In their afternoon game against Purdue, Wisconsin claimed a close victory after a messy game filled with turnovers, penalties and over 200 yards for Jonathan Taylor. Here are our takeaways from the game:
Defense makes up for offense and special teams mistakes. After Alex Hornibrook threw a 47-yard interception early in the second quarter the Boilermakers were left in good field position. The Badgers defense stood tall, with nearly two turnovers (interception by Nick Nelson and D’Cota Dixon with a fumble recovery ruled incomplete), and forced a three and out, resulting in zero points for the Boilermakers.
The Badgers’ defense continued dominating after an Anthony Lotti punt was blocked and nearly returned for a touchdown by Race Johnson before he was injured on the play. Wisconsin’s defense recovered from the mistake with Alec James and Garret Dooley each getting sacks, ultimately resulting in a missed field goal.
Wisconsin turned the ball over three times against Purdue, but thanks to the stout defense, Purdue only gained three points off of turnovers.
In addition to the few points given up over turnovers, the defense gave up less than 100 yards in the first half and 221 yards of total offense on the day.
The Badgers defense was excellent on third down and the red zone. Wisconsin allowed Purdue to convert on third down only three times out of 11. Purdue tried to convert in a number of different ways, but no matter what they did, Wisconsin sniffed it out. Before today’s game, the Badgers were allowing opponents to convert on just 30.12 percent of third downs. Today, they allowed Purdue to complete a mere 27 percent of their third downs.
The Badgers were also able to halt Purdue in the red zone. Wisconsin kept the Boilermakers out of the end zone and held them to just three field goals. Purdue was set up with good field position, but thanks to Garret Dooley, Alec James and Leon Jacobs, they were not able to earn a touchdown.
Garret Dooley and Alec James each earned a sack on a drive that ended with a missed field goal in the red zone for the Boilermakers.
And when Purdue was on the cusp of tying the game, Elijah Singular threw a pass towards Leon Jacobs, which he picked off helping the Badgers seal the victory.
Badgers were their biggest competitor. Wisconsin started off hot, just like they did last week against Nebraska, but eventually slowed down. They scored twice early in the first quarter, thanks to a 67-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Taylor and a catch by Quintez Cephus. But after the first two touchdowns, the Badgers offense nearly froze.
They were moving the ball but committed three turnovers. Alex Hornibrook threw two interceptions on the day and Taylor fumbled on his 5-yard line. The Badgers must learn to take better care of the ball in order to continue winning. Fortunately, the Badgers came out with the victory.
If it wasn’t offense committing errors, it was special teams. Anthony Lotti had a punt blocked and returned 47 yards. Once again, the Badger defense bailed out the team.
And if they weren’t turning the ball over, they were moving it in the wrong direction. Wisconsin was flagged for eight penalties for 65 yards. The Badgers were flagged for illegal motion and holding a few times throughout the game. Lead tackler TJ Edwards was flagged for targeting and ejected with seconds remaining in the first half.
It was a sloppy win for the Motion W today, and they will need to improve before Maryland comes to town next Saturday.