Madison, WI – The Purdue Football team forced three turnovers, blocked a punt, and held the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers scoreless in the second half. It wasn’t enough however as the Boilermaker offense couldn’t get out of it’s own way and Elijah Sindelar, who played all but one series, threw a back-breaking interception inside the red zone.
The game started off very badly for Purdue as on the third play of the game freshman sensation Johnathan Taylor took the ball 67 yards for a Badger touchdown with only two and a half minutes off the board. Purdue would punt again and Alex Hornibrook would hit Quintez Cephus for another score. For Purdue fans everywhere it looked as though it would be a long and soggy afternoon in Madison.
Purdue would put a field goal on the board, and then Da’Wan Hunte would intercept the football. Purdue and Wisconsin would go on to trade punts and Purdue would once again miss a field goal. Wisconsin would answer with a field goal and Purdue would add one before going into halftime.
Coming out of the second half Purdue would punt away the opening possession. On Wisconsin’s first possession of the second half they drove down the field. On a third down play Hornibrook tried to hit a running back on a screen out of the backfield. Instead of a catch the ball bounced around right into the hands of Danny Ezechukwu, who would rumble 38 yards to the Wisconsin 28. Purdue would answer in a field goal.
Wisconsin would take the ball and march it all the way down the field to the four yard line. On second and goal, Taylor ran right and Lorenzo Neal forced a fumble and recovered it, creating a huge change in momentum. This was Purdue’s fourth turnover inside their own 10 yard line.
Purdue would move it down the field, but they were unable to do anything with it, forcing a punt. Fortunately for Purdue they were only down eight points, and forced a punt. Purdue took over with 10:33 left in the game. The Boilers marched all the way down to the Wisconsin seven yard line. Sindelar was flushed out of the pocket, and attempted to throw off of his back foot. It was a terrible decision as Wisconsin’s Leon Jacobs intercepted the ball, effective closing the game out.
Purdue did an incredible job on the defensive side of the ball. They gave up plenty of yards, but didn’t break when it mattered most and forced turnovers when they needed it. Sindelar played all but one series in the game. He finished 13 of 29 155 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interceptions. Brycen Hopkins lead the Boilermakers with two catches for 48 yards. Bentley led the Boilermakers with 12 tackles, with Markus Bailey adding 10 tackles and one sack. Another thing that killed the Boilermakers was penalties. The Boilers had seven penalties for 45 yards, including an inordinate amount of false start penalties.
Taylor was incredibly effective running the football for Wisconsin. The lively freshman had 219 yards on 30 carries and one touchdown. This was Taylor’s third 200 yard game this season. Purdue was able to keep Hornibrook in check a bit. Hornibrook was 13 of 18, 199 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
The Boilers are leaps and bounds ahead of where they should be at this point in year one of a rebuild. This is the second single possession loss of the season to a ranked opponent, and the Michigan game was close through a majority of it. If Purdue adds some depth and play makers to the offense this recruiting season, Purdue could pull out these type of wins next season.
The Boilers are 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in the Big Ten. Next up for the Boilermakers is a trip to New Jersey to play Rutgers. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 12:00 p.m.
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