When and where: November 23, 2019, Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI, 4:00 PM ET
A disappointing season for the Purdue Boilermakers would be much easier to swallow if they were able to knock off the No. 14-ranked Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday. The Badgers are rolling once again after dropping a shocking loss to Illinois and getting ramrodded by Ohio State. They are coming off back-to-back wins over Iowa and Nebraska. The current odds have a third victory in the cards for the Badgers when hosting the Boilermakers. After falling to Iowa and Illinois, the Boilermakers have responded with consecutive wins over Nebraska and Northwestern.
Do the Boilermakers trust O’Connell?Don’t expect the Boilermakers to hold off on airing the ball out against a Badgers defense allowing only 190.1 passing yards per game. Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm hasn’t forgotten David Blough throwing all over Wisconsin’s defense for 386 yards and four touchdowns in last season’s epic rivalry game.
Even as a sophomore, quarterback Aiden O’Connell has received full confidence of the team putting the game in his hands to make plays. He dropped back for 50 passing attempts against Northwestern in a game where he finished with 271 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The turnovers are a price Brohm is obviously willing to pay to help in developing his young quarterback’s talent and confidence. He’ll need plenty of both to match what the Badgers are capable of doing on the offensive side of the ball as well.
If Brohm remembers Blough’s performance, he certainly hasn’t forgotten what Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor did to his defense—33 rushes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. It was a defensive meltdown of cataclysmic proportions. Taylor is still terrorizing opposing defenses, and Purdue hasn’t shown progress in plugging the leaky holes up front. The possibility of being without linebacker Cornel Jones (leg) doesn’t help matters, either.
Badgers will try to unleash TaylorTaylor will be like a shark in bloody waters in Saturday’s game against the Boilermakers. He ran almost as many yards in one game as Purdue running back King Doerue has run all season. The Badgers would be crazy not to follow a similar blueprint in the rematch after such a freak performance. Taylor has rushed for 1,463 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season, and Purdue’s run defense is still atrocious.
Why fix what clearly isn’t broken?
On the defensive side of the ball, the Badgers can’t fall asleep against the sophomore quarterback. The Boilermakers have already shown they aren’t afraid of putting the game in his hands. They really don’t have much of a choice with their rushing offense being completely non-existent. Purdue’s offensive line has given up the third-most sacks in the conference, and Wisconsin’s defense is feasting on opposing quarterbacks with the second-most sacks behind Ohio State. This is the game to consistently bring the heat and force the young quarterback to have to make quick decisions under duress.
The defense will be without nose tackle Bryson Williams, who is out for this game with a leg injury. Cornerback Semar Melvin is also questionable with a head injury.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Underdog is 3-9 ATS in their last 12 head-to-head meetings.
- Boilermakers are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 head-to-head meetings.
- Badgers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games.
- Badgers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
- Badgers are 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 games in November.
- Badgers are 23-10-1 ATS in their last 34 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.