The Purdue Boilermakers are on track to contend for a Big Ten West Division Title. They look as good as they have in years. Their only missteps so far this year come in the form of single-possession losses to two top-25 teams, one of which is still undefeated and could end up winning the ACC. They are still in control of their own destiny. But the Badgers hope to derail the title contenders in Madison this weekend after a deflating loss to the Spartans of Michigan State. So Purdue how you doin’?
They’re putting up points, it’s as simple as that. They can throw, run, and do just about anything else needed to get the next first down. The majority of their offense moves forward through the air. Specifically their unassuming wide receiver Charlie Jones. He’s only 6’0 but he’ll pull down just about anything thrown in his direction. Seriously, this kids the real deal. Don’t believe me? He’s seventh in the nation with 735 yards and second overall in touchdowns with nine pulled in so far this season. Also, he’s less than fifty yards from being the top overall receiver in total receiving yards. The Badger's secondary better be ready because Purdue has six others who have over 100 yards receiving on the year.
A strong passing game is normal for Purdue, but if need be they can also run the ball fairly well. The Boilermakers are averaging 5 yards a carry between their two rotating starting backs Devin Mockobee and Dylan Downing. They have almost 10 collective touchdowns on the season with five for Mockobee and four for Downing. They use Downing and Mockobee as a thunder-and-lightning duo for their backfield. With the Badger's troubles last week it’s more than likely that the two continue their success at Camp Randall this Saturday.
This rush defense is a potential weak spot for Purdue, but it depends on the week so it’s hard to say if Wisconsin really will have a chance to blow up the trenches against the Boilermakers. One week they’ll hold a team like Penn State to under 100 yards the next week Florida Atlantic is putting up almost 200 rushing on them. They seem to have trouble against teams who use more than three backs in a game.
Chris Jefferson and Cam Allen are ball hawks and could end up having a field day against Mertz. With five interceptions between them, three for Allen and two for Jefferson, there’s nothing to indicate that they won’t be able to continue their success so far this season. They have a fairly solid pass rusher in Kydran Jenkins who has three-point-five sacks on the year.
Like I said at the top the Boilermakers are having a great year and even if they lose this weekend to the Badgers this is a team that’s bound for a good bowl game. With only two losses on the year, they’re a confident bunch too. Sure some of their wins were only by a possession but their losses were just as close.
This could easily be an undefeated team had two or three more things gone their way against Penn State and Syracuse. The rest of the season doesn’t provide them with too many more challenges. Their only real test following this week’s battle in Madison is another away matchup vs Illinois in Champaign. The Badgers have their work cut out for them let’s hope they’re doing their homework.