WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Wisconsin wasn't sure how good its
defense was. The Badgers found out against Purdue.
Wisconsin's defense dominated in a 24-3 win over the
Boilermakers on Saturday. The Badgers, who entered the game with
the nation's sixth-ranked defense, held the nation's fourth-ranked
offense to 286 yards, 185 below its average. It was the first time
since a 31-3 loss to Michigan on Oct. 25, 2003, that Purdue failed
to score at least 10 points.
Last week, P.J. Hill joined Jamario Thomas, Marshall Faulk, Adrian Peterson and Emmitt Smith on the list of freshman running backs in NCAA history to rush for over 1,000 yards in their first seven starts. On Saturday, Hill's astounding freshman campaign rolled on, as he scored two touchdowns while gaining 159 yards on 29 carries. Here are Hill's Heisman-worthy stats through his first eight college games.
"It's great," Wisconsin cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu said.
"Especially with the high-powered offense they had, to hold them
to three points. We really didn't expect to play this well, and
they gave us some things and we took some things ourselves."
Purdue's Curtis Painter completed 20 of 40 passes for 187 yards.
He entered the game ranked second in the nation in yards passing,
but never found a rhythm against Wisconsin.
"They've got great athletes over there, and they're always a
fast, hard-hitting defense," Painter said. "They're a great
defense and they played very well today, but I would say 90 percent
of the time, it was us hurting ourselves."
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema was concerned about slowing
Painter, who entered the game with 2,218 yards passing.
"Painter's a very good quarterback," Bielema said. "He knows
where to deliver the football. The best part I saw of our defense
today was we were able to keep our base package. We were able to
create some confusion and some errant throws."
P.J. Hill ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries.
The 5-foot-11, 242-pound freshman also had a 46-yard run that set
up Wisconsin's final touchdown, an 8-yard run by Lance Smith with
"He's a good player, he's a strong player, he's a physical
player," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said of Hill. "He's the type of
player we've had problems with in the past."
Purdue (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) entered the game with the nation's
111th-ranked defense, but that wasn't the problem Saturday. Defense
kept the Boilermakers in the game, but Wisconsin had the ball for
35 minutes, and eventually, Purdue wore down.
Purdue also lost wide receiver Andre Chattams for the season
with a ruptured patella tendon.
John Stocco completed 13 of 21 passes for 201 yards for the
Badgers (7-1, 4-1).
The Boilermakers drove 60 yards on the opening possession of the
second half, but Chris Summers missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt,
and Wisconsin maintained its 10-3 lead.
Wisconsin came back with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that Hill
capped with a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Badgers a 17-3 lead.
Hill's 1-yard touchdown run with 8:13 left in the second quarter
gave the Badgers a 7-3 lead.
Purdue defensive tackle Ryan Baker intercepted Stocco and gave
the Boilermakers the ball at the 50. Purdue drove to the Wisconsin
23, but rather than attempting to kick a field goal into a stiff
wind, the Boilermakers went for it on fourth down. Painter's pass
to Greg Orton was incomplete, and the Badgers took over. Wisconsin
capitalized when Taylor Mehlhaff kicked a 51-yard field goal that
gave the Badgers a 10-3 lead with 1:15 left in the first half.
After holding Purdue to a three-and-out, Wisconsin had a chance
to increase its lead. The Badgers reached the Purdue 18 with 11
seconds left in the half when Stocco fumbled while trying to spike
the ball to stop the clock. Wisconsin had no timeouts, so the clock
Purdue opened the scoring when Summers kicked a 47-yard field
goal with 5:16 left in the first quarter.
Wisconsin held Purdue to 106 yards in the first half.
Bielema was proud of his defense, which has held seven of
Wisconsin's eight opponents to 17 points or less.
"I believe that they feel they can take the field with anybody
and play," he said. "They continue to take steps forward."