Wisconsin's Big Ten title defense got off to running start Saturday, as the Badgers' three star-studded tailbacks rushed for 388 yards in a 41-10 beating of Purdue at Camp Randall Stadium.
Sophomore tailback Melvin Gordon rushed for 147 yards (his fourth straight 100-yard game to start the season) and touchdowns of 5, 27 and 15 yards while senior tailback James White rushed for 145 yards and a 70-yard touchdown, as the Badgers rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns in the first half against a Purdue defense that entered the game giving up only 117 yards on the ground.
After getting torched in the passing game by junior quarterback Taylor Kelly a week ago, Wisconsin's defense had much better success against Purdue senior Rob Henry, who threw for 135 yards and was constantly under pressure from Wisconsin's front seven.
Purdue (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten) got a 22-yard touchdown run from Henry early in the second quarter and a field goal minutes later – the first points UW has allowed at home this season – but then saw Wisconsin score 27 unanswered points to blow the game wide open.
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8 plays, 95 yards, 3:42 TOP, 4:25 left
Melvin Gordon 5-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: Wisconsin's offense got its yards in chunks on its first scoring drive with four consecutive big-hit plays: a 23-yard Gordon run, Jared Abbrederis catching passes of 22 and 12 yards and a 16-yard Abbrederis run.
3 plays, 79 yards, 1:28 TOP, :43 left
James White 70-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: A little stutter step went a long way for James White, shaking safety Anthony Brown with a little juke at the line of scrimmage and the hesitation step froze safety Taylor Richards, allowing White to go off to the races.
9 plays, 55 yards, 3:37 TOP, 11:59 left
Rob Henry 22-yard run (Paul Griggs kick)
Key Play: A broken play finally breaks the Badgers shutout streak at home after nine quarters. Miscommunication caused Henry to not hand the ball off to the receiver on the end around or the tailback, so he simply scrambled untouched through a gap on the left side of the line.
4 plays, 2 yards, 1:10 TOP, 9:44 left
FG Paul Griggs 24
Key Play: On a pass attempt to Brian Wozniak in the flat, Joel Stave's pass was off target, allowing Richardo Allen to make the pick and return it 27 yards to the UW 10.
6 plays, 75 yards, 2:31 TOP, 7:13 left
Melvin Gordon 27-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: With a defensive back coming at him with a clear lane in front, Stave calmly hit Jared Abbrederis coming out of his break for a 22-yard completion down to the Purdue 25.
9 plays, 33 yards, 5:09 TOP, :18 left
FG Kyle French 32
Key Play: Tyler Marz got blown up by Purdue's Greg Latta and started to wrap up Stave, but UW's QB was able to get a 17-yard completion to Abbrederis to get the drive started.
6 plays, 68 yards, 2:47 TOP, 12:05 left
Melvin Gordon 15-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: Gordon continues to dazzle, showcasing his speed on a run outside the right tackle for his third touchdown of the game.
10 plays, 69 yards, 4:18 TOP, 3:13 left
FG Kyle French 27
Key Play: If he's not doing it via the handoff, James White is making plays after the catch. Taking a short screen pass from Stave, White broke four tackles and zigzagged 35 yards down to the Purdue 31.
5 plays, 61 yards, 1:53 TOP, 14:56 left
Corey Clement 5-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play: Clement must have been licking his chops for three quarters to get in on the action. On his first carry on the last play of the third quarter, Clement broke free down the far sideline for 39 yards, getting UW down to the 6-yard line.
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