3:30 PM ET, October 22, 2005
Camp Randall Stadium, MADISON, WI
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Just when the Wisconsin Badgers were on their heels, safety Roderick Rogers put everybody on their feet.
Rogers' 84-yard interception return for a touchdown ignited the third-largest crowd to ever fill Camp Randall Stadium and swung the momentum Wisconsin's way in the 19th-ranked Badgers' noisy 31-20 win over Purdue on Saturday.
"We always talk about being a spark and swinging the momentum of the game and that swung it," said coach Barry Alvarez, whose Badgers (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) became bowl eligible in his farewell season.
Co-captain Brett Bell said it juiced up everybody decked out in red.
"It got crowd going, it got the offensive going, it got the defense going," he said.
Cornerback Jake Ikegwuonu gave the 82,828 fans even more to cheer about with his two interceptions, including a game-sealing pickoff that he returned 62 yards for a score with 3:21 left.
In all, the Badgers' banged-up defense recorded five takeaways and had 146 return yards off their three interceptions of redshirt freshman Curtis Painter, who replaced junior starter Brandon Kirsch at quarterback for Purdue (2-5, 0-4).
"You have a difficult time winning when you have five turnovers," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. "It's a problem when they take two to the house on you."
Painter couldn't stop the Boilermakers' slide that has resulted in the first five-game losing streak in Tiller's nine seasons at Purdue. He was 23-of-44 for 212 yards and one TD -- with 3 seconds left.
Tiller wouldn't say who will be under center at Penn State next week.
"We'll figure that out next Saturday," he said.
Until midway through the third quarter, Painter did a masterful job running the Boilermakers' spread option offense. They had scored 13 straight points and were threatening again when Purdue made the mistake that kept the Badgers atop the crowded field of contenders in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin hadn't done anything on five straight offensive series and was trailing 13-10 when Painter tried to throw over Rogers to Dorien Bryant, who was second in the nation with 9.7 catches per game but was held to one reception for 18 yards.
Rogers made a leaping interception and zigzagged his way downfield, finding a clearing at midfield and trotting into the end zone untouched with two teammates as escorts to give Wisconsin a 17-13 lead.
"Rod made a great pick on the ball, made some nice cuts, took it to the house and really put momentum back in our favor," linebacker Andy Crooks said. "They were marching down the field. If they would have scored they would have gone up 10. It was a huge play. We never really lost momentum after that."
Tiller didn't think Rogers would score at first, but "when the guy intercepts the ball and he takes off on that side of the field, you've got a bunch of offensive guys chasing him. Once he reversed, those offensive linemen aren't the greatest at changing direction and chasing him down."
Tiller blamed Bryant for breaking outside when he was supposed to bend the route inside. But Painter accepted the blame nonetheless: "It wasn't his fault. I should have still made the throw."
The recharged Badgers then forced a three-and-out and the offense kept the momentum up by going 63 yards in three plays for another score.
Running back Brian Calhoun, who had five catches for 78 yards and two TDs, made it 24-13 when he took John Stocco's pass over the middle, deked safety Brandon Whittington at the 15 and outraced three defensive backs into the end zone.
Kory Sheets was about to put the Boilermakers back in the game when he reeled off a 14-yard run only to see the ball pop out of his arms and get smothered by defensive tackle Mike Newkirk on the Badgers' 6 early in the fourth quarter.
Calhoun, who had a 23-yard TD reception in the first half, gave the Boilermakers renewed hope, however, with his first fumble of the year, which linebacker Stanford Keglar recovered at the Wisconsin 36 with 3:37 remaining.
But on second down, Ikegwuonu stepped in front of his man and went 62 yards to seal it.
"It's about as frustrating as it can get," Purdue defensive tackle Brandon Villarreal said. "We held them to one offensive touchdown in the second half. You take away the two defensive touchdowns they scored and we end up winning the game."
Brandon Williams caught a 29-yard pass on the Badgers' first drive, breaking Lee Evans' school record of 175 career catches and becoming the first Wisconsin receiver to record 500 yards receiving in four seasons.
Calhoun became the eighth 1,000-yard rusher in Badgers history but he finished with just 62 yards on 20 carries.
"If you had told me before the game we'd hold him to under 100 yards, I'd have said we'd have a win," Villarreal said.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... the Badgers ran two second-half interceptions back for scores to break open a close game.
Gameball goes to... Roderick Rogers and Jake Ikegwuonu, who each took an interception to the house for the Badgers.
Stat of the game... 5: Five turnovers ended Purdue's chance to spring an upset on Wisconsin.
The Fan Pick
97.3% of College Pick'em players picked Wisconsin to win the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||11-18||8-16|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|TD||12:14||BRIAN CALHOUN 23 YD PASS FROM JOHN STOCCO (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 85 yards.
|FG||1:57||TAYLOR MEHLHAFF 29 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||12:42||CURTIS PAINTER 4 YD RUN (BEN JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||0:56||BEN JONES 24 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yards.
|FG||8:08||BEN JONES 50 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 34 yards.
|TD||4:33||RODERICK ROGERS 84 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)||13||17|
|TD||2:39||BRIAN CALHOUN 40 YD PASS FROM JOHN STOCCO (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 63 yards.
|TD||3:21||JACK IKEGWUONU 62 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)||13||31|
|TD||0:03||DUSTIN KELLER 4 YD PASS FROM CURTIS PAINTER (BEN JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 70 yards.