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GAME THREAD: Wisconsin at No. 25 Purdue

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The Badgers control their own destiny in the Big Ten West, but can they beat the Boilermakers for the 15th straight time?

NCAA Football: Purdue at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

You know, I’ve been thinking about this game a lot this week and I really don’t like it for either team. The Wisconsin Badgers (3-3 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) come into the game having cobbled together a two game winning streak that has been as impressive as it is short. The No. 25 Purdue Boilermakers (4-2 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) are riding high after upsetting No. 2 Iowa on the road last weekend in their biggest win of the Jeff Brohm era.

Wisconsin, quite frankly, just kinda stinks this year and since the Michigan debacle I have exactly zero confidence that the offense will do much, if anything, right. Purdue is primed for a letdown game after smacking Iowa around, especially when their next opponent is a team they haven’t beaten at home since 1999.

The stats for both teams also lead me to believe that neither team should be super pumped about this game. Both teams have superior defenses, with Purdue’s not being as far behind Wisconsin’s as you might think. Take this section of a post on The Athletic ($) about stop rates and improved defenses, of which Purdue is one:

Purdue has let teams into the red zone 15 times this season and has only given up five touchdowns. When the Boilermakers have had to defend fourth downs, they’ve gotten stops on seven of nine attempts. The pass defense is holding quarterbacks to 52.3 percent completions with a TD-to-INT ratio of 3-6, and George Karlaftis has been spectacularly disruptive as expected with 30 pressures, tied for second-most in the Big Ten per PFF.

For those wondering, stop rate is the percentage of a defense’s drives that end in punts, turnovers or a turnover on downs. Purdue is ranked No. 11, with a stop rate of 78.1%, while the Badgers are at No. 18, with a 77.1%.

You take a look at some of the advanced stats above and you see that both defenses should be expected to dominate their offensive counterpart. Purdue can’t run the ball against bad defenses and Wisconsin can’t pass against, well, anyone but their “better” offensive strategy will also be neutralized by the opposition defense.

This game is going to be yet another low-scoring slog that will be painful to watch and will leave you unhappy even if Wisconsin wins. Anyways...thanks for reading!

Here are the staff predictions for the game:

Badgers are 3.5 point favorites per DraftKings (Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)

Tyler: 20-17, Wisconsin

Owen: 23-17, Wisconsin

J.J.: 21-17, Wisconsin

Belz: 17-13, Purdue

Rock: 27-17, Purdue

Kevin:

Ryan: 24-13, Wisconsin

Bremen: 15-12, Wisconsin

Drew: 20-17, Wisconsin

Jake: 20-6, Purdue

Neal: 13-10, Purdue


Here are the depth charts for Wisconsin and Purdue:

Purdue doesn’t put out a depth chart, but here is Hammer and Rails’ educated guess at what it will look like.

And here is the updated injury/availibility report: