Purdue’s defense took a massive leap in the offseason. The Boilermakers rank 36th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 20.8 points per game, after ranking 117th out of 128 FBS teams in that category last year, when they gave up 38.3 per game. Purdue’s 35-3 victory over Missouri in Week 3 marked the fewest points the Boilermakers had allowed in a game since 2011, and their defense kept them competitive against Michigan the next week. Purdue’s national rank in rushing defense has also improved from 115th to 66th. That won’t make it too much easier to stop the Badgers’ ground attack, which now ranks 16th among FBS teams at 257.6 yards per game. UW ran on 30 of its final 32 plays last week at Nebraska, leading to three late touchdowns drives in a 38-17 win. True freshman Jonathan Taylor (above), who finished with 249 yards and two touchdowns against the Cornhuskers, ranks fourth in the country in rushing yards per game at 153.4 and is beginning to generate some buzz as a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate.
EDGE | UW
KEY STAT | LONG RUSHING GAINS
Taylor posted 26 runs of 10-plus yards over UW’s first five games, more than all but three FBS players in the country.