Coming into the game, the Badgers and Boilermakers share a few unique similarities: both teams have new coaching staffs with a transfer quarterback.
The results have been slightly different, as the Badgers are 2-1 with three-score wins over the Georgia Southern Eagles and the Buffalo Bulls, while the Boilermakers are 1-2 with a win over Virginia Tech and losses to Fresno State and Syracuse.
To get a different perspective on the game, we spoke with our friends over at Hammer and Rails, our SB Nation site covering the Purdue Boilermakers, and got some insightful information ahead of Week 4.
Q: How has Purdue’s offense looked under Hudson Card in the transition from Aidan O’Connell?
The offense has been better than most of us thought. Card has done a great job slinging the ball around and has involved a number of different targets. He’s got only one interception so far this season but last week fumbles reared their ugly head. Purdue lost 3 of his fumbles but you can wave away at least two of them because one was on a 4th and 1 where it ultimately didn’t matter because he was making an extra effort to get a yard, while another one was just a blindside sack.
Q: What’s the confidence level in the new coaching staff early on?
I think the confidence is fairly high. Most reasonable Purdue fans know that Purdue lost a lot after last year via the NFL Draft, graduation, and the transfer portal. Plus, it has become evident that there were certain positions that the prior staff just couldn’t recruit or develop. The offensive line is the obvious immediate unit that Jeff Brohm and staff just could never solve.
There have been a lot of questions about the playcalling of OC Graham Harrell but I think a lot of that is due to the limitations of the offensive line.
Q: What are the keys to win for Purdue to snap the major losing streak against Wisconsin?
Gosh, I wish I knew. Obviously, Purdue needs to win the turnover battle. They absolutely handed the ball to Syracuse over and over last week. Without that maybe Purdue would be sitting at 2-1.
Purdue has to find a way to convert third and short of fourth and short. It’s been a problem all season and at this point has become a real concern for this team.
Finally, they’ve got to do a better job of containing the QB. Wisconsin’s QB likely won’t do as well as Shrader from Syracuse, but he certainly created a blueprint for how to run on Purdue and if the Boilermakers haven’t found a fix for that it might be trouble.
Q: What are Purdue’s biggest concerns heading into Week 4?
The offensive line and the secondary. Neither unit has exactly covered themselves in glory so far this year. At least the secondary has been able to come up with interceptions to temper some of the anger but they’ve struggled with tackling and allowing WRs to get behind them.
The offensive line just cannot seem to get a consistent push to allow Purdue to run the ball. It makes third and short almost comically difficult for this squad.
Q: Score prediction for the game?
I’m a homer through and through. I want Purdue to win every game and I always convince myself that if only X and Y happen Purdue can win. Even now as I write this I’m thinking back to a conversation I had with the host of the Buckycast and he gave me hope about some of the problems Wisconsin has right now and how Purdue might exploit them. There’s a glimmer of hope in the back of my head about this game.
But I can’t pick Purdue against Wisconsin. At least not this year. Sadly, I think the streak continues and Wisconsin wins 28-24.