The Wisconsin Badgers' 38-17 win over the Purdue Boilermakers was quite impressive, especially since it was an away game in West Lafayette. Over 55,000 Boilermaker fans filled the stands.
Wisconsin started the game strong, showing excellence in both offense and defense during the first half. This was different from their usual slow starts earlier in the season.
The Badgers displayed a good sense of resilience after a hiccup in the third quarter when the Boilermakers tried to make a comeback and cut the lead to 10. The win came from a strong team effort, with many players making important contributions on both sides of the ball.
The Badgers came out firing on all cylinders in the opening quarter. They immediately forced the Boilermakers into a three-and-out defensive stop and followed up with three consecutive touchdowns, establishing a commanding 21-3 lead in the first half. Their offense was firing on all cylinders, showcasing an unusual but highly effective balance between the running and passing.
Defensively, the Badgers applied formidable pressure, provided solid coverage and forced errors and penalties by the Boilermakers. This defensive dominance set the tone for their strong start.
As the first half neared its end, the Boilermakers began to rally, threatening to narrow the gap. However, with five seconds to go in the half, Hudson Ward was intercepted in a one-on-one situation by Ricardo Hallman in the endzone, preserving the Badgers' nearly perfect first half.
Although the second half wasn't as perfect as the first, it did the job to keep the Badgers’ lead intact. During these thirty minutes, the Badgers struggled to get the ball in the endzone and had to rely on field goals to keep the Boilermakers out of striking distance.
However, the Boilermakers still scored two touchdowns, outscoring the Badgers 14-6. This was unexpected because the Badgers have usually been strongest during the third quarter this season.
Despite this hiccup, the Badgers rallied in the fourth quarter to secure the win. The standout moment in the final quarter was when Darian Varner recovered a crucial fumble, setting up Braelon Allen's touchdown. This play extended the Badgers’ lead by 17 points and also sealed their hard-fought victory.
Tanner Mordecai was the standout player for the Badgers in Saturday’s win.
Mordecai showed his skills in various ways during the game against the Boilermakers. He threw the ball effectively, completing 17 out of 27 passes for 174 yards. He also ran for 44 yards and scored two important touchdowns.
In a creative trick play called the “Philly Special,” Mordecai even caught a 19-yard pass. His performance played a crucial role in the Badgers' win.
Despite the triumph, a sad moment unfolded in the fourth quarter as Chez Mellusi suffered a devastating lower leg injury. It's worth noting that Mellusi faced injuries in the past, adding to the weight of this unfortunate incident. After Mellusi was injured, the entire Badgers football team gathered around him in support while he was being carted off the field.
With a week off to address any lingering issues, the Badgers look ahead to their Homecoming game against Rutgers on Oct. 7th, seeking to build upon their top position in the Big Ten West standings.