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Three quick takeaways from Badgers 38-17 win over Purdue

The Badgers started strong, which ultimately was the difference in their win over Purdue.

The Wisconsin Badgers started off Big Ten play with a 38-17 win over the Purdue Boilermakers, improving to 3-1 on the season.

The game was much different than the Badgers’ previous matchups, as Wisconsin started off very strong, scoring touchdowns on each of their first three drives, while leading 21-3 going into the break.

While the second half wasn't nearly as good, the Badgers still comfortably won 38-17, entering the bye week on a good note.

Here are three quick takeaways from the Badgers 38-17 win over the Purdue Boilermakers.

Quick start

This game was unlike the Badgers’ first few bouts, as they started on a tear offensively with three consecutive touchdown drives.

The numbers may not stand out, but quarterback Tanner Mordecai operated efficiently on the ground and through the air, with the run game flourishing as a result, leading to 133 rushing yards in the first half on 21 carries.

The most important aspect of it all was the Badgers’ putting their talk to the field; Wisconsin had mentioned the slow starts all week, and clearly, the message was received.

Wisconsin still has stuff to clean up, but they were afforded that luxury due to their strong start, and it started with their offensive presence and coordinator Phil Longo’s playcalling.

Run Game

The Badgers run game thrived on Friday, once again serving as the catalyst for the offense in Week 4, with Wisconsin rushing for 210 yards and four touchdowns on 42 attempts.

Braelon Allen led the way with 116 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts, while Tanner Mordecai had 13 carries for 59 yards and two touchdowns on the day in a game where the Badgers valued the designed run more.

However, the reason that the run game makes the list is more so due to the future outlook of the run game, rather than the current.

The Badgers lost Chez Mellusi to a gruesome injury in the fourth quarter, and while his status is unknown for the remainder of the season, it’s safe to suspect a potential season-ending injury based on the video.

Now, Wisconsin is going to need one of their backups to step up and act as a key backup, especially with Allen already battling some issues of his own early in the season.

Wisconsin’s run game is going to be the catalyst of their offense, and they'll need to personnel to keep that effort up going forward.

Run Defense

Coming into the week, I pointed out how the run defense for the Badgers was susceptible, and that was exactly the case in Week 4.

Now, the Badgers got away comfortably here because of their offensive efforts, scoring seven times, while the Purdue passing attack wasn't to standards, but the Boilermakers’ running game was stout.

Purdue rushed for 212 rushing yards, averaging over seven yards per carry, with a majority of the damage coming on rushes between the tackles, which has been their issue all season.

Against other Big Ten opponents, the Badgers need to approach the run game with better linebacker play and more physicality in the line of scrimmage, while their tackling needs to improve as well.

The run defense woes pose the question I asked last weekend: does Mike Tressel have the correct players to operate his 3-3-5/3-2-6 defensive system?

I’m not sure that he does, and the number of defensive backs leads to lighter boxes, allowing teams to run down their throats.

To combat that, the Badgers need space-eaters up front, and I’m just not sure that is currently present on their roster.