Wisconsin vs. Purdue Wrap: Five Big Answers


October 13, 2012; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Montee Ball (28) scores a touchdown during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-US PRESSWIRE

Last week we asked five big questions about Wisconsin vs. Purdue. Now we present five big answers not necessarily related to the five big questions…

1. Yes, Purdue is terrible.

Two straight inferior opponents, two straight dominating wins. I’m not diminishing the accomplishment by the way. They played inferior opponents earlier in the season and didn’t dominate. So obviously they’re playing better. But you still have to factor in the level of competition. They laid a whupping on two over-matched teams. You look at Illinois and Purdue and realize why people make fun of the Big Ten. The teams at the top are flawed and the teams at the bottom are just garbage. There’s a huge talent deficiency in the conference. It seems like only Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State can attract decent players. Give Pat Fitzgerald credit for maximizing what he has to work with at Northwestern. Pretty much every other program is a joke.

2. Yes, Montee Ball is still a Heisman-worthy player.

Ball is probably not going to pile up enough stats to get back in the Heisman race for real. He just fell too far behind the curve. But the way he played this weekend shows he still has the Heisman-worthy skills. The O-line is getting the love, and rightfully, but Ball deserves a lot of that too. He made a lot of stuff happen after first contact. He put so many spin moves on guys I thought I was watching NFL Blitz. I was worried he’d spin one too many times and automatically fumble like on that game. He had all the moves working in that game. Purdue helped him out by tackling like crap. That’s a frightening combination of circumstances. Dominating blocking. Great runner with his whole game going. Defense that can’t stop anyone. That’s how you rack up 247 yards.

3. Yes, Jacob Pedersen still has a pulse.

It was refreshing seeing the offensive line get its mojo back and it was refreshing seeing Montee Ball run like we expected. But you know what was more refreshing than either of those things? Seeing Jacob Pedersen finally get going. For the first time all year it felt like Matt Canada had everything clicking. The deep stuff was there and the underneath stuff was there. And Pedersen held onto the ball when it was thrown to him. Hopefully this will become a regular thing.

4. No, it’s not Melvin Gordon’s time yet.

Okay I’m reversing on what I said before about getting Melvin Gordon more involved. I think they did it right in this game. Two-man running back rotation makes more sense. Get better rhythm going. So, stick with Montee Ball and James White. Gordon’s time will come but it’s not here yet.

5. Yes, the division race is over.

The Ineligibles Division belongs to Wisconsin. Well we kind of knew that before the season but it’s sewn up now. I mean look at the teams behind them. Purdue, Indiana and Illinois are a combined 0-8 in the conference. How the hell does that even happen? The Badgers win this week against Minnesota, which they should, and it will take a miracle for them to be unseated. Call this joke division race off now.

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