Preview: Badgers look to set up Big Ten Championship play-in game with win on senior day

A.J. Taylor and other seniors look to close out with a win in their last game at Camp Randall. 

A.J. Taylor and other seniors look to close out with a win in their last game at Camp Randall. 

Image By: Will Cioci

No.12 Wisconsin (8-2 overall, 5-2 Big Ten) welcomes Purdue (4-6 overall, 3-4 Big Ten) for the final home game of the season. 

As the leaders of the team have said –  November is championship football and with help from Iowa, they now have a chance to play in Indianapolis for a Big Ten championship game. The way Minnesota had been rolling it was tough to imagine a scenario where Wisconsin would have a chance to win the Big Ten West. Now after beating Iowa two weeks ago, the Hawkeyes helped the Badgers out with a win in Minneapolis. 

The Badgers will now be welcoming a 4-6 Purdue squad who they haven’t lost to since 2003. UW has won the last 13 matchups, and have won the last six games played at Camp Randall. 

The game is a must-win in order to set up a game for the Big Ten West in Minneapolis next weekend.

Of course, with this being the last game in Camp Randall it is also senior night for a great senior class. Saturday marks the final home game for David Moorman, A.J. Taylor, Chris Orr, and Zach Baun who have been integral parts of this year’s team but also in past year’s teams. 

Orr and Baun have combined for 19.5 sacks on the year while Taylor and Moorman have been cornerstones of the offense which has bee more balanced than in year’s past. 

Wisconsin will surely have the seniors on their mind to try to notch them a win in their final home game while also setting a big-time border battle next week. 

The biggest cog in the Wisconsin offensive attack is Jonathan Taylor. A week after he became the first Badger to rush for 200 yards three times against a single opponent, he now has a chance to do it again, this time against Purdue. 

After gashing a top ten rushing defense in Iowa two weeks ago, he now faces the two teams he’s had the most success against and has a chance to rush for 200 yards three games in a row. 

Though Taylor has averaged 270 rushing yards per game in his two matchups against Purdue, including a 321-yard outing in a triple-overtime win a year ago, but he will be without starting left tackle Cole Van Lanen this weekend. 

Tyler Beach will come in to replace Van Lanen. Beach appeared in all thirteen games a season ago and has appeared in all ten games so far this season so there will be no lack of experience for Beach as he steps into a starting role. 

Purdue will also be without a key to their offense. The Boilermakers will likely be without explosive wideout Rondale Moore who destroyed the Badgers last year for nine catches, 114 yards, and two touchdowns. 

After losing their top two signal-callers to injury, Aidan O’Connell is now ready to make his second start. He is coming off a 271-yard performance against Northwestern where he threw for two touchdowns but also threw two interceptions. 

Wisconsin will need to sure up some issues on the defensive end as they were torn apart for 493 yards a week ago against Nebraska. Wisconsin should be able to easily take care of Purdue but will look up to clean up issues against spread offenses and continue the momentum they’ve built on the offensive end. 

If Wisconsin can come away with the win on senior day it will setup a monster matchup against Minnesota in a border battle for the Big Ten West title. 

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