12:00 PM ET, October 21, 2006
Ross-Ade Stadium, WEST LAFAYETTE, IN
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Wisconsin wasn't sure how good its defense was. The Badgers found out against Purdue.
Wisconsin's defense dominated in a 24-3 win over the Boilermakers on Saturday. The Badgers, who entered the game with the nation's sixth-ranked defense, held the nation's fourth-ranked offense to 286 yards, 185 below its average. It was the first time since a 31-3 loss to Michigan on Oct. 25, 2003, that Purdue failed to score at least 10 points.
"It's great," Wisconsin cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu said. "Especially with the high-powered offense they had, to hold them to three points. We really didn't expect to play this well, and they gave us some things and we took some things ourselves."
Purdue's Curtis Painter completed 20 of 40 passes for 187 yards. He entered the game ranked second in the nation in yards passing, but never found a rhythm against Wisconsin.
"They've got great athletes over there, and they're always a fast, hard-hitting defense," Painter said. "They're a great defense and they played very well today, but I would say 90 percent of the time, it was us hurting ourselves."
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema was concerned about slowing Painter, who entered the game with 2,218 yards passing.
"Painter's a very good quarterback," Bielema said. "He knows where to deliver the football. The best part I saw of our defense today was we were able to keep our base package. We were able to create some confusion and some errant throws."
P.J. Hill ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. The 5-foot-11, 242-pound freshman also had a 46-yard run that set up Wisconsin's final touchdown, an 8-yard run by Lance Smith with 6:30 remaining.
"He's a good player, he's a strong player, he's a physical player," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said of Hill. "He's the type of player we've had problems with in the past."
Purdue (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) entered the game with the nation's 111th-ranked defense, but that wasn't the problem Saturday. Defense kept the Boilermakers in the game, but Wisconsin had the ball for 35 minutes, and eventually, Purdue wore down.
Purdue also lost wide receiver Andre Chattams for the season with a ruptured patella tendon.
John Stocco completed 13 of 21 passes for 201 yards for the Badgers (7-1, 4-1).
The Boilermakers drove 60 yards on the opening possession of the second half, but Chris Summers missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt, and Wisconsin maintained its 10-3 lead.
Wisconsin came back with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that Hill capped with a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Badgers a 17-3 lead.
Hill's 1-yard touchdown run with 8:13 left in the second quarter gave the Badgers a 7-3 lead.
Purdue defensive tackle Ryan Baker intercepted Stocco and gave the Boilermakers the ball at the 50. Purdue drove to the Wisconsin 23, but rather than attempting to kick a field goal into a stiff wind, the Boilermakers went for it on fourth down. Painter's pass to Greg Orton was incomplete, and the Badgers took over. Wisconsin capitalized when Taylor Mehlhaff kicked a 51-yard field goal that gave the Badgers a 10-3 lead with 1:15 left in the first half.
After holding Purdue to a three-and-out, Wisconsin had a chance to increase its lead. The Badgers reached the Purdue 18 with 11 seconds left in the half when Stocco fumbled while trying to spike the ball to stop the clock. Wisconsin had no timeouts, so the clock ran out.
Purdue opened the scoring when Summers kicked a 47-yard field goal with 5:16 left in the first quarter.
Wisconsin held Purdue to 106 yards in the first half.
Bielema was proud of his defense, which has held seven of Wisconsin's eight opponents to 17 points or less.
"I believe that they feel they can take the field with anybody and play," he said. "They continue to take steps forward."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... P.J. Hill scored his second touchdown of the game late in the third quarter to put the Badgers up 17-3.
Gameball goes to... Hill. The burly running back padded his stats some more with 161 yards and 2 TDs on the ground.
Stat of the game... 286. Purdue, the nation's 4th-ranked offense coming into the game, was held to 286 total yards, 185 below its average.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-14||3-14|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-3|
|FG||5:16||CHRIS SUMMERS 47 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 50 yards.
|TD||8:13||P.J. HILL JR. 1 YD RUN (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 89 yards.
|FG||1:15||TAYLOR MEHLHAFF 51 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 42 yards.
|TD||4:38||P.J. HILL JR. 3 YD RUN (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||5:11||LANCE SMITH 8 YD RUN (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 85 yards.