Utilizing both quarterbacks Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy and aided by a healthy dose of Melvin Gordon, the Wisconsin Badgers continued a four-game winning streak as they took down the Purdue Boilermakers on the road Saturday afternoon. Wisconsin mixed up its offensive attack throughout the game, subbing in McEvoy in a variety of situations, although rarely to begin drives, as the No. 25 Badgers defeated unranked Purdue 34-16.
A strong day for Wisconsin’s quarterbacks, Stave completed 19 of his 29 attempts for 219 yards and two touchdowns, with a poor-choice interception in the third quarter the only dark spot on an otherwise excellentï¿½day throwing the ball. McEvoy completed just one throw for six yards, but carried the ball four times for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Jordan Frederick led Wisconsin’s receivers on the day, hauling in five balls for 64 yards. Kenzel Doe added three catches for 41 yards, Alex Erickson added three catches for 27 yards and a score, and Sam Arneson, George Rushing and Corey Clement each added at least one catch.
Gordon carried the bulk of the offensive load for the Badgers on the ground, taking 25 carries for 205 yards (8.2 per carry) and a touchdown. He added three catches for 44 yards,
Nov 8, 2014; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon (25) leaps to the end zone for a touchdown against the Purdue Boilermakers in the first half at Ross Ade Stadium. Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sportsincluding a 27-yard score. Clement had eight carries for 23 yards.
The defense showed up yet again, as Wisconsinï¿½harassed Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby all day, and other than a long touchdown pass in the third quarter, Wisconsin held the Purdue offense largely in check the entirety of the game.
Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) moved into a three-way tie with Nebraska and Minnesota atop the Big Ten West with the win.
Wisconsin gave up a 14-play, 58 yard drive to open the game, but stiffened before letting Purdue in the red zone, and heldï¿½the Boilermakers to a 40-yard field goal.
The 3-0 Boilermaker lead marked the first time since the second quarter of Wisconsin’s matchup with Illinois Oct. 11 that the Badgersï¿½trailed an opponent.
Wisconsin then went three-and out on its next possession, but the Badgers defense quickly made an impact, forcing the Boilermakers to punt from their own six yard line, setting up the Badgers with great field position on the Purdue 37.The Badgers quickly found the scoreboard when Gordon took advantage of a huge hole on the way to a 14 yard touchdown run, capping a 6-play, 37-yard scoring drive.
After Purdue narrowed the score to 7-6 with a long field goal to open the second quarter, Wisconsin ran Gordon on a jet sweep to open the following drive, and Gordon took the ball 47 yards to Purdue’s 11-yard line. The Badgers were unable to punch it in, and Rafael Gaglianone hit a a 24-yard field goal to put Wisconsin up 10-6. Both McEvoy and Stave were used at quarterback on the drive, with McEvoy at the helm to begin the drive, while Stave entered the game on second and seven from Purdue’s eight yard line.
Later in the second quarter, Wisconsin again utilized both quarterbacks as they completed a 10-play, 90-yard drive, finalized by a 27-yard wheel route touchdown pass from Stave to Gordon, giving the Badgers a 17-6 lead.
Before the break, Wisconsin executed a perfect two-minute drill, going 10-plays for 80 yards, mostly through the air, to score on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Stave to Alex Erickson, and the Badgers took a 24-6 lead into halftime.
Coming out of the break, Gordon fumbled the ball away two plays into the second half, but Wisconsin’s defense held yet again, forcing a three-and-out and a 52-yard field goal, making the score 24-9.
A long touchdown pass later in the quarter pulled Purdue within eight points, 24-16, and the Boilermakers appeared to stealï¿½a possession with a sneaky onside kick following the score. Initially ruled in the Boilermakers favor, an official review overturned the call, giving the Badgers great field position just past midfield. Wisconsin went nowhere, however, and quickly punted back the ball.
The Badger defense racked up a pair of sacks from Vince Biegel and Derek Landisch in the following possession, and a 20-yard Kenzel Doe punt return set the Badgers up in good field position at Purdue’s 36. Once again, Wisconsin’s offense struggled and Stave was picked off by Purdue’s Landon Feichter.
After Wisconsin’s defense earned another stop, McEvoy hit the field for the next Badger drive, and kept the ball on the first play for a 18-yard run. Gordon took the next carry 14 yards, and with Stave back in the game the next play, Gordon carried again for 13 yards to put Wisconsin on Purdue’s 13 yard line. McEvoy entered the game yet again, faked the jet sweep, and kept it himself for the 13 yard score, putting Wisconsin up 31-16.
The Badgers added another field goal later in the game to go up 34-16, and hung on to the finale.
Wisconsin will host Nebraska at home next Saturday.