MADISON — The 8-2 Wisconsin Badgers are first in the Big Ten West and look to continue their four-game win streak dating back to late October this Saturday on the road against Purdue.
The Purdue Boilermakers are currently 3-7 and 7th in the Big Ten West, from an outside perspective underwhelming to say the least. As always, however, the Wisconsin Badgers are not taking any opponent lightly.
As both the offense and defense stressed the week prior against Illinois, any team has the possibility to get the upset. That was apparent in the many surprising games in collegiate football last weekend.
“You have to take every opponent seriously. These guys are getting recruited to play football too,” outside linebacker T.J. Watt said.
“Anyone can lose any week,” wide receiver Jazz Peavy said.
Offensive players spoke highly of the Purdue defense though it too has ranked low this season, last in the Big Ten in both scoring and total defense. In comparison, Wisconsin ranks 2nd only behind Michigan in scoring defense and 3rd in total defense behind Michigan and Ohio State.
“They’re a tough, physical defense. They’ve got great players, great linebackers,” running back Bradrick Shaw said.
“They’re real athletic,” tight end Kyle Penniston added. “They’re going to show a lot of different coverages. They have about five defensive backs that can play about anyone on the field. They have some pretty good linebackers that fly around the field and make some good hits.”
The Boilermakers defense will have to do more than it has all season to put a dent in Wisconsin’s fast offense as of recent. After a 100-plus run game by both Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale and a consistent pattern of quarterback rotation between Alex Hornibrook and Bart Houston, Wisconsin looks to easily put up big points this Saturday.
Penniston attributes this success of the offense to the leaders in the huddle.
“We have great leadership. Both quarterbacks lead really well. I think Dare and Corey are big leaders. I also think are offensive line, our tight ends and our receivers do take control of the game when it needs to be taken control. I think we understand when we need to step up, someone steps up,” he said.
The team, as a whole, has matured this year, according to redshirt freshman Bradrick Shaw.
“We’ve been able to run more effective, and our guys matured this year. We’ve finally got some experience under our belts.”
That experience should be all it takes to get the ninth win of the season and fifth in a row. The Badgers play the Purdue Boilermakers this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. in West Lafayette, Ind.