PURDUE RETURNS HOME FOR A SELLOUT • No. 25 Purdue Football (4-2, 2-1) hosts Big Ten Conference foe Wisconsin (3-3, 1-2) on Saturday, Oct. 23, in front of what has already been announced as a sellout crowd at Ross-Ade Stadium. • Head coach Jeff Brohm’s Boilermakers will aim to keep the train rolling after the tremendous 24-7 win at No. 2 Iowa (Oct. 16), the program’s second-straight victory over an AP No. 2-ranked squad. • As announced on Sept. 22, Saturday’s game against the Badgers will be a capacity crowd at Ross-Ade Stadium. Notably, the day is also Purdue’s Hammer Down Cancer Game. • The Boilermakers head into Saturday’s game with a 4-2 record for the first time since the 2010 season. With a win against Wisconsin, Purdue would improve to 5-2 for the first time since 2007. PURDUE – WISCONSIN SERIES HISTORY • Purdue is 29-50-8 all-time against Wisconsin and will be looking for its first win in the series since 2003 on Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium. • Historically, the Boilermakers are 16-22-3 at home against the Badgers. The most recent home Purdue victory over Wisconsin dates back to the 1997 season, when the Boilers rolled the No. 24-ranked Badgers, 45-20 (Oct. 18, 1997). • The Boilermakers and head coach Jeff Brohm came close to snapping its slide against the Badgers in 2018, dropping a triple overtime heart-breaker, 44-47 (Nov. 17, 2018). • Interestingly, the Boilermakers have more ties, eight, vs. Wisconsin than any other opponent in school history. The series dates back to 1892 and is Purdue’s fourth-longest contested matchup. Earlier first meetings include: Illinois (1890), Michigan (1890) and Indiana (1891). RANKED FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2007 • The Boilermakers are back in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since the 2007 season, earning a No. 25 nod for the Week 8 (Oct. 17) edition of the poll. Back in the 2007 season, Purdue’s 5-0 start to the season vaulted the Boilermakers to No. 23 in the Week 5 (Sept. 30, 2007) poll. • For head coach Jeff Brohm, he previously led a squad into the Top 25 during his three-year tenure at Western Kentucky. His 2015 program made two appearances in the Top 25, earning the 25th slot for the Week 14 (Dec. 6, 2015) poll and finishing 24th in the season’s final poll. • All-time, Purdue is 3-0 when ranked 25th in the Associated Press poll. Most recently, Purdue won two games as the nation’s No. 25 team during the 2004 season under Joe Tiller’s guidance. Tiller’s Boiler squad defeated Syracuse (51-0, Sept. 5, 2004) and Ball State (59-7, Sept. 11, 2004) during a 5-0 start to that campaign.
RING THE BELL • If you hadn’t heard of heard Bell before the Iowa game, now you have. The junior WR from Indianapolis (Warren Central HS) torched the No. 2 Hawkeyes for 240 receiving yards (11 catches), the second-highest yardage total in team history, behind only Chris Daniels’ 301 vs. Michigan State (October 16, 1999). • Bell’s effort against Iowa sets him as the eighth Boilermaker to have 200-plus receiving yards in a game and the first since Rondale Moore had 220 vs. Vanderbilt (September 7, 2019). • Also within the Iowa game was a season-long 60-yard snag for Bell, which is the longest play from scrimmage for the Boilermakers in 2021. His longest is an 89-yard touchdown reception vs. Nebraska during the 2020 season (Dec. 5).
• Bell has surpassed 100 receiving yards in 14 of his 23 career games at Purdue, which ties the program record held previously solely by John Standeford. • Bell started his 2021 campaign with a 134-yard, eight-catch effort vs. Oregon State (Sept. 4) and a 121-yard, six-catch, three touchdown outing at UConn (Sept. 11). • Bell missed the Minnesota (Oct. 2) game due to being in concussion protocol after taking a hit to his upper body in the second half at Notre Dame (Sept. 18). • The Boilermaker star ranks fourth nationally in receiving yards per game (135.8), and first in the Big Ten Conference. • For his career, Bell is averaging 7.7 catches per game, 101.7 yards per game and 0.2 touchdown receptions per game. His 101.7 receiving yards per game is No. 1 in the NCAA FBS for active careers. His 7.7 receptions per game is currently the second-most for an active NCAA career, only trailing Western Kentucky’s Jerreth Sterns (8.7). • The three-TD game for Bell at UConn matched his career-high he set against Iowa last season (Oct. 24, 2020). He is just the second Purdue WR in school history with multiple three-TD reception games, joining Taylor Stubblefield (2001-04). GOODBYE, NUMBER TWO • With the win against No. 2 Iowa (Oct. 16), Purdue improved to 6-10 all-time against teams ranked No. 2 in the AP poll, and the Boilermakers have won two in a row, including the 49-20 win against second-ranked Ohio State on October 20, 2018 • The Boilermakers have 16 wins over top-five opponents when they are unranked, the most in the country. • The Iowa win is Purdue’s first against a top-2 foe on the road since a 31-20 victory at Notre Dame on September 28, 1974.
DEFENSE! DEFENSE! • The Boilermakers have gotten tremendously stingy on defense, ranking fifth nationally in scoring defense (14.0) through six games this season. In the neighborhood with Purdue includes: Georgia (6.6), Clemson (12.5), Cincinnati (13.7) and Penn State (13.8). • Brohm’s squad is uniquely one of seven programs in the country to average more than 420.0 yards of total offense and less than 300.0 yards of total defense (Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Georgia, Iowa State, Liberty, NC State). • The Boilermaker defense had four interceptions at Iowa (Oct. 16), the most since 2018, a four-INT game against Boston College (Sept. 22, 2018), and the four takeaways is the team’s most since it had four at Wisconsin (Nov. 23, 2019). • Purdue’s defense is led by a new array of assistant coaches selected to join the Boilermaker staff by head coach Jeff Brohm during the offseason leading up to the 2021 season. Three new co-defensive coordinators were hired, Brad Lambert, previously at Marshall, and Ron English, previously at Florida. In his second stint on Purdue’s staff, Mark Hagen was selected by Brohm and elevated to co-defensive coordinator. • Lambert and English coach the linebacker and secondary groups, respectively, while Hagen returned to Purdue in 2021 to lead the defensive line. Brohm also added cornerbacks coach James Adams to his staff from Navy.
BADGERS BEGIN BIG TEN STRETCH RUN AT PURDUE The race for the Big Ten West Division takes center stage for Wisconsin, which opens a stretch run that will see the Badgers (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) take on 5 division opponents in the season’s final 6 weeks. That run through the West begins with a trip to West Lafayette, Ind., on Saturday to take on No. 25 Purdue (4-2, 2-1) in a game that will kick off at 2 p.m. and air live on Big Ten Network. The Badgers are coming off consecutive wins for the first time this season after downing their first West Division foe, Illinois, on Oct. 9 and scoring a 20-14 win over Army in a non-conference clash last Saturday. Wisconsin seeks a 15th consecutive win over the Boilermakers and looks to extend a streak of 8 straight victories in West Lafayette that dates to 1999. Purdue marks the 4th ranked opponent the Badgers have faced in the first 7 weeks of the season.
The Badgers are in their 7th season under head coach Paul Chryst, who is 59-22 (.728) as head coach at his alma mater. The two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year has led the Badgers to a 38-15 (.717) conference record and a 5-1 mark in bowl games. Chryst is in his 16th season overall on the Badgers’ coaching staff. Jim Leonhard is back for a 5th season as defensive coordinator, and 6th season on the coaching staff overall, at his alma mater. Under Leonhard — an All-America safety during his playing days at UW — the Badgers have continued their run as one of the nation’s most consistently high-performing defenses. Over Leonhard’s first 5 seasons on staff, Wisconsin has ranked among the nation’s top 5 units in scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense and passing efficiency defense. Nationally, only No. 1 Georgia (207.1) is allowing fewer offensive yards per game than the Badgers (225.8), who have held two opponents to fewer than 100 total yards this season. UW has allowed an average of just 4.04 yards per play, 3rd-best behind Georgia (3.55) and San Diego State (4.03). Including doing so consecutively in wins over Illinois and Army, the Badgers have held 3 opponents under 100 passing yards this season, matching Georgia for the most such performances on the year. Wisconsin ranks 3rd nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 64.3 yards per game. In their other games, UW’s opponents are averaging 192.9 rushing yards. The Badgers have limited 4 of their 6 opponents to 50 rushing yards or less. Junior ILB Leo Chenal leads UW with 42 total tackles, despite missing the team’s first 2 games. His average of 10.5 tackles per game is the 2nd-best of any Power Five player, trailing only LSU LB Damone Clark (11.3). The Badgers have produced 5 100-yard rushing performances through 6 games, with junior RB Chez Mellusi (3) and freshman RB Braelon Allen (2) each logging multiple games over the century mark. Rushing for 108 yards and a TD vs. Army, Allen was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week. Read more, Page 6 TE Jake Ferguson has caught at least 1 pass in each of his 40 career games, breaking the school record for consecutive games with a catch.