It was a tale of two halves at Ross-Ade Stadium for the Wisconsin Badgers (8-1, 4-1) as they defeated the Purdue Boilermakers (4-5, 2-3) 34-13.
Wisconsin played nothing like a first-place team in the opening half as they went to the break down 10-6. True freshman quarterback Sean Robinson of Purdue was able to methodically move the Purdue offense down the field several times against a lifeless Wisconsin defense. The deficit would have been worse had it not been for a fumble by Purdue’s Antavian Edison that was scooped up by Badgers cornerback Antonio Fenelus and returned 48 yards to the Wisconsin 27 yard line. Four plays later, Wisconsin was on the board after Philip Welch drilled a 40-yard field goal.
For a team that had two weeks to prepare for a spread attack featuring a freshman quarterback, things were looking glum on the chilly afternoon in West Layefette for Big Red. Going into the half, the Badgers were able to gain some momentum with another Welch field goal as time expired.
In grand fashion, the Badgers came out of the locker room fired up from the get go. Senior linebacker Culmer St. Jean set the tone with an interception on a great read play deep in Purdue territory and five plays later Scott Tolzien found Jared Abbrederis in the back of the endzone for the first Badger lead of the day at 13-10.
Midway through the third quarter John Clay went down with a knee injury and was not able to come back, again opening the door for reserve tailback Montee Ball. Ball responded with a career day as he finished with 127 yards on 21 carries. Ball’s first touchdown run was a work of art. Taking the handoff from Tolzien, Ball showed great patience waiting for his blockers to get down field and ran 31 yards to paydirt to put the Badgers ahead 20-10.
The second turnover of the half came on a Mike Taylor interception in which should have been run back for a score. Purdue quarterback Sean Robinson got away with a blatant trip that took down Taylor. Ball took the ball in from 15 yards out just two plays later and the rout was on. Purdue quickly got the ball back only to return it right into the hands of Fenelus as he stepped in front of a Robinson pass and took it back 36 yards for a score.
All in all, a terrific second half effort for a team trying to win its first Big Ten title in over 10 years. They calmly made little adjustments and forced Robinson into several bad throws and capitalized in a big way. The Badgers have three more games on the regular-season docket. Home games against Indiana and Northwestern and a road date with Michigan in the Big House.
Nick Toon looked like the Nick Toon we have all been waiting for. He finally looks to be near or at 100% and ran very crisp routes finishing with 62 yards on 5 catches.
Both Lance Kendricks and James White were suited up but only Kendricks saw limited action. Hopefully both back for the Indiana game at Camp Randall next Saturday.
The two Badgers tackles Gabe Carimi and Ricky Wagner did an excellent job on Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan. Matched up mostly against Wagner, the All-Big Ten selection was quiet all day.
About the Author
Written by Chad Seely
Hey sports fans! Welcome to my Wisconsin Badgers football blog. For any Badger scores, news or questions you may have, come check out this blog! For those who don't know me, I'm a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I graduated in May 2009 with a Broadcast Journalism degree and returned in Fall 2009 to get a Minor in Multimedia which I completed in May 2010. In the summer, you can catch me on AM1230 WSBB, splitting time as the play-by-play announcer and color commentator for the Daytona Cubs, the Advanced-A Affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.