Wisconsin has yet to face an offense that boasts two quarterbacks. This weekend, Purdue comes to town with their twin threat at QB in hopes of halting the Wisconsin win streak at five.
The 3-2 Boilermakers are better than their record suggests, with both losses coming against top 25 talents. They dropped their season opener versus then No. 16 ranked Louisville, although they controlled the margin throughout most of the game, keeping the deficit at four for the majority of the game.
Purdue tends to rely on their pass game, although their numbers are not terribly impressive. They average only 265.2 yards per game and have posted an overwhelmingly average QBR of 141.04. However, these statistics are spread across two QBs, junior David Blough and sophomore Elijah Sindelar. Both have recorded around 600 yards passing on the season, with similar touchdown totals at seven and six respectively. Additionally, neither are particularly mobile, suggesting they alternate as a change of pace.
Their lead rusher, Tario Fuller, has only recorded 43 carries, the same as Wisconsin’s second option Bradrick Shaw. If the Boilermakers can’t rely heavily on their rush attack, which is reasonable considering Wisconsin’s dominance up to this point, they’ll have to turn to their pass attack, which has been lackluster up to this point.
However, the point remains that Purdue has shown itself as a valiant competitor, even against high profile programs. Last week versus an improved Minnesota squad, the Boilermakers came in the clutch late with a game-sealing interception, proving they’re not the easy W of the past.
Here are two defensive keys for a Wisconsin win Saturday
Pressure the Quarterback early and often.
Last week versus Nebraska, the Wisconsin pass rush was uncharacteristically quiet, allowing plenty of time for the offense to assess the play development, and scroll through reads effectively.
If Wisconsin wants to shut down any hint of scoring potential, the defensive line and linebacking corps must do as they’ve done so well in the past and get to the quarterback as frequently as possible.
Eliminate the rush game as a threat.
Wisconsin ranks fourth in the country in rushing defense for a reason. Allowing an average of 81.4 yards per game and just two touchdowns on the season deserves a level of expectation. In this case, domination.
Should Wisconsin stifle a Purdue rush attack, they’ll be forced to rely heavily on an average and split passing attack. Taking the rush attack out of the equation will render the opposing offense one dimensional, a challenge Wisconsin should be able to face handedly.