Wisconsin running back Chez Mellusi tries to break through the Purdue defense during Saturday’s game in West Lafayette, Ind. (Michael Conroy, Associated Press)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The University of Wisconsin football team improved to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten play with a 30-13 win over No. 25 Purdue on Saturday afternoon at Ross-Ade Stadium. Here are my three quick thoughts on the game.
Skid is over
UW had lost eight consecutive games to ranked opponents dating to the 2019 season, but it finally got that monkey off its back.
This was a victory that wasn’t pretty. But the Badgers dominated this game for the most part and were impressive in the second half after letting Purdue stick around for the first 30 minutes.
That was one more than UW had in the first six games combined. The Badgers had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries entering the game.
Safety Collin Wilder had an interception and a strip for a fumble recovery in the second half against Purdue, while cornerback Caesar Williams and safety John Torchio both had an interception and outside linebacker Nick Herbig had a fumble recovery.
Meanwhile, inside linebacker Leo Chenal didn’t force any turnovers but had a monster game. Chenal finished with 5½ tackles for loss and 3½ sacks.
The play of the game came from a 17-year-old true freshman (with some big help from his blockers).
The game was tied at 13-13 midway through the third quarter and UW was backed up deep in its own territory, taking over at the 6 after a Purdue punt.
Enter Braelon Allen, who had some nice runs in the first half but also fumbled twice, losing one of them. But Allen this time took off around the right edge and raced 70 yards to give UW a first down at the Purdue 24. Chez Mellusi made a Purdue defender miss in the backfield and scooted through the defense for a 20-yard touchdown run two plays later.
UW finished with nearly 300 yards rushing, with Mellusi going for 149 on 27 carries and Allen finishing with 140 on 12 carries.
It was another sign that UW’s running game is picking up steam, even on a day the passing game offered precious little.
Photos: Wisconsin rides strong ground game to victory over Purdue in key Big Ten West battle
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