ISR Purdue Beat Writer
MADISON, WI – On Saturday September 21st, Purdue faces off with Wisconsin, at Wisconsin. This will be the 81st meeting of the two teams. Wisconsin has won seven straight games against Purdue, not to mention they have a three game winning streak on their home field in Madison, WI.
Like Purdue, Wisconsin is in their first season with their new head coach, Gary Anderson. Anderson previously coached at Utah State. The Badgers hold a record of 2-1, and are ranked 24th in the nation. Purdue holds a 1-2 record so far this season.
The Badgers are coming off of a loss to Arizona State that was extremely disappointing. The Badgers tried to position the ball in the center of the field for a field goal when the ball went lose; Wisconsin’s quarterback Joel Stave argued that his knee was down while Anthony Jones, Arizona’s linebacker, argued that Stave’s knee had not been down. The argument continued as the clock ran down. The ball was not placed down in time, and the clock hit zero before the Badgers had a chance to hit their field goal. In the end, there is an official rule about time left on the clock, and the ability to spike the ball which would have prevented the Badgers from winning. This was the Badgers first loss of the season.
Wisconsin is a pretty impressive team. The Badger’s defense did not allow any points in the first two games of the season. Their running back, Melvin Gordon, has 37 carries for 477 yards, plus four touchdowns so far. Joel Stave, the quarterback, is 48-76, with 603 passing yards, and four pass touchdowns against two interceptions.
Purdue’s defense is also very impressive. In the first three games of the season, Purdue has not allowed any touchdowns in the first quarter of the game. Safety, Taylor Richards recorded a season best nine tackles against Notre Dame. On top of that, Purdue only allowed Notre Dame to rush for 91 yards. This is an important statistic, especially when facing such a versatile running back as Gordon.
For the first three games of the season, Purdue’s defense is tied for most sacks at seven total. Bruce Gaston and Jalani Philips each have 2.0 sacks themselves.
Purdue’s offense played their best offensive game against 21st ranked Notre Dame. Rob Henry completed a 48-yard pass, as well as a season high of 25 completed passes within a game. Akeem Hunt collected 9 catches and 72 receiving yards. Additionally, Paul Griggs drilled a 47-yard field goal. The passing game has been spread out among 13 different receivers as well.
On special teams, Cody Webster leads the Big Ten with the best net punting average. Also, Frankie Williams returned a punt 18 yards against Notre Dame; this is the longest Purdue has returned so far this season.
If Purdue can pull out a win this week, they would break their losing streak to nationally ranked teams. Also, they would defeat Wisconsin for the first time since 2003.
Each week Purdue has gotten a little bit better, proving the, “One Brick Higher,” slogan true. Rob Henry and the offense improved in yardage, completions, and touchdowns from week one, and can only get better. The defense really tightened up, even with injuries, and played well against Notre Dame’s highly ranked offense. There is still a lot of time left in the season Boilermakers; get ready for another great game.