It was a very pleasant Homecoming weekend for Jim Leonhard and the Wisconsin Badgers as they rode an early two touchdown lead to a 35-24 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers to secure their 16th consecutive win over Purdue. The last time Purdue beat Wisconsin was in 2003.
Wisconsin got off to a hot start, scoring a touchdown on the opening drive with a 29 yard pass from Graham Mertz to Skyler Bell in the endzone. The Badgers went 76 yards in just six plays. Then, on the ensuing Purdue possession, John Torchio intercepted a pass from Boilermakers QB Aidan O'Connell and ran it in 31 yards for the Pick-6 and Wisconsin was up 14-0 less than four minutes into the game.
On the next possession for Purdue they drove down the field, ended up having to settle for a field goal attempt, and missed it wide left. Wisconsin would answer right back with another touchdown drive, culminating in a Mertz 3 yard pass to Chimere Dike on 3rd and Goal to get into the endzone. Wisconsin was quickly out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.
Purdue added a field goal in the second quarter as Wisconsin struggled to do much else heading into halftime. But on Purdue's first possession of the second half, Badgers linebacker Jordan Turner intercepted O'Connell to give Wisconsin a short field. Two plays later, Braelon Allen ran untouched into the endzone to give Wisconsin a 28-3 lead.
After a muffed punt by Wisconsin, Purdue got a short field and ended up scoring their first touchdown of the game. But Wisconsin would answer right back with a 54 yard touchdown run from Isaac Guerendo to go up 35-10. Purdue would score some late touchdowns to bring the score a little closer, including one 4th and Goal play that was ruled a touchdown but looked questionable at best.
Graham Mertz finished with 13 completions on 21 attempts for 203 yards and 2 TDs. Braelon Allen had 16 rushes for 113 yards and a touchdown, and he was the first player to rush for 100 yards against this Purdue defense all season. Skyler Bell was the Badgers leading receiver with four catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.
This was a big win for Wisconsin as they look to get their season back on the rails. They continue their winning streak against Purdue and look to climb up in the Big Ten West standings. Wisconsin has a bye week next week, but they'll return to action at Camp Randall on November 5th against the Maryland Terrapins.