Danny Hope is on the hot seat and it doesn’t appear his players are that interested in saving his job. Purdue pretty much rolled over for the Badgers today at home. Things started well for the Boilermakers when they took the opening kickoff for a good return then hit a quick long TD pass. But that was the last scoring Purdue would manage until garbage time. The Badgers would quickly take control of the game.
The first half was a thing of beauty for Matt Canada and his offense. The key was getting the running game going. And the key to getting that running game in motion was variety. Canada mixed the outside and the inside, the misdirections and the straight-ahead power runs. And he had the play action game working, not only the deep balls to Jared Abbrederis but the underneath stuff to Jacob Pedersen. The whole offense was clicking for the Badgers.
The top man was Montee Ball who ended with 247 yards and 3 TDs on 29 carries. His third TD of the game broke Ron Dayne’s Big Ten career record. The old Ball was on display today. Not just the power but the speed and moves. It helped having the offensive line totally in sync for the first time all season. The Purdue defense didn’t get the penetration we’ve seen from other teams against the big men up front for Wisconsin. But again, it was the mix that did it. The run-pass balance was solid for Wisconsin. For stretches, they pretty much did anything they wanted against Purdue. Their first half lead would’ve been bigger but for some missed red zone opportunities.
The second half started with a bang when Montee Ball rumbled 67 yards for a TD. It was over right there. The Badgers just pounded away at a dispirited Purdue defense after that. The Badgers’ defense was in command all day, stuffing the Purdue screen game and blowing up the run game, and keeping the Boilermakers from using their outside speed to hit big plays. The Purdue quarterbacks were under siege all day from a relentless Badger pass rush. It just wasn’t much of a match-up. Purdue has problems on both sides of the ball, and if the Badgers play offense and defense like they did today, a team like this has no shot.
With the win, the Badgers have positioned themselves well to get a berth in the Big Ten championship game. Ineligible Penn State and Ohio State are still ahead of them in the standings but they don’t matter. The Badgers’ only real competition in the division was Illinois and Purdue and they’ve now beaten both those teams. They’re 2-1 in the conference and practically have a title game spot sewn up.
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