What: Wisconsin Badgers (4-2) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (1-5)
Where: Camp Randall Stadium (Madison, WI)
When: Oct. 17, 11:00 A.M. CT
TV: BTN/BTN2GO
Radio: Badger Sports Network
Odds: WISC -23.5; O/U 49

After a thrilling victory last week at Nebraska, the Wisconsin Badgers host the 1-5 Purdue Boilermakers for Homecoming. The Badgers have beaten the Boilermakers the past 12 years. Wisconsin should not have any trouble in this game, and I expect this to be a vintage Badgers blowout.

Injury Report

Wisconsin

  • RB Taiwan Deal (QUESTIONABLE – ankle)
  • C Dan Voltz (QUESTIONABLE – arm)*
  • RB Corey Clement (DOUBTFUL – groin/sports hernia surgery)
  • LB Leon Jacobs (OUT FOR YEAR – toe)
  • TE Austin Traylor (OUT 4-6 WEEKS – arm)

*If Voltz does not go, left guard Michael Deiter would switch over to center, with Micah Kapoi moving to left guard and Walker Williams filling in at right guard.

See page 11 of Wisconsin’s game notes for the team’s depth chart.

Purdue

  • LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (OUT INDEFINITELY – ACL)
  • LB Jimmy Herman (QUESTIONABLE – hamstring)
  • WR Trae Hart (OUT 5-8 WEEKS – broken collarbone)

See page 12 of Purdue’s game notes for the team’s depth chart.

Keys to Victory: Wisconsin

  1. Start strong. The Badgers only have 23 points in the first quarter all season, which of course includes matchups against underwhelming opponents in Miami (OH), Troy, and Hawaii. Wisconsin needs to start out strong and go up several points on the Boilermakers right away. The Badgers are a far superior team overall and their defense will probably not give up more than 10 points, but they need to start strong on Saturday.
  2. 400+ total yards. This season, the Badgers are 4-0 when racking up 400 or more total yards. They should be able to do this against the 59th best passing defense and 106th best run defense in the nation. Look for quarterback Joel Stave, running back Dare Ogunbowale, wide receiver Alex Erickson, and wide receiver Robert Wheelwright to have big games. I also think wide receiver Jazz Peavy, tight end Troy Fumagalli, and running back Alec Ingold could put up some numbers this week as well after they built some confidence against Nebraska.
  3. The Chevy Bad Boys. Linebackers Joe Schobert and Vince Biegel will need to get pressure on Purdue’s redshirt freshman David Blough, who has only played in three starts. He has more interceptions than touchdown passes, been sacked 10 times, and only a 53.5 completion percentage, so even more applied pressure will certainly get to him to force some turnovers.
  4. Control Purdue’s running game. Running backs Markell Jones and D.J. Knox have combined for 727 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, and Purdue’s plan is to ride them in hope for victory. With linebacker Leon Jacobs out for the season due to a toe injury, starting linebackers T.J. Edwards and Chris Orr along with the defensive line will have to control the ground game from Purdue. Jones is the one to worry about, averaging an impressive 6.2 yards per carry.
  5. Stave and Gaglianone building some consistency. Stave had a great bounce-back performance last week against Nebraska, and now he needs to put together consistent games to continue to re-build his confidence. Similarly, kicker Rafael Gaglianone, despite kicking the game-winner last week, the kicker is 9-15 this season. Both of these players showed up in the end last week, but need to build on their performances.

Prediction: Wisconsin 42-7

Game Notes

  • Senior QB Joel Stave led the Badgers to points on four of their final five possessions at Nebraska, earning the 25th win of his career in the process. Stave’s .735 win percent- age ranks No. 4 among active FBS quarterbacks.
  • Stave is 3-0 vs. Purdue in his career, having completed 62.3% of his passes for 555 yards (185.0 per game) against the Boilermakers.
  • Stave needs 30 completions and three touchdown passes to move past John Stocco for second place on UW’s career list in those categories.
  • Senior OLB Joe Schobert leads the nation in tackles for loss (13.5), ranks No. 2 nationally in sacks (9.0) and is tied for second in the FBS with 4 forced fumbles.
  • The Badgers are once again fielding one of the nation’s stingiest defenses. Wisconsin ranks No. 5 nationally in scoring defense (11.5 ppg) and No. 12 nationally in total defense (285.8 ypg).
  • Wisconsin wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore coached the same group at Purdue in 2001 and 2002 under head coach Joe Tiller.
  • Wisconsin outside linebackers coach Tim Tibesar was Purdue’s defensive coordinator in 2012.
  • Purdue defensive graduate assistant Zach Opsal was a long snapper for Wisconsin from 2007 to 2009, and a student assistant from 2009 to 2011.
  • Purdue sophomore captain and middle linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley and Wisconsin redshirt freshman running back Taiwan Deal were classmates and teammates at DeMatha High School in Maryland.
  • Purdue freshman reserve cornerback Austin Sullins and Wisconsin fresh- man linebacker Nick Thomas were classmates and teammates at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.