October 31, 2009

Badgers dominate Boilermakers in rout

MADISON - It only took one drive for the Wisconsin offense to exert its authority and will over Purdue during Saturday's 37-0 blow out win. And the Badgers wasted no time doing so.

After the Boilermakers won the toss and deferred to the second half, the Badgers decided to utilize the first drive of the game to get the running game going. By the end of the drive, UW had marched 80 yards on 11 running plays for the touchdown.

As it turned out, that 7-0 score would have been enough for a Badger win as the UW defense completely shut down the Purdue offense and recorded its first shutout since 1999.

"With what they've (Purdue) done the last few weeks, feather in their cap," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "They were able to close out the Ohio State game, something we weren't able to do, and were really starting to gain some momentum offensively. It was a nice blistery Madison weather day out there.

"I thought our guys really bought into that and went out and did what we do."

It was in fact the first complete four-quarter game this season that the Badgers were able to finish. All three phases of the game were clicking throughout which led to big plays all around.

The offense racked up 266 yards rushing and didn't commit a turnover until well after the game was out of reach for Purdue. John Clay led the attack with 123 yards rushing and three touchdowns for the Badgers.

The second leading rusher, surprisingly, was Lance Kendricks who repeatedly burned the Purdue defense on UW's staple end around play and ran for 91 yards on four carries.

"I know during the course of the week I had discussions with Paul Chryst and Bob Bostad and said, 'hey, I don't see them being able to match up with us in the run game,' Bielema said. "That was a point of emphasis during the week in preparation."

The defense forced a Joey Elliott interception that led to one of [/db]John Clay[/db]'s touchdown runs as well as two fumbles that were eventually recovered by Chris Borland. In addition to the turnovers, the Boilers were only able to accumulate 141 yards of total offense.

"It's always good to play well," Bielema said. "Winning is good for the soul. It cures a lot of ailments. We just have to continue."

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the special teams was able to score a touchdown after David Gilbert leapt over the punt shield and blocked the kick. Aaron Henry picked up the loose ball and sprinted to the end zone to give UW a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

"David looked at me right before that play and said, 'Coach, can I jump this one,' Bielema said. "I said, 'Absolutely, knock yourself out.' He did it. We knew that ball was real close to that shield which you always get concerned with. Unbelievable play."

In the end, Wisconsin offered too much physicality thus Purdue was unable to match strength with the Badgers. Though the Boilermakers came in with a two-game winning streak and UW came in with a two-game losing streak, Saturday's game was never a contest in front of the 79,920 people in attendance.

"We thought we'd be able to come out and handle their power game some," Purdue head coach Danny Hope said after the loss. "We thought we'd be able to hold up to them. We came into today with a game plan to establish some runs, pitch and catch the football. We did a poor job defending their in-and-around game, their reverse game that they had.

"Those things impacted the result of the game and ended in a lop-sided loss."

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