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5th Quarter Consensus: Badgers will bounce back from debacle in desert

Will Wisconsin get back on the winning track in the Big Ten opener? Our staff unanimously says yes.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The predictions

Phil Mitten (3-0, +33): Wisconsin 40, Purdue 10

Jake Harris (3-0, +39): Wisconsin 48, Purdue 3

Jake Kocorowski (3-0, +40): Wisconsin 34, Purdue 14

Louis Bien (3-0, +65): Wisconsin 37, Purdue 10

Andrew Rosin (2-1, +20): Wisconsin 38, Purdue 0

Andy Johnson (2-1, +38): Wisconsin 36, Purdue 24

Mike Fiammetta (2-1, +46): Wisconsin 34, Purdue 7

The reasoning

As tempting as it is to add "officiating" as a category to our "Who has the edge?" section, we'll follow Gary Andersen's lead and move on to Purdue without further comment about last week's robbery.

The Badgers and Boilermakers open Big Ten play a week earlier than their conference brethren as a result of scheduling negotiations designed to accommodate BYU's trip to Camp Randall Stadium in November. Purdue chose the wrong time to come to Madison, as Wisconsin is angry, relatively healthy and back in friendly and familiar surroundings.

Like UW, Purdue is breaking in a new coach. The similarities end there, however. The job Darrell Hazell inherited in West Lafayette requires a significant rebuild of an entire program, while Andersen is off to a solid start leading the three-time defending Big Ten champions.

Hazell is attempting to install a pro-style offense at Purdue and improvement has been incremental through the Boilermakers' first three games. Following a blowout loss to Cincinnati, PU squeaked by Indiana State. The Boilers hung tough against Notre Dame at home a week ago, however, even leading the Irish 17-10 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Senior quarterback Rob Henry has taken the reins for Purdue but needs to cut down on his turnovers. Henry has thrown three costly interceptions and has taken four sacks. He did not toss a touchdown pass until the third week of the season. His longest run thus far is just seven yards.

Junior Akeem Hunt is the primary ball-carrier for the Boilermakers and has more than twice as many carries as the next-leading running back on the team. He averaged just 1.8 yards per carry against Notre Dame last Saturday as Purdue's offensive line attempts to adapt to Hazell's system. Hunt is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield and leads the team in receiving yards with 115.

After posting back-to-back shutouts over Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech, the Badgers struggled at times defensively against the Sun Devils. Taylor Kelly threw for 352 yards, exploiting Wisconsin's young secondary, though the run defense held up nicely.

The return of Derek Landisch to the lineup should provide a boost for the linebacking corps after Joe Schobert made his first career start at one of the two inside spots in Tempe.

When the Badgers have the ball, expect a heavy dose of running plays with some play-action passes sprinkled in. Defensive tackle Bruce Gaston and cornerback Ricardo Allen are the senior leaders on defense for the Boilermakers. Purdue has given up an average of 29 points in its first three games. The Badgers ran for 467 yards and four touchdowns in last season's meeting.

Sophomore kicker Paul Griggs is shaky for Purdue, having made just three of six field goal attempts on the young season. Kyle French's struggles for the Badgers have been well-documented, though he did make his only attempt against Arizona State.

Wisconsin will be without wide receiver and return man Kenzel Doe. It will be interesting to see whether Andersen risks the health of top wideout Jared Abbrederis, arguably the team's most talented return specialist, by putting him in that role or whether he goes with someone like freshman running back Corey Clement.

After contending with brutally hot temperatures in Arizona last week, the Badgers will welcome the beautiful fall weather forecasted for Saturday in Madison.

That, and a Big Ten officiating crew.

Who has the edge?

Offense: Wisconsin

Defense: Wisconsin

Special teams: Wisconsin

Coaching: Wisconsin

Intangibles: Wisconsin