2010 Purdue Boilermakers Football

 
Big Ten football fans

Purdue Boilermakers vs Wisconsin Badgers Football Preview

 

 

After being blown out in consecutive road games to fall to 4-4, the Purdue Boilermakers return home Saturday to face another tough conference opponent, the seventh-ranked Wisconsin Badgers.

Purdue is down to its third quarterback of the season, true freshman Sean Robinson, who has struggled along with the rest of the Purdue offense since stepping in for Rob Henry, who suffered a finger laceration on his throwing hand two weeks ago against Ohio State.  Robinson will handle the bulk of the snaps again this week as Henry’s finger heals.  Wide receiver Justin Siller, who started three games at quarterback in 2008, warmed up at quarterback last week but is still unable to play due to a foot injury.

In last week’s 44-10 loss at Illinois, Robinson completed seven of 20 pass attempts in extremely windy conditions.  Purdue gained just 205 total yards, managed only nine first downs, and converted two-of-14 third down attempts.  Illinois led 37-0 before Purdue scored its first points, on a Carson Wiggs field goal with 10:50 left in the fourth quarter.  The Boilers finally got into the end zone when Robinson hit Gary Bush for a seven-yard TD with 5:44 to play.

The Purdue offense has scored just one touchdown in the last two games, while continuing to suffer injury after injury.  During last week’s 44-10 loss to Illinois, the Boilermakers lost freshman receiver O.J. Ross for the season with a shoulder injury.  Another top receiver, Cortez Smith, hobbled to the sidelines with a leg injury, and may be limited this week.  Running back Al-Terek McBurse has been moved to receiver as offensive coordinator Gary Nord tries to get more playmakers on the field.




Controlling the ball is an obvious area of concern for the Boilermakers as they prepare to face the Badgers, whose offense is their usual clock-grinding, downhill-running attack.   The Illini controlled the ball on Purdue, enjoying a 38:17-21:43 edge in time of possession. 

If they couldn’t keep the Illinois offense off the field, it would be logical to assume that the Boilermakers will struggle against the powerful Badgers, who rank 13 th nationally with 221.4 rushing yards per game.  Wisconsin has put up over 30 points in all four of its conference games, including wins over Ohio State and Iowa.  Wisconsin had the week off last week.

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The Badgers enjoy a wealth of options at running back.  Senior John Clay, the reigning Big Ten offensive player of the year, has run for 887 yards and 13 touchdowns.  True freshman James White (570 yards, nine touchdowns) and sophomore Montee Ball (219 yards, four touchdowns) could start for most teams.  Wisconsin will almost always have a fresh-legged back in the game.

Assuming they decide to throw the ball (they might not need to), the Badgers will rely on the capable arm of senior Scott Tolzien, who’s been good enough to hand the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes their only conference losses.  Tolzien is a typical Badger quarterback, a game manager whose bread-and-butter is the play-action pass.

It’s difficult to assess the performance of the Purdue defense lately, since the offense has struggled to move the chains and has put it in difficult situations over and over again.  All else being equal, the tenacious Boilermaker defense might be able to slow down the Badgers, but it will be up to Robinson and the offense to keep the dominant Wisconsin attack off the field as much as possible.  It may take a minor miracle.

 

By: James Lambert
DFN Sports Staff Writer

 

 

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