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September 21, 2013Follow @JohnVeldhuis
MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Badgers extended their winning streak over Purdue to eight games on Saturday afternoon after trouncing the Boilermakers 41-10 at Camp Randall Stadium. Running backs Melvin Gordon and James White helped the Badgers (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) run roughshod over the Boilermakers, who fell to 1-3 with the loss in Darrell Hazell's first Big Ten game.
Gordon and White combined for 348 all-purpose yards against the Boilermakers, but did most of their damage on the ground. Gordon rushed for 147 yards on 16 carries and scored three touchdowns, while White matched him run for run. White rushed for 145 net yards on 16 carries, but only found the endzone once.
Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said after the game that he hasn't had a more talented one-two punch at running back previously during his career.
"They're very talented, especially with how they fit in to the offense," Andersen said after the game. "I believe we have two NFL running backs playing for us. They're just so dynamic, with their ability to make people miss, and they really complement each other with their running styles."
All in all it was another strong performance from the Badgers on both sides of the ball, after they held a listless Purdue offense to just 10 points on 180 total yards. Purdue quarterback Rob Henry completed just 18-of-36 passes in the game for 135 yards, although he did rush for a 22-yard touchdown early on in the second quarter to get the Boilermakers on the board.
Purdue made a 24-yard field goal on their next possession after cornerback Ricardo Allen picked off Joel Stave and returned the ball to Wisconsin's 10-yard line, but the Badgers responded and Gordon capped a six-play drive with a 27-yard touchdown. The Badgers didn't look back after that- they scored on five of their next eight drives, and put Purdue away early in the third quarter after Gordon scored on a 15-yard run on Wisconsin's first drive of the second half.
It was an up and down day for Stave, who completed 12-of-19 passes in the game for 158 yards but missed a few deep completions. The sophomore quarterback said he was more upset with himself for missing Jared Abbrederis on a deep throw than he was about the interception.
Abbrederis would have almost certainly scored a touchdown on that missed throw, but Andersen said other than the team needing to pass the ball better, he's not concerned about some of Stave's misfires from the game.
"No one cares more about throwing the ball good than Joel, I can promise you," Andersen said. "He'll work on it. He is making some very nice throws at times. We're missing on a few [that] are not necessarily layups. It's not easy to just go out there and throw the ball 60 yards down the field and have it get caught."
Now with their first Big Ten game of the season in the books, the Badgers will travel to Columbus for a season-defining game against No. 4 Ohio State, who defeated Florida A&M on Saturday to move to 4-0 on the season. The Badgers and the Buckeyes have combined for several exciting games over the last few seasons, and the Badgers are looking for revenge after the Buckeyes came in to Camp Randall and beat them 21-14 in overtime, despite a last-minute touchdown drive led by Curt Phillips.
"They're the cream of the crop in our conference," linebacker Chris Borland said. "They went undefeated last year so they have a target on their back, and we're excited to go in to Columbus and see what we can do."
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