, if Gordon goes down, Clement will pick up the slack...As usual, Wisconsin has two all-conference caliber backs in the stable...and I don't expect the defense to rise to the occasion again.
Many on Twitter incorrectly said they would be the first to say Purdue would beat Wisky...they were wrong in two ways.
Wisconsin gives us nightmares because they have no finesse about them. Three-straight coaches have had the same identity- toughness, mean, large, ugly men on the offensive line and pounding of the football between the tackles.
I think guys like Howard and Watson MUST play their best games of the season to keep the good guys within two scores.
Injuries to Williams and Anthrop will hurt.
Sconnie 38 Purdue 17