WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - With a combination of run and pass, No.25 Wisconsin is in first place in the Big Ten West Division and still controls its fate for a fourth Big Ten championship in five years.
Junior quarterback Joel Stave threw for a season-high 219 yards and two touchdowns and Melvin Gordon finished with 249 all-purpose yards and two scores as No.25 Wisconsin relied on a big second quarter in a 34-16 victory in front of 35,068 at Ross-Ade Stadium Saturday.
Winning their fourth straight and ninth in a row against the Boilermakers, the Badgers (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) moved into a three-way tie with Minnesota and Nebraska, two teams they host in their final two home games of the season.
A slow start yielded to a big second quarter for Wisconsin, where the Badgers outgained Purdue 227-34. After passing for only 87 yards last week in a win at Rutgers, Wisconsin threw for 143 yards in the second quarter despite going into the win, as Stave completed nine straight passes at one point to lead UW on touchdown drives of 80 and 90 yards.
Gordon was responsible for one of those, a 27-yard catch that he punctuated with a leap over cornerback Leroy Clark that appeared almost effortless.
Purdue (3-7, 1-5) closed the gap in the third quarter, scoring the first 10 points of the half, but junior quarterback Tanner McEvoy’s 13-yard scramble at the end of the quarter put the Badgers up 15 and were never threatened.
Wisconsin finished with 489 total yards while Purdue was held to 230, the third straight opponent the Badgers have held under 250 yards.
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14 plays, 58 yards, 6:42 TOP, 8:18 left
FG Paul Griggs 40
Key Play: No whistle blew on what appeared to be an incomplete forward pass, so tailback Akeem Hunt kept running for 16 yards until UW finally tackled him at the 49. The play was reviewed and the decision was upheld.
6 plays, 37 yards, 2:06 TOP, 2:35 left
Melvin Gordon 14-yard run (Rafael Gaglianone kick)
Key Play: On third-and-6, Joel Stave's pass over the middle was snagged by Sam Arneson for a key first down at the Purdue 14..
6 plays, 23 yards, 2:39 TOP, 14:56 left
FG Paul Griggs 53
Key Play: The windy conditions held up Austin Appleby's pass, but Sojourn Shelton lost track of receiver Trae Hart, allowing Purdue's freshman to make a falling-down catch at the UW 39-yard line.
5 plays, 52 yards, 2:40 TOP, 12:16 left
FG Rafael Gaglianone 24
Key Play: Gordon got loose for a 47-yard gain down the sideline to the Purdue 11, but he couldn't find a gap on third-and-2 from the 3, leading to a 3-yard loss.
10 plays, 90 yards, 5:24 TOP, 5:13 left
Melvin Gordon 27-yard pass from Joel Stave (Gaglianone kick)
Key Play: A Heisman moment? A wide-open Gordon caught the ball down the sideline and made an effortless leap over a diving defender, landing on his feet in the end zone.
10 plays, 80 yards, 2:29 TOP, :32 left
Alex Erickson 9-yard pass from Joel Stave (Gaglianone kick)
Key Play: Stave completed all seven of his attempts on the drive, including his beautiful fade pass to Erickson, who made a leaping grab in the end zone.
4 plays, 0 yards, :21 TOP, 13:53 left
FG Paul Griggs 52
Key Play: Melvin Gordon's extra effort backfired on him, as the junior was stripped of the football after running into a wall of Boilermakers.
3 plays, 84 yards, 1:30 TOP, 9:35 left
Akeem Hunt 79-yard pass from Austin Appleby (Griggs kick)
Key Play: Derek Landisch was matched up against one of the fastest players on a wheel route. It was no contest, as Hunt got steps on the senior and went untouched into the end zone.
4 plays, 58 yards, 1:27 TOP, 1:05 left
Tanner McEvoy 13-yard run (Gaglianone kick)
Key Play: After the last drive ended with a Stave interception inside the 30, Wisconsin kept it on the ground, as all four plays gained at least 10 yards and McEvoy scampered into the end zone on the draw.
13 plays, 45 yards, 7:12 TOP, 7:05 left
FG Gaglianone 31
Key Play: Content with running clock, Wisconsin did its part by converting its first three third-and-short attempts to get the ball down into field goal range.
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