Final: Wisconsin 62, Purdue 17
November, 5, 2011
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com
All Wisconsin needed to right the ship was some good old-fashioned home cooking.
The Badgers just about never lose at Camp Randall Stadium these days, and most opponents end up leaving bludgeoned. Purdue found that out the hard way in a 62-17 loss. Wisconsin led by 21 points at halftime and ended any drama with two quick third-quarter touchdowns.
This offense is breathtaking and intimidating when it finds in a groove like today, especially at home. Montee Ball was the star with 224 yards and three touchdowns. That gives him 24 on the season, and he needs just three more to break the Big Ten single-season record. He could very easily do it next week against Minnesota. Heck, he could have done it today, but Bret Bielema lifted Ball after his last score with 12:01 left in the third quarter. Fellow tailback James White benefited by scoring two touchdowns of his own.
Wisconsin punished a Purdue defense that played quite well in its first three Big Ten games. But the Boilers have now given up 98 points in their last two contests. They're 4-5 now and still needing two more wins to get that elusive postseason berth. Realistically, though, they never expected to count this game as one of those six necessary six wins. Purdue will have to get it done at home against Ohio State and/or Iowa, with Indiana as the finale. Clearly, Danny Hope has to shore up what's wrong with the defense.
Hope also won't see an offense quite like Wisconsin's again, especially not the Madison version. The Badgers probably needed an easy win like this to put the bad taste of their last two crushing losses out of their mouths. I still like their chances of winning out given the rest of the schedule -- at Minnesota, at Illinois and home against Penn State. But they have put themselves in the position of needing some help from Penn State and Ohio State.
But the Badgers are feeling good tonight, as they usually do at home.