October 28, 2009

Inside the numbers: Purdue

MADISON - It seems every time Purdue comes up on the schedule, the Wisconsin football team has to plan accordingly. And that plan always features a somewhat different approach than standard because the Boilermakers are simply an offensive force.

This year is no different.

"I think as you've seen Purdue evolve through these games, they've really settled in on their strengths," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "Their quarterback is probably playing as well as anybody. I believe he's their second leading rusher….

"So I think Purdue does a good job of taking what they can get. But it is unlike any other spread of the past."

Before taking an even closer look at the Boilermakers, BadgerBlitz.com will break Purdue down with its weekly inside the numbers feature. The following is a look at some standout statistics from Purdue through eight games in 2008.

3 turnovers: Over the course of Purdue's current two-game winning streak, the Boilermakers have only turned the ball over three times. Not coincidentally, the lack of self-inflicted turnovers has helped Purdue get back on the wining track.

In its first six games, Purdue had coughed up the ball 17 times via fumble or interception. Of those, 13 were converted into points that led to 72 points and five straight losses.

3 straight wins?Well, it's been a while. Two and a half seasons to be exact. Since opening the 2007 season with five consecutive wins, Purdue has failed to put together a winning streak of three games. Should Purdue come into Camp Randall and beat Wisconsin this weekend, they would have three straight wins.

It would also mark the Boilers first three-game Big Ten winning steak since 2006 when Purdue beat Michigan State, Illinois and Indiana to cap off a 5-3-conference tally.

252.8 and 280.2: Purdue quarterback Joey Elliot enters Saturday's game ranked second in the Big Ten with 252.8 passing yards on average. Elliot also tacks on nearly 30 extra yards on the ground per game to average 280.2 yards of total offense per game. In total, Purdue has the 32nd best passing offense in the country.

90: Boiler running back Ralph Bolden has been a big time bright spot for Purdue to this point in 2009. So far, Bolden ranks third in the conference and 33rd nationally by averaging 90 yards rushing per game. He also ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 69th nationally in all-purpose yards with 116.3 yards per game.

7.4: Wide receiver Kevin Jones, who is one of the premier receiver in the league, averaged 7.4 receptions per game. That is 11th best in the country. By catching so many passes, Jones averages nearly 100 yards per game (best in the league).

.625: Purdue have scored five times out of eight tries during its first offensive possession of the game this season. Three scores have been touchdowns including a 79-yard Bolden run and two Elliott passes. Additionally, Carson Wiggs has nailed three opening drive field goals this season.

.869: The Boilermakers have scored on 20 of their 23 red zone chances. Of those scores, 17 have been touchdowns and three have been field goals. In order to get into the red zone, where Purdue capitalizes, the Boilers have to pick up first downs. When facing that situation, Elliott directs his attention to either Bolden or Smith who have accounted for over half of Purdue's first downs this season.

69-30: For Wisconsin, the first quarter will be key if it hopes to beat Purdue. So far on the season, the Boilermakers have more than doubled their opponents on the scoreboard during the first 15 minutes of play.

14.5: Like the Badgers O'Brien Schofield, Purdue has a playmaking tackle-for-loss expert on its defense. So far this season Jason Werner leads Purdue with 60 tackles and 14.5 TFL's. He ranks second in the league behind only Schofield (16.5) in the category.

.259: Through eight games, Purdue has had 104 offensive drives. Of those, only 27 or just shy of 26 percent have gone for touchdowns. In total, Purdue scores points on approximately one of every three drives.

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