MADISON, WIS - No. 12 Wisconsin (9-2 overall, 6-2 B1G) defeats Purdue (4-7 overall, 3-5 B1G), 45-21 despite turnover troubles, keeping B1G West title hopes alive.
Wisconsin lost the turnover battle to Purdue, 4-1 (three fumbles, one interception). However, the Boilermakers were only able to turn one one turnover into points.
Wisconsin and Purdue each scored seven points off of turnovers.
Wisconsin opened the day, scoring on its first drive, by way of an Aron Cruickshank 27-yard touchdown run.
Cruickshank has now scored in back-to-back weeks, having scored Wisconsin’s first points in last week’s game as well on an 89-yard kick off return.
Cruickshank, among others were heavily involved in an offense that saw an up-tick of jet sweeps and wildcat formations, giving next week’s opponents one more wrinkle to have to contend with.
Following a Purdue drive that stalled, ending in a 28-yard J.D. Dellinger field goal, Jonathan Taylor was off to the races.
Taylor capped off a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a 51-yard rushing touchdown.
Taylor on the day finished with a 28 rushes for 222 yards and his lone touchdown, which was his 18th rushing touchdown of the season.
Taylor now has 12 career games of 200 or more yards, only trailing former Badger, Ron Dayne (14) for the most in NCAA history.
However, Taylor wasn’t the only running back that had success on the day, as Wisconsin as a team rushed for 436 yards, averaging 7.3 yards per carry.
Purdue then raced down the field, itself on a four-play, 75-yard drive, which started off with a 38-yard passing play and then a 27-yard rushing play.
Aidan O’Connell capped off the drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Brycen Hopkins.
Hopkins, who hauled in eight receptions for 127 yards, scored once more in the game, on a 37-yard reception from wide receiver Milton Wright, which put Purdue up by three. Purdue’s scoring drive began following an A.J. Taylor fumble.
On Purdue’s three touchdown-scoring drives, the Boilermakers made quick work of the Wisconsin defense, scoring on an average of 4.33 plays, while covering an average of 71 yards per drive.
Of the three drives, the longest drive lasted just 2:09, while the two others lasted under 1:50.
“They emptied it out early (the playbook), they were doing a bunch of uneven sets and trick plays,” Zack Baun said. “When it came to lining up and playing football, I think we did a good job.”
Wisconsin quickly took the lead back, with an 18-yard touchdown connection from Jack Coan, to Jack Dunn, which ended an eight-play, 72-yard drive.
Coan finished 15-for-19, for 203 yards and two touchdowns, while connecting with six different receivers.
Wisconsin was finally able to thwart a Purdue drive, forcing a punt on the Boilermakers fourth drive of the game. This started a stretch of five consecutive drives where Wisconsin held Purdue scoreless.
However, Wisconsin’s misfortunes continues offensively, as it committed its second fumble of the game, when Jonathan Taylor fumbled giving Purdue another chance with 1:12 left in the half.
Wisconsin’s defense was then able to hold strong and force a three-and-out, giving Wisconsin the ball back with just 22 seconds left in the half.
Wisconsin ran four plays and used all three of its timeouts on the drive, using every one of the 22 remaining seconds, leading up to a Zach Hintze, school-record, 62-yard field goal, to end the first half.
John Hall previously held the record with a 60-yard field goal, kicked at the Metrodome, on Nov. 11, 1995 against Minnesota.
“That was surreal, I can’t explain in words at that moment, how that felt,” Hintze said. “It was a lot of chaos, a lot of people jumping on me, it was insane.”
Wisconsin’s defensive fortunes continued in the second half, as Eric Burrell intercepted an O’Connell pass at the Wisconsin five-yard-line, which led to a nine-play, 95-yard scoring drive, which was capped off by a six-yard Garrett Groshek rushing touchdown, which came out of the wildcat formation, following a fake handoff to fullback Mason Stokke.
On Purdue’s ensuing drive, the Boilermakers went for it on fourth-and-eight. On the play, O’Connell seemed to lose his handle of the ball and when he was trying re-gain control, he was dropped by Christian Bell for a sack.
Wisconsin then took advantage of the short field and Coan connected with Quintez Cephus on a 29-yard touchdown pass.
Cephus finished the game was five receptions for 79 yards, to go along with the score.
Coan tried to connect with Cephus once more in the fourth quarter, but his pass fell short and was intercepted, which was Wisconsin’s fourth and final turnover of the game.
Purdue was then finally able to break-through following their scoring draught, with a five-play, 75-yard drive, ending with an O’Connell touchdown pass to David Bell.
Wisconsin added one more touchdown, in the game, on a one-yard Stokke rush.
On Wisconsin’s final drive, head coach Paul Chryst used a timeout and took Taylor out of the game and he received an ovation from the crowd, as this could potentially be Taylor’s final game at Camp Randall.
“I know what our guys on the sideline felt, and I just thought it was the right thing to do,” said Chryst.
Wisconsin will next face No. 10 Minnesota (10-1 overall, 7-1 B1G) in a winner-take-all tilt, for the B1G West.
National Stage.— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) November 24, 2019
Twin Cities pic.twitter.com/cprQXOkHnQ
Coincidentally, next Saturday will be the 2019 seniors final rivalry trophy game of their careers. Since starting at Wisconsin, this senior class is 10-1 in such games.
The only loss, came in the final regular season game of the 2018 season...against Minnesota.
“We got a bad taste in our mouths that we’re trying to get rid of,” Baun said.