Update, 11 p.m. CT: There appears to be a discrepancy in the official stats of the game. Logan Bruss’s false-start penalty pushed back Wisconsin five yards to the Purdue 27-yard line, not 51 yards to the UW 27. We have adjusted the stats throughout the article to what they should be. We also updated Wisconsin’s record as there was a typo in the initial publishing.
Penalties, early inefficiency on offense and an aggressive Purdue passing attack almost doomed Wisconsin on Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafeyette. However, Jonathan Taylor’s performance and some second half offensive resurgence helped carry the Badgers to a 47-44 win in triple overtime.
Wisconsin (7-4, 5-3 Big Ten) gained 545 yards on the night with 385 yards coming on the ground. Taylor continued his dominant 2018 performance, rushing for a career-high 321 yards on 33 carries with three touchdowns, including two in the overtime sessions. Thanks to a hot second half, quarterback Jack Coan completed 16 of 24 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
The offenses heated up, combining for 1,007 yards during the game. Wisconsin’s defense allowed 462 to Purdue (5-6, 4-4), 386 of those through the air. Quarterback David Blough completed 31 of 48 passes with four touchdowns. True freshman phenom Rondale Moore caught nine passes for 114 yards with two touchdowns, while wide receiver Isaac Rico hauled in six passes for 72 yards with a score as well.
Despite committing a season-high 13 penalties for 125 yards on Saturday, Wisconsin came out with the win. Outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel racked up 10 tackles and two sacks and a forced fumble, while inside ‘backers T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly combined for 19 tackles, three for loss.
It took until midway through the second quarter, but Purdue finally starting the scoring in the contest. After a 27-yard Connor Allen punt allowed the Boilermakers to start on their own 45-yard line, they only needed six plays to find the end zone. Blough found D.J. Knox out of the backfield, and the back took it 18 yards for a touchdown. With the extra point, Purdue went up 7-0 with 6:11 remaining until halftime.
The offense moved the ball in the first half, but penalties hurt momentum of the unit. On its first drive, Wisconsin had a 3rd-and-1 opportunity from the Purdue 10, but a Jon Dietzen false start led to a far-less manageable 3rd-and-5. Coan would complete a pass short of the markers, and Rafael Gaglianone missed a 30-yard attempt wide left.
On its second series, another false start—this time by redshirt senior Beau Benzschawel—pushed back a 2nd-and-7 into a 2nd-and-long. Wisconsin would punt on a three-and-out.
Then on its third drive, a promising drive developed with two first downs and a nice eight-yard scramble by Coan. On a 2nd-and-2, officials called holding on redshirt senior left guard Michael Deiter.
But hey, Wisconsin got some points on the board at the end of the first half—though a touchdown was in reach and not obtained. Driving 54 yards in 13 plays, UW worked its way down to the Purdue two-yard line before Coan took a crucial sack that pushed the offense back to the 11. Then the sophomore quarterback missed an open Jake Ferguson on an overshot pass that would have resulted in a touchdown. Gaglianone connected on the 29-yard field goal to make it 7-3 Purdue with 67 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Boilermakers would take advantage of that time left until halftime, however. Blough drove his offense to the Wisconsin two-yard line after a Caesar Williams pass interference call. The Badgers’ defense actually held their opponents out of the end zone, however, with T.J. Edwards stuffing a third down run for a loss. Spencer Evans’s 20-yard field goal made it a 10-3 game heading into halftime.
Despite another brutal penalty for Wisconsin—this time a special teams hold on the second half kickoff that wiped out a huge Aron Cruickshank return—Taylor sprinted 80 yards on the first offensive play of the half to tie the game up. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kendric Pryor ran down the field and helped block any defenders from getting the right angle to take down his Heisman-caliber back.
Wisconsin would go on to score 10 unanswered points in its first two drives of the third quarter. After a Van Ginkel sack stymied Blough and the Boilermakers, Coan and the Badgers pushed down the field in a very UW-esque series. Going 68 yards in 12 plays and nearly seven minutes off the clock, the offense could only get to the Purdue four-yard line and settled for a Gaglianone 22-yard field goal.
However, Wisconsin now held the lead at 13-10.
Purdue answered with a touchdown drive of its own, though. Going 61 yards in six plays and aided by a 15-yard facemask penalty on Van Ginkel, Markel Jones capped the drive with a 12-yard run to put the Boilermakers back up 17-13.
After Wisconsin went three-and-out on its next possession, Purdue struck again—this time with Moore no longer being contained. The true freshman wide receiver put a move on fellow true freshman Rachad Wildgoose—then executed a spin move that made safety Eric Burrell whiff on a tackle—on way to a 46-yard touchdown reception. Now the Wisconsin deficit hit 11 in a 24-13 game.
Wisconsin suffered its first and only turnover of the game in the fourth quarter, as a punt hit Caesar Williams. Purdue recovered, and though it had the opportunity to land a knockout punch, UW’s defense held its opponents to just a field goal. That would make it 27-13 Boilermakers.
Credit UW for not quitting while down two scores in the final quarter, as the offense answered the call to pull the deficit down to a touchdown. A third down pass interference call extended a drive and nullified a Purdue interception. Danny Davis made a terrific one-handed catch for a five-yard touchdown reception. Gaglianone’s extra point made it 27-20 Purdue with 6:40 remaining.
Davis again came up big from the arm of Coan. Taylor helped the drive gain serious steam after a 35-yard run to the Purdue 33. Four plays later, Coan found the sophomore wide receiver for an 18-yard touchdown to tie it at 27.
Davis caught four passes for 36 yards with those two scores, while junior A.J. Taylor caught five passes for 89 yards.
The Wisconsin defense held Purdue for two more offensive possessions, forcing overtime.
On Purdue’s first overtime series, Brohm and Blough called Moore’s name once again. Making a few Badgers miss, he turned a completion into a 15-yard touchdown.
Wisconsin answered, with Taylor getting his second score of the game on a 12-yard run. That made it 34-34.
In the second overtime frame, UW scored first. A 22-yard run by Taylor once again put the Badgers near the goal line again. After a couple of penalties—one on each side—Garrett Groshek scored from four yards out of 11 personnel to put Wisconsin up 41-34.
But in one play, Purdue tied it up. Blough hit Isaac Zico for a 25-yard touchdown. The extra point once again made it a tie game.
The Boilermakers could only muster a field goal in the third overtime session, setting up Wisconsin’s offense to win the game if it could cross the end zone. In two plays, Taylor did just that, going 17 yards to pay dirt and clinching UW’s 13th straight win over Purdue.