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B5Q5Q: Thoughts on Wisconsin’s win over Purdue; looking ahead to AXE WEEK

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Lots cooking this week.

Wisconsin v Purdue Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

What. A. Game.

In between speeding from my couch where I was watching the events in West Lafayette to the Kohl Center to cover the men’s basketball team’s win over Houston Baptist on Saturday, Jonathan Taylor, Jack Coan, and company proceeded to go ahead and tie—and then win the whole dang ballgame.

Take a look at the photo below to see how much the game meant to the players. In a season that has not lived up to the expectations set before it, the team fought back from a 14-point Purdue lead that could have signaled doom for a Wisconsin unit that previously has not been able to come back from that type of deficit.

Matt Fleming

There was a lot that did not go right for UW on Saturday, including 13 penalties for 125 yards. Looking at Wisconsin’s record books (page 150), that ties for the single-game “record” in school history. The defense also gave up almost 400 yards through the air to a potent Purdue aerial attack. Tackling was an issue. The offense was still more one-dimensional, though with Jonathan Taylor’s performance, why wouldn’t it be? The passing game did become a vital component of the offense in that fourth quarter.

For one game, however, the Badgers fought through the mistakes and came out victors. Another crazy win for Wisconsin over Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Now begins AXE WEEK.

Game balls

Jonathan Taylor

Duh. 321 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns.

Andrew Van Ginkel

The redshirt senior posted a career-high 10 tackles, plus two sacks and a key forced fumble. The fumble nullified a huge scoring opportunity for Purdue early on in the game and showed how the outside linebacker can heavily influence games when he’s healthy.

On Wednesday when speaking with reporters, defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard credited Van Ginkel for playing through an injury he suffered against BYU that, in a lot of cases, takes four to six weeks to recover from. He leads the team in sacks (only 4.5), but you can see he has come on of late, along with redshirt junior Zack Baun. He also made a huge tackle on Markell Jones during a nine-yard run early in the fourth quarter to stop him at the UW one-yard line. If he does not chase down the back, that is a touchdown. Three plays later after a goal line stand, Purdue kicked a field goal, a significant four-point difference.

Matt Fleming

T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly

Nineteen combined tackles—three for loss—for the two redshirt senior inside linebackers. Edwards made a huge 3rd-and-Goal stop a fullback pitch when Purdue decided to try to use Rondale Moore as a decoy.

Danny Davis

The stats are not eye-popping (four receptions, 36 yards), but Sweet Christmas, that one-handed grab for a touchdown.

The sophomore wide receiver also hauled in the game-tying touchdown reception in another contested-ball situation, something that we have not seen as much of this season from Davis.

Jack Coan

The sophomore quarterback looked a lot more comfortable out there against Purdue, Yes, the passing game once again did not balance out the rushing attack—with Jonathan Taylor’s day, why would you try?—but he completed 16 of 24 passes for 160 yards with two touchdowns ... and more importantly, no turnovers.

The touchdown passes to Davis were right where they needed to be to allow his receiver to make a play, and the 34-yard completion to A.J. Taylor on the first offensive series of the game showed he can get the ball into a deeper level of the defense.

Rondale Moore and David Blough

OK, way too many game balls this week, but both of these Boilermakers did nearly everything they could to end Purdue’s losing streak to Wisconsin. Moore caught nine passes for 114 yards with the big 46-yard touchdown, while Blough threw for 386 yards with four touchdown passes.

What’s ahead this week

Axe Week!

IT. HAS. BEGUN! Wisconsin could make it 15 straight wins over Minnesota.

Live show from Bierock on Tuesday night

Jason Galloway from the Wisconsin State Journal will join us live from one of our favorite Madison establishments as we begin to preview Minnesota! We’ll also play some interviews from Tuesday player availability, and tell you what we’re thinking heading into the regular-season finale.

Stephan Bracey feature

On Saturday, I spoke with the three-star prep standout and one of Wisconsin’s newest commits about flipping to the Badgers, how he told Western Michigan of his decision, and what he can bring to the UW offense.

Battle 4 Atlantis

Unfortunately, we can’t make it down to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament—and with this cold weather here, boy could I use it—but Wisconsin will take on Stanford on Wednesday afternoon and have games on both Thanksgiving and Friday.

Walk-On This Way book signing

On Friday at the University Book Store at Hilldale Mall, I will be there from 1-3 p.m. Stop by, say hi, talk Badgers, and get a great stocking-stuffer.