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Too much is riding on this game for the Badgers not to come out with energy and get an early lead. Purdue will make some plays, but Jonathan Taylor and the offensive line will churn out another win to set up a winner-take-all matchup at Minnesota. Purdue’s losing streak against UW will reach 14 games.

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The Badgers’ stretch run got a shot of energy when Iowa knocked off Minnesota last week, giving them a path to the Big Ten West Division title once again. That, coupled with the final game at Camp Randall of the season, should give UW a wave of energy to use.

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The Boilermakers were able to retain coach Jeff Brohm (above) this year after Louisville pushed hard to hire him in the offseason, and he’s delivered a good coaching performance despite the injuries his team has suffered.

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UW had one of its better days of the season on special teams against Nebraska. Sophomore Aron Cruickshank (above) boosted his kick-return average to a Big Ten-best 28.4 yards after taking a kick 89 yards to the end zone, sophomore Collin Larsh went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts, and senior punter Anthony Lotti pinned the Cornhuskers at the 4 with one of his two punts.

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Right now, UW’s program is far and away in better shape than Nebraska’s. The Badgers got back to their identity last week, and will stick to that down the stretch as they chase a Big Ten Conference West Division championship. UW’s won eight of past nine meetings, including six straight, and they make it 9 of 10 and seven straight Saturday to retain the Freedom Trophy (above).

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Scott Frost’s homecoming to Nebraska isn’t going as well as Paul Chryst’s is at Wisconsin. Frost (above) is under fire to make changes to his staff as another season slips away, while Chryst and his staff were able to use a bye week to regroup and seemingly right the ship against a tough Iowa team.

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The Badgers still have a chance to reach the Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis — they need to win out and have Minnesota lose at Iowa on Saturday or next week against Northwestern to do it, but there’s still a chance.

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Jack Dunn misplayed a couple of Iowa punts that left the Badgers pinned deep in their own territory in the second half, while Anthony Lotti had issues punting. He averaged 34.3 yards on three punts, more than 6 yards less than his season average. If cold weather was a factor, Lotti’s in luck — forecasts call for mid-50s temperatures in Lincoln on Saturday.

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Nebraska uses dual-threat quarterback Adrian Martinez (above) as the conductor of its spread offense. Despite missing two games due to a knee injury, Martinez is the team’s leading passer and rusher. The sophomore from Fresno, Calif., averages 270 total scrimmage yards per game.

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The Badgers ought to be licking their chops as they prepare for the Cornhuskers’ defense. Nebraska has struggled to slow opponents’ rushing attacks, ranking 11th in the Big Ten and 83rd nationally with 173.7 yards per game allowed on the ground. In Nebraska’s past three games, all losses, Minnesota (322), Indiana (104) and Purdue (145) combined for 571 yards and nine rushing touchdowns. UW seemed to find some of its mojo on the offensive line last week against Iowa, rushing for 300 yards, 250 of which came from junior Jonathan Taylor (above), and Taylor has dominated Nebraska the past two years.

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