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September 19, 2013

Matchup Preview: Purdue-Wisconsin





GoldandBlack.com breaks down how Purdue and Wisconsin might match up Saturday in Camp Randall Stadium in both teams' Big Ten opener.

When Purdue's running ...

Purdue's offense will continue to be severely limited until it can get a running game going. It's the foundation the Boilermaker staff wants to build its scheme around, but has been a non-factor thus far, as Purdue has managed only 237 total yards through three games. Does it get any easier against Wisconsin? Nope.

Advantage: Wisconsin (decided)

When Purdue's passing ...

The Boilermaker passing game took a distinct step forward against Notre Dame, even without the benefit of a productive running game. Has it fully arrived? Certainly not. The Boilermakers have shown little ability to stretch a defense and must rely heavily on moving pockets and misdirection to generate yardage. Wisconsin gave up a lot of yards to Arizona State, albeit against a very, very different style of offense. The passing game needs help from the running game. Can't emphasize that enough.

Advantage: Purdue (slight)

When Wisconsin is running ...

There's no shame in giving up a lot of rushing yards to the Badgers - they're very, very good at running the football - but what has happened to Purdue the past few seasons has been obscene. Last two games vs. Wisconsin, the Badgers have rolled up more than 800 rushing yards. Montee Ball is gone, but it doesn't matter all that much: Wisconsin comes into this game with three of the Big Ten's top eight rushers, including Melvin Gordon, whose eight career touchdowns have averaged a distance of 36.4 yards. Purdue is going to give up yards, but it must limit big plays.

Advantage: Wisconsin (decided)

When Wisconsin is passing ...

Wisconsin's passing game isn't its calling card by any means, but its M.O., especially against Purdue, has been to run, run, run, then set up the big play off play-action. Jared Abbrederis is really dangerous. Wisconsin has few other established weapons and QB play hasn't been stellar, but it's the potential for imbalance that is always a concern against this Badger offense.

Advantage: Wisconsin (slight)

Special teams

Purdue needs to make its makeable field goals, obviously, but otherwise has been pretty solid on special teams, particularly in two phases it'll hope not to need all that much: Punting and kickoff returns. Wisconsin has been solid on special teams, but nothing special.

Advantage: Purdue (slight)

Intangibles

Physicality is a severe concern from a Purdue perspective. Wisconsin's blocking schemes have overwhelmed Boilermaker defenders in recent meetings, much of the same personnel that'll be out there Saturday. … Purdue is coming off an emotional uptick with its encouraging showing against Notre Dame; Wisconsin is coming off a disheartening loss at Arizona State that it can legitimately say was taken from it by the officials. … After turning the ball over five times at Cincinnati, Purdue has given it up just once the past two games and did not fumble at all against Notre Dame. … Purdue has averaged less than nine points per game in its last two trips to Madison and lost to the Badgers by an average of nearly 32 points in the past four meetings between these two schools. Not good.







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