Wisconsin earned their 15th straight win over Purdue beating them 30-13. To put in perspective, the last time Purdue beat Wisconsin, defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard was a Junior at Wisconsin.
Turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers
The Badgers entered Saturday with the worst turnover margin in the FBS. This afternoon helped that issue. In the first half, a Graham Mertz fumble resulted in a scoop and score giving Purdue a 13-10 lead. Purdue’s first touchdown had also come off a turnover. A fumble by freshman running back Braelon Allen. Thankfully the defense stepped up again, ultimately forcing 5 turnovers.
The second half was more of the same. Colin Wilder made an incredible play on the ball to get the Badger defense another turnover. The Badgers finished the game a +3 in the turnover battle. While that is good considering the struggles this season. In a game with seven turnovers it still means the offense struggled taking care of the ball. In the second half however, the offense did a much better job. Mostly thanks to the run game dominating.
Wisconsin’s defense is proving to be one of the top defenses in the country for another season. Jim Leonhard has this group flying around making plays. Purdue’s offense was able to put up 24 points on Iowa’s defense last week. Including David Bell having 11 catches for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bell was averaging 136 yards receiving coming into today. He finished with just 33 yards on 6 catches. The defense forced 5 turnovers, had 6 sacks, and held Purdue to -13 yards rushing. “Death row”, the linebacker’s new nickname, took over the game today. Proving to be the best group in the country.
Leo Chanel posted a ridiculous, 17 tackles last week against Army. How would he follow that up today? How about 9 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks.
He may match his jersey number today.@BadgerFootball star @chenal_leo has 3.5 sacks, and counting. 😱 pic.twitter.com/uri8iidive
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 23, 2021
Paul Chryst is back calling plays. So far this season, it could be argued he has not impressed fans. Highlighted by getting the ball on the one yard line and not being able to punch it in. Including a third and goal jet sweep to Kendrick Pryor that lost about five yards. With all the success Wisconsin has had in goal to goal situations with fullbacks and power football. It was strange to see this call and Purdue was not fooled. Thanks to some big plays from star running backs, the Badgers did have two 90+ yard touchdown drives. In the second half, Chryst kept it simple. Only throwing the ball 8 times in the game, Wisconsin leaned on the run game and it did not disappoint. Every single yard in the second half came on the ground. Quarterback Graham Mertz only threw the ball 8 times the entire game. In fact, the Badgers didn’t complete a pass in the final 44:16 of the game.
If this box score is accurate, the #Badgers didn't complete pass over the final 44:16.
Only threw two passes in the second half.
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) October 23, 2021
Thunder and Lightning
Wisconsin has another historic duo in the backfield. Braelon Allen looks to be the next great running back for the Badgers. While Chez Mellusi has fit right in as a transfer. A real thunder and lightning duo. However both could be thunder and both could be lightning. Mellusi and Allen both showed off impressive power and break away speed.
Spin move 🌪@chez_mellusi just dropped some jaws on this @BadgerFootball TD run. pic.twitter.com/WppA6IUDYF
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 23, 2021
When the Badgers had their backs against the wall after a good punt, Allen changed the field. A 70 yard run had the badgers offense rolling. Capped off by an impressive touchdown run by Chez Mellusi. A 3 play 94 yard drive in just over a minute all on running plays. Only at Wisconsin will you see something like that. Wisconsin’s run game dominated this game. Running the ball 51 times for 290 yards. Mellusi finished with 149 yards and a touchdown. While Allen had 140 yards 2 touchdowns on just 12 carries.
The run that set up the latest TD. 💯@BraelonAllen // @BadgerFootball pic.twitter.com/beYmjeX6UU
— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) October 23, 2021
4th Quarter Woes
4th quarters have been a major struggle this season. The Badgers are a -54 point differential and have 9 turnovers in 4th quarters this season. Both last place in the FBS. This game was a step in the right direction. Wisconsin was a +10 in points and +1 in turnovers. While holding Purdue to -1 yards on offense in the 4th.
First Ranked win since 2019
The Badgers had been 0-8 in their last eight games versus ranked opponents. The last one coming against Minnesota in the axe snow battle from 2019. That feels like a lifetime ago. Getting back on track against ranked opponents came at a good time, as Wisconsin will see Iowa next week. With the Big Ten west on the line.
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