Breakdown: Purdue at No.24 Wisconsin

Pedersen celebrates his ASU TD with the offense

Needing to quickly turn the page following last Saturday's controversy, No.24 Wisconsin begins Big Ten play against struggling Purdue at Camp Randall Stadium. Badger Nation breaks down the matchup.

Purdue (1-2, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. No.24 Wisconsin (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date/Time - Saturday, September 21 at 2:30 p.m. CT

Stadium –Camp Randall Stadium (71,706/Natural Grass)

Television –ABC/ESPN2 (Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham and Jeannine Edwards)

Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas and Mark Tauscher), Sirius 92, XM 192

Series – Wisconsin leads 43-29-8 (Wisconsin leads 23-13-5 in Madison)

Last Meeting – Wisconsin defeated Purdue, 38-14, on Nov.13, 2012 in West Lafayette, Ind..

Last week's Badger Nation game coverage

Last meeting's Badger Nation game coverage

Series Notes

Wisconsin and Purdue meet for the 81st time, with UW holding a 43-29-8 edge in the all-time series.

The Badgers have won seven straight against the Boilermakers, matching the longest win streak by either team in the series. Wisconsin also won seven straight from 1946-55.

UW is 5-2-1 against Purdue in Big Ten home openers. The last time the Badgers opened a Big Ten season at home vs. the Boilermakers was in a 12-6 loss to Purdue on Sept. 13, 1980.

Saturday's meeting with Purdue will mark the Badgers' earliest Big Ten opener since UW began the 1982 season against Michigan on Sept. 11. The game will be UW's earliest Big Ten opener at home since the Badgers' 21-14 win over the No. 1-ranked Wolverines to open the 1981 season on Sept. 12.

The game on Saturday is Purdue's first conference game in September since 2007 when the Boilermakers played Minnesota on Sept. 22.

Saturday's game is Purdue's earliest conference game since 1996 when the Boilermakers opened at Michigan State on Aug. 31.

Wisconsin has won four straight Big Ten home openers, dating back to 2009, and nine of their last 10 dating back to the 2003 season.

Wisconsin Notes

UW's last 11 losses have come by a touchdown or less. Wisconsin has not lost a game by more than seven points since a 34-24 defeat at Michigan State on Oct. 2, 2010. UW is 4-11 in games decided by seven points or fewer in that span.

Senior RB James White enters Saturday's game as the FBS' active career leader in rushing yards among running backs (2,868), total touchdowns (35) and rushing touchdowns (34).

The fastest player in UW history to reach 1,000 career rushing yards (104 carries), sophomore RB Melvin Gordon is averaging an astounding 10.0 yards per carry for his career. Gordon has 1,196 career rushing yards on just 119 carries. Gordon rushed for a career-high 193 yards on 15 carries at Arizona State (12.9 yards per carry) and scored a pair of touchdowns.

Wisconsin's defense enters Saturday's matchup with Purdue ranked ninth nationally in total defense (264.3 yards per game) and 10th in scoring defense (10.7 points per game).

The Badgers are one of three FBS teams that have yet to allow a passing touch- down this season. Opponents are averaging just 5.3 yards per attempt against the Badgers, who have already snagged three interceptions on the season.

Purdue Notes

The Boilermakers have one of the toughest schedules in not only the Big Ten, but also the country. The Boilermakers face four teams that were ranked in the preseason AP poll, including Wisconsin, and four more that were receiving votes. A total of nine teams on Purdue's schedule have been ranked or received votes this season. Four of the five road games in the 2013 season are against ranked or teams receiving votes, including at No. 24 Wisconsin.

Fifth-year senior Rob Henry started the season opener at Cincinnati on Aug. 31, a total of 1,008 days since his last start (Nov. 27, 2010, vs. Indiana). That is the current longest span between starts for a quarterback at the same school and the second longest span for any quarterback. Only Pittsburgh's Tom Savage has a longer span, as it had been 1,066 days since his last start.

Purdue was 2-6 in 2012 when it did not have more takeaways than its opponent, including a 2-5 record when the Boilermakers turned the ball over more than their opponent. When Purdue had more takeaways, the Old Gold and Black was 4-1 with the lone loss coming in overtime. When the Boilermakers did not come up with a takeaway, they were 1-3.

The Boilermakers return 39 starts on the offensive line and 34 on the defensive line from last season. The offensive line helped Purdue rush for 2,165 yards in 2012, while the defensive line starters from last year return 18.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.

Breakdown

Just like he does every Sunday following a game, Jacob Pedersen will get his weapons and his ammo and head out into the woods to hunt. He calls it an opportunity for him to clear his mind and start focusing on the next week.

Good thing no animals stumbled into his path. If they had, Pedersen might have turned into Rambo.

"You got to get your mind off of football so you can head full steam into the next game," said Pedersen.

Pedersen used the words "sucks" and "hurts" to describe his state of the mind in the hours following the Arizona State, but said in the same breath that he couldn't be more proud of the team with the way Wisconsin has moved on to this week.

It started for Pedersen immediately. Following his hunting trip, he and his teammates gathered together to watch the film, understand the corrections they needed to make and get a print out of their individual grade sheets for the game. Pedersen threw his right in the garbage.

"Game's done," said Pedersen. "It's in the past. I can't change it. I just got in my playbook and started for Purdue."

Wisconsin struggled at times last week against Arizona State's defensive front, but found success in the fourth quarter with its back up against the wall. The Badgers scored immediately following a Sun Devils touchdown, thanks to a fourth-down catch by Pedersen off a fake punt, to get within two.

After its defense, which had struggled slowing down ASU's up-tempo offense at times throughout the game, came up with a big third-down stop to force a punt, Wisconsin uses its passing and running game to get inside the ASU 20. We all know what happened from there.

"We just took what they gave us," said Pedersen. "They have a lot of good players on their team. Some drives they made the plays and other drives our linemen, running backs and receivers made the plays. It was two good teams going against each other."

The same can't be said this weekend against the Boilermakers, who rank last in the Big Ten in total offense (268.0 yards per game), rushing offense (79.0 yards per game) and passing efficiency (109.5). Purdue has also had trouble keeping teams off the scoreboard, allowing 29 points per game through three nonconference games (also last in the Big Ten).

Against the two BCS opponents on their nonconference schedule, Purdue allowed Cincinnati to go 9-for-15 on third downs. Last week Notre Dame was 11 for 16 on third downs against Purdue.

Wisconsin is clearly the better team, which is why they are favored by 24 points, but Pedersen said the key for the Badgers is to not play angry or try to overdo it to make up for last week's heartbreak.

"I think everyone kind of knows that we can do what we can control. Everybody does their job and nobody worries about anything else. I trust every guy on this team to make the right decisions in everything they do. That's just how we go about our business every day."

Purdue is rebuilding and Wisconsin, whether Pedersen admits it or not, is ticked off. That's a bad combination for the Boilermakers, as the Badgers march toward a fourth straight conference title gets off to a rousing start.

Wisconsin 49, Purdue 10

Worgull's Predictions

Straight up: 2-1*

Against the Spread: 3-0

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