WHEN THE BADGERS HAVE THE BALL
Purdue gave up a total of 77 points in its last two games, including last week’s 41-10 loss at Minnesota in which the Boilermakers allowed 265 rushing yards. While UW’s offense has struggled in recent weeks, the Badgers rank sixth in the nation with 266.6 rushing yards per game. Running back Jonathan Taylor’s 1,548 yards on the ground are 253 more than any other Power Five player in the country.
Much of the Badgers’ success offensively, however, might come down to quarterback Alex Hornibrook’s health. The junior suffered his second concussion in as many weeks against Rutgers on Nov. 3 and missed last week’s 22-10 loss at Penn State. Backup Jack Coan has completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 282 yards with two touchdowns and four turnovers in the past three games. Hornibrook participated in practice this week but remains questionable for Saturday’s game.
UW tight end Jake Ferguson, a primary target on third down, has a team-high 27 catches, three for TDs. Purdue’s pass defense ranks 123rd out of 130 FBS teams, as the Boilermakers give up 281.8 yards per game through the air.
EDGE | UW
WHEN THE BOILERMAKERS HAVE THE BALL
Purdue is one of just 10 Power Five teams to average more than 300 passing yards per game. Senior David Blough has completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,825 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. Freshman Rondale Moore ranks in the top three among Big Ten players in receptions (82), receiving yards (909) and receiving touchdowns (8). His 82 catches are 16 more than anyone else in the conference, and his 8.2 receptions per game are more than any FBS player.
The Boilermakers certainly test UW’s secondary, although that inexperienced group has performed well lately, allowing less than 170 passing yards in four of the past five games. The Badgers rank 28th in the nation against the pass for the season and 65th against the run. UW’s defense has gotten healthier; linemen Garrett Rand and Olive Sagapolu are the only key players out.
EDGE | PURDUE
Purdue kicker Spencer Evans is 15-for-20 on field goals this season; UW’s Rafael Gaglianone is 8-for-11 on the year.
Boilermakers punter Joe Schopper ranks first in the Big Ten and 22nd in the nation with 44.19 yards per punt, and opponents have returned just eight of his punts this season.
Meanwhile, the Badgers have had to defend just nine kickoff returns, thanks to the big leg of Zach Hintze. Rondale Moore is a threat in the punt return game for Purdue.
EDGE | PURDUE
Jeff Brohm has made a splash at Purdue the past two years, elevating the Boilermakers’ offense and ending a run of five straight losing seasons.
While this season took a wrong turn for UW, Paul Chryst led the Badgers to Top 10 finishes in 2016 and ’17.
EDGE | UW
The Badgers have nothing to play for but bowl positioning. Purdue needs one more wins to become bowl eligible and is celebrating Senior Day on Saturday. Rumors of coach Jeff Brohm leaving for Louisville could serve as a distraction for the Boilermakers, though.
EDGE | EVEN
STATE JOURNAL’S PICK
Alex Hornibrook’s availability might prove to be a major factor in today’s game. Regardless, though, it won’t be easy for the Badgers to avoid a fourth straight road loss.