Wisconsin 35, Purdue 24: 2-minute drill

MADISON – Wisconsin jumped out to a 21-0 lead and didn’t look back on its way to a 35-24 win over Purdue on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

Game Balls


QB Graham Mertz

The junior bounced back from an uneven effort against Michigan State with another really good game. He went 13-for-21 for 203 yards and two touchdowns. That included a scoring toss to Skyler Bell on the opening drive of the game, the third time in the last four outings he’s thrown a touchdown on Wisconsin’s first possession. Perhaps most importantly, Mertz didn’t turn the ball over despite facing some decent pressure at times.

WR Skyler Bell

It seems to be a different guy each week stepping up for the Badgers and this time out it was Bell’s turn. He caught two passes for 57 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive and finished with a team-high four grabs for 87 yards. For the season, Bell is averaging 16.7 yards per reception.


S John Torchio

A year after coming up just short of the goal line after picking off Aidan O’Connell at Purdue, the senior finished off his interception of the quarterback on Saturday by taking it all the way back to give UW a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. He wasn’t done, though, jumping another O’Connell pass later in the game for his second interception. Torchio didn’t take that one all the way back, but he set the offense up in position for a short touchdown drive. Torchio ended up with a team-high 10 tackles.

“Feels great,” Torchio said of big plays. “I played like shit last week, so it feels great.”

LB Jordan Turner

Turner and the defense got robbed of a remarkable goal line stand by the officials late, but he deserves mention anyway. On third down, the sophomore stuffed wide receiver Mershawn Rice at the 1-yard line with help from cornerback Alexander Smith. Then, on fourth down, it was Turner that grabbed Devin Mockobee before he had a chance to reach the ball across for a score. Despite the touchdown being upheld, Turner would get some redemption later with an interception off a tipped pass. He ended up with six tackles on the day.

In Case You Missed It

— Wisconsin’s honorary captains for the game were offensive linemen Rob Havenstein and David Edwards. The duo was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and earned Super Bowl rings last season.

— A ton of former Badgers were back for Homecoming and that included running back James White. A three-time Big Ten champion, White won three Super Bowls with New England before retiring earlier this year.

— Wisconsin linebacker Nick Herbig was dressed for the game but did not play. The captain has been dealing with a variety of injuries, though UW did not specify which injury was keeping him out. Herbig was limited throughout the week, but his replacement, redshirt freshman Darryl Peterson, didn’t know he was going to start until Friday. It was the first game Herbig missed in his career.

— Wisconsin lost running back Braelon Allen in the third quarter with an arm injury. Before he went out, the sophomore had run for 105 yards and a touchdown. He returned in the fourth and finished with 113 yards, along with 39 yards receiving. It was Allen’s fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season.

— With senior Keeanu Benton nursing a leg injury and not playing late in the game, the Badgers used true freshman nose tackle Curt Neal. It was the first snaps for him in his career.

— Redshirt freshman Riley Mahlman returned to the field for the first time since a knee injury in the season opener. Wisconsin’s opening day starter at right tackle, Mahlman served as the extra tight end in the team’s jumbo package.

— Linebacker Jake Chaney, fullback Jackson Acker and cornerback Cedrick Dort returned after missing last week with head injuries and all played significant snaps in the win.

Inside the Numbers

54 – That was the length of Isaac Guerendo’s third-quarter touchdown run. It was the breakaway run the senior had been looking for this year. He ended up with 72 yards on seven carries in relief of Allen.

16 – That is how many straight games Wisconsin has beaten Purdue. It’s the Badgers longest winning streak over any team in school history. The Boilermakers haven’t beaten Wisconsin since 2003.

17 — That is how many touchdowns Mertz has thrown this year. He’s on pace to throw 27 touchdowns, which would be the second most in school history.

14 – That is how many interceptions Wisconsin has this season after three more against Purdue. The Badgers now have 28 interceptions in their last 15 games, the most by any Power 5 team in the country.

7 – That is how many interceptions Aidan O’Connell has thrown in three games against Wisconsin. In his other 25 games at Purdue, the senior has thrown a total of 18 interceptions.

4 – That his how many punts Andy Vujnovich dropped inside the 20-yard line. It included putting one out of bounds at the 1-yard line.

What’s Next

Wisconsin (4-4, 2-3) will get some time off with a much-needed bye week. They will return the following week by hosting Maryland.