Badgers’ ground game overwhelms Boilermakers in 38-17 victory

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 9:41 PM CDT
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Tanner Mordecai ran for two scores and Braelon Allen rushed for 116 yards and two more scores Friday to lead Wisconsin to a 38-17 victory at Purdue.

The Badgers’ second straight victory extended their winning streak in this series to 17. Wisconsin (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) also has 10 straight wins at Ross-Ade Stadium since losing last in 1997. But the celebration was marred by a potentially devastating left leg injury to running back Chez Mellusi, who was carted off the field with 6:37 to go.

First-time coach Ryan Walters has now lost his first three home games with Purdue (1-3, 0-1).

Wisconsin quickly built a 14-0 lead thanks to Mordecai’s TD runs of 14 and 6 yards on the Badgers first two possessions. Allen made it 21-3 with a 14-yard run in the second quarter.

But after Wisconsin settled for a 38-yard field goal to open the second half, the Boilermakers made it interesting.

Boilermakers quarterback Hunter Card sped up the offense and Tyrone Tracy Jr. took advantage by scampering 20 yards to make it 24-10.

Allen’s 52-yard run set up another field goal and then Card found an opening as he sprinted from the harsh mark closest to Purdue’s sideline across the field for a 6-yard TD to cut the deficit to 27-17.

Wisconsin sealed it, though, with another field goal, two late turnovers, a turnover on downs and Allen’s second score in the waning minutes.


Wisconsin: Three up-and-down games and a befuddling defensive letdown Friday wasn’t how new coach Luke Fickell expected to start. But on a short week, they still seemed to take a step forward. They overpowered the Boilermakers run defense and had some intriguing wrinkles in their new offense. The loss of Mellusi hurts, but Wisconsin must eliminate penalties — and find consistency.

Purdue: The defending Big Ten West champions opened this season with so much promise under new coach Ryan Walters. But after four games, the Boilermakers have just one win. The defense struggled in Week 1, the offense turned the ball over in Week 3 and while they fought back in the second half, they came up short. Again.


Wisconsin: Mellusi left with an air cast over his left leg. He missed four games with a wrist injury last season and tore his ACL IN 2021. The injury occurred when his leg appeared to get inward while he was being tackled.

Purdue played without injured kicker Ben Freehill and tight end Garrett Miller dislocated a finger in the first quarter. Defensive tackle Cole Brevard and linebacker Kydran Jenkins also left the game briefly in the first half.


Wisconsin: Takes next week off before returning to action Oct. 7 against Rutgers.

Purdue: Concludes a three-game homestand against Walters former team, Illinois, next Saturday.

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