Needing a Rush

Against Purdue's pro-style offense, Wisconsin's pass rush registered seven quarterback hurries and four sacks. Against No.4 Ohio State's high-powered spread offense, the Badgers will need a similar effort.

MADISON - After being punished by Wisconsin's defense for 60 minutes Saturday afternoon, Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell commented that the Boilermakers need to do some "soul searching."

It was words that signified that Wisconsin's defensive front did its job.

Wisconsin kept the pressure on the Purdue offense throughout Saturday's 41-10 victory at Camp Randall Stadium, sacking quarterback Rob Henry four times, holding Purdue to only 3.2 yards per play, allowing only one play over 20 yards (on a broken play no less), recording seven quarterback hurries and three pass breakups.

After registering one sack and no hurries the week before, it was a marked improvement.

"You can tell they were prepared and they are very well coached." said Henry.

The number becomes a little more eye-popping when the Badgers played without some of their key components on defense. Starting cornerback Peniel Jean left the game early with a leg injury. Junior linebacker Derek Landisch missed his third straight game and senior linebacker Brendan Kelly aggravated a hamstring injury in warm-ups.

The latter injury came sophomore Vince Biegel his first career start, and he responded by being one of the five Wisconsin players credited with at least a half sack against the Boilermakers.

"I was happy to get the start against Purdue and go out there and play," said Biegel. "I did some great things, and I did some bad things, but all in all I felt I did well. At the end of the day you have to learn from it. I am a freshman. I felt I did some good things like rushing the passer."

The pass rush will be vital this week when No.23 Wisconsin heads on the road for the first time in conference play against No.4 Ohio State Saturday night in Columbus. Not only do the Buckeyes average 529 yards of total offense, Ohio State has totaled 1,211 yards the past two games.

For a Wisconsin defense that has minor containment issues going against a pro-style offense, the Buckeyes' spread offense, combined with their speed and No.6 rushing attack (311 per game), having people in the wrong place could make for a long night.

"We had some contain issues (against Purdue)," Biegel said. "A couple times it was an inside blitz but overall I was getting my feet wet today and we will clean it up in film."

One area that Wisconsin did clean up from its 32-30 loss at Arizona State was in the penalty department. After being whistled for six penalties for 76 yards against the Sun Devils, the Badgers were penalized once for 10 yards against the Boilermakers.

Cornerbacks Darius Hillary and Sojourn Shelton were responsible for five of those penalties, but Hillary said the group's no penalties Saturday were a result of better understanding their defensive keys.

"I definitely think reading our keys a lot better." Hilary said. "Purdue was doing a lot of motions, shifts and trades- something that our offense sees a lot. We stepped up in the film room by getting some extra film time. When it came time on the field I think we did a great job playing everything out."

Since the frustrating end of the Badgers first road game, senior linebacker Chris Borland plans on going into Ohio State with the same chip on his shoulder, much like he and a majority of his teammates did for Purdue.

"Each week is its own entity," said Borland. "If we can get momentum rolling, if we can play with a chip on our shoulder, yeah we would absolutely want to do that again. We are going to play with the idea of taking frustration out on our opponents all year."

And after surviving the heat of the desert, Wisconsin knows exactly what a hostile environment is going to be like.

"We know what to expect now," Hilary said. "That was our first road game and we got that out of the way. We got that sour taste out of our mouth. This upcoming week we are just going to go out and move forward."

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