Phil Steele puts out the best college football preview magazine every year. It’s not even a contest. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of his first publication we at Bucky’s 5th Quarter are going to find four interesting facts about each team on Wisconsin’s schedule, including the Badgers, and break them down for you.
Phil, we love your magazine and we also love your mustache.
NUMBER 1: 114
That’s the number of catches all-everything freshman Rondale Moore had last season. The tiny dynamo had 1,258 yards receiving and 12 scores and added 213 on the ground with two more touchdowns. For good measure he threw in 744 return yards just so everyone knew he wasn’t just an amazing receiver and runner. I love Rondale Moore as much if not more than many Badgers.
NUMBER 2: 115
That’s the number of tackles all-conference linebacker Markus Bailey had last season. He added 5.5 sacks and a pick while being all over the field making tackles. He’s also really good in pass coverage!
Markus Bailey had a strong all-around season for Purdue last year. pic.twitter.com/nU5THGVgsm— PFF College (@PFF_College) July 17, 2019
He had 11 tackles against the Badgers last year but, to be fair, no one was stopping Jonathan Taylor that day. He and Moore provide two all-conference caliber players on either side of the ball (and Steele has both of them on his first team) but who else will step up and provide help?
NUMBER 3: 13
The Badgers have beaten Purdue 13 straight times and last year’s triple OT comeback was the second largest road comeback in UW’s history. We are all aware that these sort of streaks eventually come to an end, even when the game is in Madison like this year’s Purdue game is, but I just don’t see the Boilers breaking the losing streak this year. Suspect running game and a young offensive line (51 returning starts which is 93rd most in the country) is no way to go through the B1G, son.
NUMBER 4: 126
Purdue ranks 126th out of 130 FBS teams in returning experience, according to Steele. They have six senior starters returning but no other seniors in the two-deep and their returning lettermen percentage is 55.6, which is also 126th in the nation. The Boilers lost four home games last year by a combined 11 points. That’s how close they were to a pretty special season and having a bunch of untested dudes running around out there probably isn’t the best way to start winning close games.
Now, that’s not to say some young guys for Purdue won’t step up and surprise everyone, but experience is often easier to count on early in the year and they do not have much of it to speak of.