Wisconsin 30, (25) Purdue 13: 2-minute drill

WEST LAFAYETTE — Wisconsin used a smothering defense and a potent running game to take down No. 25 Purdue 30-13 Saturday to keep the Badgers hopes alive for a Big Ten West title.

Game Balls

Offense: Braelon Allen, Chez Mellusi

Wisconsin threw just eight passes so to win the way the Badgers did you know the run game was working. The duo combined for 289 of their team’s 290 yards on the ground. Allen overcame a pair of fumbles to rumble for 140 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries. It included a career-long 70-yard scamper in the third quarter.

“My favorite college player, Melvin Gordon, started his best game the same way,” Allen said of the fumbles and recalling Gordon’s 408-yard game against Nebraska in 2014. “That’s what was going through my head. I knew I could bounce back from it. I just had to keep my mind straight and focus on holding onto the rock.”

Mellusi’s 149 yards was more workman-like, needing 27 carries to get it done. But he had the run of the day, forcing a missed tackle in the backfield and finding a way into the end zone from 20 yards out.

Allen has now rushed for 100 yards in three straight games, and it is the second time in the last three contests that both topped the 100-yard mark.

Defense: LB Leo Chenal

A week after having one of the best games of his career, Chenal topped it against Purdue. He was everywhere, finishing with nine tackles, 3.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss to lead a masterful defensive effort.

“I’m kind of at a loss for words,” fellow linebacker Jack Sanborn said of Chenal. “It was unreal. At one point it was like, geez, he got there again. I was like, ‘Dude, you got to slow down and just let me beat you there one time.’”

Despite missing the first two games of the season, Chenal now leads Wisconsin is tackles (51), sacks (5.0) and tackles for loss (9.5).

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They Said It

“We can’t have that. It is time to let it loose, just play ball. Do not worry about what the coaches are going to say, how they are going to grade you. Just let it loose, play ball, play physical, just get it done. I think we really responded well after that one.”

Jake Ferguson on his message to the OL after getting stuffed three straight times from the 1-yard line to start the second half

In Case You Missed It

— Wisconsin came into the game without four of its tight ends due to injury and then lost Cam Large to a leg injury on the first drive of the game. Jaylin Franklin played the most snaps of his career and the team also used offensive lineman Cormac Sampson as an extra blocker.

— With Devin Chandler in the transfer portal, Wisconsin used Chimere Dike and Faion Hicks to return kicks.

— Wisconsin turned the ball over twice, including a Graham Mertz fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

Mertz was asked about the play afterwards.

“They brought a corner cat,” Mertz said. (We were) supposed to have it protected up but one (missed assignment) by one of the guys. We’ll clean it up. We’ll be good.”

— Late in the fourth quarter it appeared several Badgers got into it verbally with some of the Purdue fans behind the bench. Ferguson said that was not the case.

“Just trying to keep it pretty civil,” he said. “I usually don’t like talking trash to fans.”

Inside the Numbers

5 – That is how many turnovers Wisconsin forced. The Badgers had forced a total of four turnovers in the first six games combined.

“It’s contagious,” said safety Collin Wilder, who had an interception and forced fumble/recovery. “Once one happens, everybody believes.”

10 – That is how many possessions Purdue had after the Boilermakers scored their lone touchdown in the second quarter. Those possessions included five turnovers, three punts, one turnover on downs and one end of half.

206 – That is how many yards Purdue finished with. It is the fewest the Boilermakers had in a game since having 104 yards against Penn State in 2019. It included -13 yards rushing.

15 – That is how many straight times Wisconsin has beaten Purdue. It is the longest streak by either team in the series.

6 – That is how many sacks Wisconsin had in the game. The Badgers now have 18 sacks on the season, including 12 combined against Purdue and Notre Dame.

33 – That is how many yards David Bell had receiving. It was his fewest since his freshman year in 2019 and 207 yards fewer than he had last week against Iowa. Cornerbacks Faion Hicks and Caesar Williams took turns dealing with Bell, though they had help with defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard rolling coverages to the junior wideouts side.

2 – That is how many 90-yard scoring drives Wisconsin’s offense had. The Badgers first touchdown came on a 13-play, 92-yard drive in the first quarter. Then, they went 94 yards in three plays for another touchdown in the third quarter.

8 — That’s how many pass attempts the Badgers had. It is the fewest they’ve had in a game since 2012.

What’s Next

Wisconsin (4-3, 2-2) returns home to face No. 11 Iowa (6-1, 2-1) on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.