The No. 1/No. 2 (BCS/traditional polls) Wisconsin Badgers (7-0 overall, 4-0 B1G) had one final road test, against the Purdue Boilermakers (3-4 overall, 1-3 B1G), before they could return to the comfy confines of Camp Randall Stadium. Despite losing all-American running back Jonathan Taylor to elbow bursitis in the first quarter, the Badgers were able to battle back from an early deficit to beat the Boilermakers 24-10.
Wisconsin struggled out of the gate in the first quarter, trailing the Boilermakers by a score of 7-0. The Badgers couldn’t get their offense going, racking up a grand total of 29 total yards in the first eight minutes, while allowing Purdue’s aerial attack to shred their secondary. Purdue also converted a key fourth and short against the Wisconsin defense to keep their scoring drive alive.
The Badgers bounced back in the second quarter, after shaking off the shock of losing Taylor on the last play of the first quarter when coach Paul Chryst questionably ran a hurry up offense to try and get one final play off before the quarter ended, and led Purdue 17-10 at halftime.
Quarterback Jack Coan found his groove in the second stanza, hitting A.J. Taylor and Jake Ferguson for touchdowns, while also leading the Badgers down the field at the end of the half (after a Chris Orr interception) to tack on a field goal from Collin Larsh.
UW received the opening kickoff of the second half, marched down the field and fed it to John Chenal from four yards out to open, and close, the scoring in the final two quarters. The Badgers defense put the clamps on Purdue when it mattered, forcing two more interceptions and not allowing the Boilermakers to score on their three red zone opportunities.
While Purdue was able to gain 335 yards through the air (well above the 211.8 yards per game the Badgers had been allowing entering the game) their rushing attack was non-existent, gaining 41 yards on 24 carries and allowing their quarterback to be sacked six times.
Here are the Badgers stats from the game:
Very “game manager” type showing for Coan against Purdue.
Obviously, no one is going to replace Taylor, but Garrett Groshek acquitted himself nicely as the main running back.
Ferguson and Quintez Cephus leading the way, same as it ever was.
Orr was all over the place, recording a team-leading eight tackles, two of which were for a loss, and snagging an interception which led to a field goal at the end of the first half. The Badgers, as a team, made a living in Purdue’s backfield.
It’s weird that Orr and Zack Baun didn’t have sacks, but the defensive line is getting some crazy penetration.
It seems like Rachad Wildgoose has an interception every game. He could be on his way to first team all-B1G.
So, the Badgers are still undefeated and finally get to play a home game next week. It is a rivalry game against the Iowa Hawkeyes, so all bets are off and the records are thrown out the window. Hopefully Taylor is at full strength and doesn’t get dinged up this week in practice.