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GAME NOTES: Wisconsin 35, Purdue 24

Quotes and notes from Wisconsin’s homecoming victory

NCAA Football: Purdue at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Notable Quotes

  • Interim head coach Jim Leonhard on getting his first win at Camp Randall

“It means a lot, Wisconsin, Camp Randall, it means so much to me. To see the players respond to me and what my messaging is and the confidence that I am trying to pour into them, it means so much and coming back for homecoming, so many alumni back in town and seeing the support that I have from them, friends, family, coaches, you name it.”

  • Leonhard on the growth of the team since he took over

“I think we’re seeing a lot of growth, we had a young inexperienced team, a lot of guys stepping up into different roles or transitioning into the program from other places, where I knew we had to learn a lot about this group early on in the season and we found out a ton and it’s good to see their response - we’re getting better, the effort has been there and now you’re seeing a little bit better execution, which is how we got the win here today.”

  • John Torchio on getting two interceptions in the game

“It feels great, I played like shit last week, so it felt great, sorry for swearing.”

  • Torchio on the defense’s play today

“We were able to run a lot of coverages, a lot of guys stepped up big - Titus Toler played a lot of big minutes, corners all rotated, Alex Smith came back, so I thought we did a great job on defense as a whole.”

  • Graham Mertz on the offense’s quick start

“We started fast, there are still some areas that we weren’t truly efficient in, we had a couple of drives that just stalled out, a couple that were just quick, so we still gotta grow on that, we started fast in the second half, but like I said we’ve just gotta build on that for sure.”

  • Mertz on Wisconsin winning the turnover battle

“When you take a step back and just think of the game of football, you look at points per drive, you look at turnover margin, you look at that and that’s where you get great teams. It’s my job to protect the ball and when I don’t it’s not good for this team, it can shift the momentum, like I said, it’s a simple game when you take out all the stuff, but you throw in emotion, you throw in 80,000 people, you throw in all the extra stuff that comes along with it that’s why I am so proud of this team and how they deal with all of the things that come along with it.”

  • Mertz on the growth of the team since Paul Chryst’s exit

“It’s a younger group of men, but now it’s a group of men, I mean I think I said this a couple weeks ago, but you go through that and you realize how much of a business this is, you gotta realize that you gotta work like a businessman, you gotta go about your business everyday with an intent, and that’s why I am so proud of this group, you see the growth from young men into men.”

Game Notes, provided by the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department


  • Today’s captains: senior NT Keeanu Benton, junior ILB Nick Herbig, junior QB Graham Mertz
  • Today’s attendance at Camp Randall Stadium was 75,018.
  • With the victory, the Badgers have won 16-straight meetings with the Boilermakers dating back to 2004. Wisconsin has won 8-straight match-ups in Madison.
  • The Badgers have now won their last 3 games against Purdue by an average of 16.3 ppg.
  • UW is now 52-29-8 all-time against Purdue, including 29-12-5 in Madison.
  • Interim head coach Jim Leonhard coached his first game at Camp Randall Stadium and became the 4th-straight Badger head coach to record a win in his first appearance in Madison.
  • The Badgers totaled 21 1st-quarter points, their most in a Big Ten game since scoring 21 vs. Illinois on Nov. 11, 2016. In that game, the Badgers went on to top the Fighting Illini, 48-3.
  • Wisconsin cruised down for a TD on the opening drive, posting a 6-play, 76-yard drive that took 2:26. Wisconsin has now scored a TD on 4 of the last 6 opening drives and is averaging 64.5 yards per drive over the last 4 games.
  • With Torchio’s pick-6 in the 1st quarter, Wisconsin matched its pick-6 total last year (2).\ Both Ceasar Williams and Scott Nelson posted pick-6s in 2021.
  • The Badger defense held Purdue to a 5-of-16 clip on 3rd down.
  • Wisconsin amassed 3 interceptions on the day, giving it 14 on the season. UW entered the day just 1 INT behind USC and Illinois for most interceptions in the nation.
  • UW accumulated 178 yards rushing. In their last 6 wins over Purdue, the Badgers have averaged 297.2 rushing yards per game. Wisconsin has averaged 261.4 rushing yards per game during its 16-game win streak over the Boilermakers.


  • Senior S John Tochio picked off a pair of passes in the win, including a 1st-quarter INT that he returned for a TD.
  • Torchio now has 5 INTs this season, the most for a Badger since Leo Musso recorded 5 in 2016.
  • Torchio is the first Badger to record 2 INTs and return one for a score in the same game since Natrell Jamerson did so against Northwestern in 2016. Torchio, Jamerson and Jack Ikegwuonu (2005) are the only Badgers to accomplish the feat since 2000.
  • Including his career-high 10 tackles, Torchio is the only Badger to record 2 INTs, 1 TD and 7+ tackles in a single game since at least 2000.
  • Torchio became the first Badger to record multiple INT TD returns in the same season since Aaron Henry in 2010. Since 2000, Henry and
  • Torchio are the only Badgers to record multiple INT return TDs in a single season.
  • Torchio has now recorded an INT in back-to-back games vs. Purdue.
  • Sophomore RB Braelon Allen ran for 113 yards and 1 TD, notching his 13th 100-yard game over his last 17 games. Over that stretch, Allen has rushed for 2,089 yards and 20 TDs (122.9 ypg).
  • Allen ripped off a 41-yard run in the 1st quarter, recording his 6th run of over 30 yards this season. Heading into this weekend, Allen led the nation in runs of 30+ yards.
  • Allen’s 7.1 yards per rush were his highest in a single game since posting 10.6 ypc in the season opener.
  • By amassing the 100-yard mark, Wisconsin has had a RB go for 100+ yards in 6-straight games against the Boilermakers. Allen ran for 140 yards in last year’s win over Purdue.
  • Allen also hauled in a 39-yard pass, the longest of his career.
  • QB Graham Mertz threw for 203 yards and 2 scores on 13-of-21 passing. Mertz has now thrown for a TD in 9-straight games dating back to last season, the longest streak of his career.
  • Mertz posted a passer rating of 174.5, marking the 4th time he has gone over 170 this season. He had a total of 3 games with a rating of 170+ during his first three seasons.
  • Mertz has thrown for multiple scores in 5 of 8 games this season and has thrown for 200+ yards in 6 of 8 performances.
  • Mertz now has 9 TDs over the last 3 games and 17 touchdowns with just 6 INTs on the season.
  • Mertz posted his second 200+ yard, multiple TD and zero INT performance this season. Heading into 2022, Mertz had done so only once in his career.
  • Mertz has now thrown 17 touchdowns with just 6 INTs on the season.
  • Junior WR Chimere Dike caught his 6th score of the season in the 1st quarter. Dike is the fastest Badger to 6 TDs in a season since Jared Abrederris reached the 6-TD mark through 8 games in 2013.
  • Dike finished with 3 catches for 36 yards
  • Dike is the first Badger to total 6 recieving TDs since Quintez Cephus posted 7 in 2019.
  • Dike joins Cephus (2017 and 2019) and Jared Abbrederis (2013) as the only Badger WRs to reach the 6-TD mark since 2012.
  • Freshman WR Skyler Bell matched a career high with 4 catches for 87 yards and a TD.
  • Bell caught a 29-yard TD pass from Mertz on the Badgers’ opening drive. Bell now has 4 TDs this season and has made receptions of 20+ yards in 4 games this season.
  • Senior RB Isaac Guerendo ran 7 times for 72 yards and a score. Guerendo broke a 52-yard TD run in the 3rd quarter to extend the Badger lead to 35-10.
  • Guerendo’s 52-yard run was the second-longest of his career, trailing only his 82-yard touchdown run against Eastern Michigan in 2021.
  • Senior P Andy Vujnovich punted 6 times for an average of 42.3 yards and a long of 54 yards
  • Vujnovich pinned the Boilermakers inside the 20 4 times, including a perfect 2nd-quarter punt that rolled out of bounds at the 1-yard line.
  • His 4 punts inside the 20 were a career high.
  • Vujnovich has pinned opponents inside the 20 in each of the last 4 games and in all but one game this season.
  • Sophomore ILB Jordan Turner snagged his first INT of the season and the third of his career in the fourth quarter. He finished with 6 tackles, second-most on the team.
  • After missing last week’s game at Michigan State, sophomore ILB Jake Chaney returned and matched his career high with 5 tackles and registered his first-career sack.