November 06, 2010

Wisconsin 34 - 13 Purdue: Badgers take care of business (eventually)

Wisconsin turned what was a close game in the first half into a blowout.

The team looked flat on both sides of the ball coming off their bye week, especially the defense. Purdue was moving the ball easily in small chunks of yardage and Wisconsin was having a tough time stopping them, despite the fact that the Boilermakers were starting their third string, true freshman QB due to a rash of injuries. John Clay and the running game had a tough time getting going early, and the offense clearly missed the different look of James White. I was shaking my head on several plays, most notably a sweep to the left where Clay seemed to dance back and forth for about 5 seconds before being tackled behind the line of scrimmage instead of trusting his blockers. Clay is a great between-the-tackles back but it seems like we've been seeing a little too much of this hesitation from him in general this season.

Clay and Watt were both knocked out of the game for a good spell - Clay with a knee problem and Watt with some sort of shoulder injury and the team just looked lost heading into the locker room at halftime. I wouldn't have believed I was saying this a month ago, but big props to the coaching staff for making adjustments at halftime and absolutely crushing Purdue 28-3 in the second half. Wisconsin's defense stiffened and managed to pick off the Purdue QB three times, including a blowout-sealing Pick Six from Antonio Fenelus.

Game ball: Montee Ball and the offensive line for producing the best executed play I've seen all season, by any team. Midway through the third quarter, with Wisconsin clinging to a 13-10 lead, Ball rushed to the left for a 31 yard touchdown and had five or six blockers ahead of him on the way to the end zone. Wisconsin went up 20-10 but you knew the game was over at that point.

Next week UW takes on Indiana at Camp Randall, but I'll miss the game. My brother was smart enough to schedule his wedding for a weekend when UW takes on IU at home and there's no Packers game (laughing).