WEST LAYFAYETTE, IND (WSAU) The Wisconsin football team will try to go above .500 in the Big Ten tomorrow at Purdue. The Badgers evened their league mark at 1-and-1 a week ago with their home win over Illinois, and they’re 4-and-2 overall. Purdue hopes to recover from a crushing loss to Michigan in their league opener. The Boilermakers are 3-and-2 overall.
Among other things, the Badgers hope to improve their performance on third down. They’ve only converted 28-percent of their third down plays so far this season – mainly because they had go at least seven-yards almost half the time. The conversion rate is the worst in the Big Ten, and the fourth-worst among 120 teams in the Bowl Championship Sub-division.
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada says there’s no way the Badgers can be effective if they can’t make first downs – and converting on third is key. In the last three decades, there has only been one season when Wisconsin did not convert 30-percent of their third down plays. That was in 1988, when they could only get first-downs 27-point-nine percent of the time under coach Don Morton. The Badgers have had an average conversion rate of almost 42-percent since they began tracking the statistic in 1981.