First Report: Wisconsin Steamrolls Purdue

Badgers shut down Purdue's potent offense and P.J. Hill finds the end zone two more times on the season as Wisconsin doesn't allow the Boilermakers to find the end zone.

WEST LAYFETTE, Ind. - Two powers collided at Ross-Ade Stadium Saturday; with gun slinging Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter going up against Wisconsin's stout secondary. The latter won that battle, and it was enough to keep the Badgers' tear through the Big Ten alive. No. 21 Wisconsin (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) came out on top 24-3 in a gritty road victory against Purdue (5-3, 2-2).

UW tailback P.J. Hill was a factor again in his redshirt freshman season, staking the Badgers to the win with two more touchdowns on the year. Hill continued his bruising ways, scoring on runs of 1 and 3 yards, each capping drives of at least 80 yards. Hill finished the afternoon with 161 yards on 29 carries, and now has scored 13 touchdowns on the ground in 2006.

Curtis Painter, who came into the game as the nation's third-leading passer with 2,218 yards, became the next victim of Bret Bielema's stingy UW pass defense. Painter failed to find any sort of rhythm during the game, completing 20 of 40 passes for a minimal 147 yards, way below his season average of over 300 a game.

On the other side of the ball, Purdue's defense –worst in the Big Ten in scoring and total yards allowed – held the blazingly hot Badger offense in check. But Hill's two scores came off of two long drives led by quarterback John Stocco, who orchestrating drives of 89, 80, and 85 yards. Stocco won his 26th game for Wisconsin as a starter, throwing for 201 yards and completing over 61 percent of his passes.

Hill sprang for a long run with six minutes remaining in the game, setting up a nine-yard touchdown run for true freshman Lance Smith.

Late in the third quarter, Zach Hampton's punt return troubles continued, as what appeared to be a dead punt at UW's 8-yard-line turned into a risky adventure for the Badgers. Hampton attempted to pick up the ball and run with it, but fumbled in a sea of Boilermakers, and UW's Ben Strickland recovered to save the Badgers from potentially giving up a free touchdown. Hampton did redeem himself early in the fourth with a 22-yard return out to Wisconsin's 45-yard-line.

The Badgers held the early advantage with a 10-3 lead at the half. Each team's passing offense was sluggish early, with the first completion for positive yardage came with 6:00 left in the first stanza. But an 18-yard completion by Painter to Jaycen Taylor followed immediately by a 21-yard throw to Greg Orton. The two long gains set up a 47-yard field goal, a career long for Boilermakers kicker Chris Summers and the only score of the first quarter.

But the Badgers stormed back, putting together a 11-play, 89-yard drive capped by a Hill goal-line plunge into the end zone, getting Wisconsin's first lead at 7-3. Stocco went 3-for-3 with 63 yards through the air on the long drive.

At the end of the first half, the Badgers lost a chance at a short last-second FG attempt when Stocco fumbled the snap in an attempt to spike the ball and stop the clock. The teams went into the locker rooms at 10-3 in favor of UW.

The Badgers' offense was kickstarted right from the first drive, as P.J. Hill rushed for two first downs on the first two plays from scrimmage, amassing 28 yards. But a sack of John Stocco, which the Badger quarterback believed warranted a face-masking call, forced Wisconsin to punt.


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