Wisconsin has opened its Big Ten opener to generally positive results, opening a 24-10 halftime lead over Purdue.
Melvin Gordon and James White have been huge. Essentially, all of Wisconsin's offense. Gordon put the Badgers on the board first with a 5-yard run that capped an eight-play, 95-yard drive in the first quarter. He added another in the second, a 27-yarder to finish a six-play, 75-yard drive and enter the break with 90 yards on 10 carries.
White hasn't been overshadowed in the least bit, rushing for 113 yards on nine carries (12.6 yards per). Those numbers were certainly helped by a 70-yard, two-cut blink-and-he's-gone run in the first quarter. Still, he's looked mighty impressive. White's also been split out wide a couple times, catching one pass for nine yards in a nice look the Badgers will probably go back to before long.
What was good
Pretty much just the running game, which -- with a 16-yard rush by Jared Abbrederis tossed in there -- gained 214 yards on 21 carries (10.2 yards per). Abbrederis also has four catches 73 yards, the majority of which came on Wisconsin's first scoring drive, which was nice.
What was bad
Outside of White, Gordon and Abbrederis, the Badgers haven't really been that sharp. Joel Stave especially looks iffy, completing six of 10 passes for 85 yards and one interception. That pick was especially bad, as he tried to hit tight end Brian Wozniak on an out route toward the right sidelined, but threw the ball behind him and directly into the hands of Purdue's Ricardo Allen.
The Badgers' secondary also continues to give huge cushions, though that might be necessary now. Cornerback Peniel Jean is questionable to return with a leg injury, as is outside linebacker Brendan Kelly, also with a leg injury. Without one of their starting corners and top front-seven guys, the Badgers can't really afford to tempt the Boilers too much. Fortunately, Purdue's seemed content with a mostly short, lateral passing game.
One other bad thing: tight end Jacob Pedersen is out with a left knee injury. He was fitted for a brace on the sideline, though he was reportedly running around there, so maybe it's not so bad?
What'll happen if the bad doesn't get better
Oh, and the kickoff coverage could be better. Purdue's Akeem Hunt has returned five for for 125 yards (25 per return), including a 45-yarder. If Wisconsin doesn't tune that up quickly, Hunt or someone else in the near, near future will run one back.
If Stave's not sharper, Gordon and White will be facing like, 12 men in the box soon.