The Wisconsin Badgers will play host to the Purdue Boilermakers in the only Big Ten matchup of the weekend. The Boilermakers and coach Darrell Hazell are coming of a hard-fought home loss to Notre Dame last weekend. Coach Hazel had his team in the game, but fell seven points short to the Fighting Irish and coach Brian Kelly.
Hazell will not let the early-season rivalry loss define his team’s season. Expect the Boilermakers to come in to Camp Randall ready to play football.
The Badgers were one of two Big Ten teams all over the national news this week. The other team, of course, was the Nebraska Cornhuskers because of comments made by their head coach Bo Pelini. Coach Gary Anderson and his Badgers were in the news because of controversial ending to their game against the Arizona State Sun Devils last week.
The loss was a hard won for the Badgers to swallow. Hopefully, Anderson put it out of the minds of his players early in the week, and there are no lingering sorrows in their minds from the attempt at victory that was stolen from them last week.
To put last week’s loss out of their minds, expect the Badgers to do what they do best — run the ball. Not one of the three Wisconsin backs has stepped in as a true no. 1 tailback to replace current Denver Broncos player Montee Ball. The coaching staff seems to be content with using all three, and for good reason.
James White proved himself capable last season and has been a very reliable back thus far this year. Melvin Gordon has shown flashes of excellence, rushing for nearly 13 yards per carry. Finally, they have a true freshman in Corey Clement who may be the future at tailback for Wisconsin. These three rushing behind a big offensive line will quickly erase the memory of the loss last week.
On defense, the Badgers will benefit from the home crowd at Camp Randal and should come out fired up and ready to play. Expect them to get after Boilermakers quarterback Rob Henry, who has been the heart of the Purdue team. The senior quarterback will have his work cut out for him against the 3-4 defense the Badgers have introduced this season. Anticipate the blitzing attackers to come after Henry early and often, setting the tone for the game.
Both teams desperately want to kick off Big Ten conference play with a victory. This game has not been good to Purdue over the last eight seasons, and they have not won a single competition in this time span. Wisconsin is always a tough team to beat at home, and they are an even fiercer opponent to face after they have lost the previous week.
The Badgers should start off Big Ten Play with the first of many victories for their new coach.