No. 25 Purdue will look to ride the momentum of last week’s win over then-No. 2 Iowa when it hosts unranked Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette, Ind.
The Boilermakers (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) are coming off a 24-7 road victory over the Hawkeyes. Wideout David Bell had a career-high 240 receiving yards in the win, and quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns while also running for a score.
The win gave Purdue its first Top 25 ranking in 14 years.
“That’s great for our program and great for our fans,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “When it comes to us coaches and players, we have to understand that it’s a one-game season. While last week’s win was a big win, it counts as just one, and we’ve got to move on.
“We’ve got to figure out ways to be consistent and get better and execute at a high level and raise the bar. There’s plenty of challenges ahead because we know we have a great schedule, and for us, it’s really just Wisconsin right now.”
The Badgers (3-3, 1-2) will go for their third win in a row after posting back-to-back victories over Illinois and Army. Wisconsin allowed a total of 14 points in the two contests.
Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen is aiming for his third 100-yard rushing game in a row. He carried the ball 18 times for 131 yards and a touchdown against Illinois on Oct. 9, and he followed that up with 16 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown last week against Army.
“Certainly, I feel we’ve got a really good defense,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “And I think we’re starting to put together some games where you can run the ball. But you’re going to need to be a little bit more consistent in throwing it. …
“But I appreciate the resiliency of the group, and the guys just keep playing. We’ve got to improve in certain areas, certainly. But I think there is some stuff to build on that we’ve got to continue. And if that can become who we are the rest of the year, it would be good.”
Purdue has rotated several quarterbacks at various points during the season, but O’Connell leads the way with 1,118 passing yards to go with his six touchdowns and five interceptions. King Doerue (66 carries, 269 yards, 1 TD) and Dylan Downing (38 carries, 136 yards) are the top rushers.
Bell figures to draw the bulk of attention from Wisconsin’s defense. The playmaking receiver has 38 catches for 679 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
For the Badgers, quarterback Graham Mertz has struggled for much of the season. He has 893 passing yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions while absorbing eight sacks.
Chez Mellusi (112 carries, 543 yards, 3 TDs) and Allen (46 carries, 288 yards, 3 TDs) are the Badgers’ top two running backs. Isaac Guerendo also has 23 carries for 160 yards and a score.
Purdue is 2-1 at home this season. Wisconsin is 1-0 on the road.
–Field Level Media