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Wisconsin Football: Matchup to watch against Purdue Boilermakers

This Purdue wide receiver could give Wisconsin problems in the secondary on Saturday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 15 Nebraska at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Wisconsin Badgers(3-4, 1-3) will face off against the Purdue Boilermakers(5-2, 3-1) on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in Jim Leonhard’s debut at Camp Randall Stadium.

After a strong 42-7 win over the Northwestern Wildcats, the Badgers suffered a close defeat at the hands of the Michigan State Spartans in double overtime last weekend to drop them below .500 on the season.

As they attempt to re-calibrate and get on track this weekend, there’s a certain matchup to watch that could determine the outcome of the game.

WR Charlie Jones vs Badgers Cornerbacks

Purdue receiver Charlie Jones has been on a tear this season, catching 62 passes for 735 yards and nine touchdowns, which currently ranks ninth amongst all FBS receivers.

Now, the Badgers' defensive backs have been significantly tested this season, playing a big role, good or bad, in most of their games that have decided the outcomes thus far this season.

Last weekend, Spartans receivers Keon Coleman and Jayden Reed dominated against the Wisconsin secondary, while Isaiah Hightower and Pat Bryant had their way during the Illinois game against top cornerback Jay Shaw.

The Badgers now will be facing potentially their biggest threat in Jones, who, despite his 6’0, 188-pound frame, is one of the best-contested catchers in college thus far.

As of two weeks ago, Jones led the FBS with 10 contested catches on the year, according to PFF.

Jones’s 62 catches and 735 yards nearly double the second-highest Boilermakers’ receiver’s statistics, meaning quarterback Alex O’Connell will be looking his way early and often.

Be it Jay Shaw or Ricardo Hallman, the Badgers should double-team Jones with safety help, and their pass-rushers must get home to O’Connell.

O’Connell is having a quietly good season, averaging over 278 yards per game, meaning the Badgers must be prepared through the air, where they’ve struggled in games past.

Additionally, O’Connell is coming off consecutive 350-yard, two-touchdown performances that have led to victories, so Wisconsin will need the offensive firepower to match Purdue should their defensive backs be unable to sustain Charlie Jones and Co.

Regardless, it should be an exciting matchup with both teams possessing explosive-play ability.