Who are the best players on the team Wisconsin is playing in any given week? We aim to find out and give you mini scouting reports on them so you can sound smart talking to your friends by saying “well, actually...” and then whatever smart thing we tell you. You’re welcome in advance for being the go-to friend in your group for Purdue football knowledge.
Head coach Jeff Brohm has the Boilermakers trending up in the B1G West. A defensive holdover from the previous regime like Markus Bailey and an electric new addition at wide receiver/jack of all trades like Rondale Moore are the envy of every other team in the division.
What else should Badgers fans look for when Purdue comes to town?
Best Offensive Player: WR/All-Purpose Rondale Moore, sophomore, No. 4
Here is a list of places that named Moore a first-team All-America player: ESPN, the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and the Football Writers Association of America. Somehow the Sporting News had him on the second-team. Moore was also, obviously, a freshman All-American and the first true freshman in B1G history to be a consensus All-American.
Oh, he was also named the B1G Wide Receiver of the Year and Freshman of the Year and he was the Paul Hornung Award winner as the nation’s most versatile player. At the risk of turning this into an entire post about Moore’s awards that he won let me tell you the crazy stats he compiled to get those awards.
Moore caught 114 passes (only the third player in B1G history to break the century mark) for 1,258 yards and 12 scores. He rushed 21 times for 213 yards and two more scores and returned 45 kicks (both kick returns and punt returns) for 744 yards. His 2,215 all purpose yards were a school record and he also set the single game school record for all purpose yards with 313...in his first ever college game.
Against the Badgers last year, Moore notched nine catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns (for fun he added 27 rushing yards on four carries) so he’s already on Jim Leonhard’s radar heading into this season. Much like watching Jonathan Taylor every week is a joy, watching Moore every week is the same.
Best Defensive Player: LB Markus Bailey, redshirt senior, No. 21
Fifth year senior Markus Bailey decided to return to school for one last hurrah after testing the NFL Draft waters. Bailey led the team with 115 (82 solo) total tackles and 5.5 sacks while finishing second on the team with nine tackles for a loss. He added a 41 yard pick six against Ohio State and also forced a fumble in 2018.
When he played the Badgers last year, Bailey had 11 total tackles and was basically everywhere at once. The three time Academic All-B1G recipient will be looking to repeat that performance this year when the two teams meet.