Wisky Grinds Purdue Down, Wins 47-44
My primary concern headed into the game today had less to do with Wisconsin’s menacing rushing attack and more to do with their ability to handle the pressure of the Jeff Brohm-to-Louisville rumors. Turns out I should have paid more attention to the menacing rushing attack thing.
This team is young and inexperienced, and the roster is shallow. But talented. Yes, there is plenty of talent on this team, but as we saw in the first three games of the season, talented still needs to be tempered by experience if it is to be successful. As we here at BS have discussed often, this team appeared primed to improve from game to game, looking very different at the end of the season than at the beginning. Which is exactly what happened. Weeks 1-3 Purdue would have gotten blown out by Wisconsin today. But far from that happening, they actually controlled most of the game, up by 14 with seven minutes remaining and all the momentum in the world.
But again, young and inexperienced. Wisconsin had the benefit of rotating fresh players in with minimal drop-off in talent. Purdue, not so much. Particularly on defense, a squad that was absolutely decimated on graduation day last day. This would be a problem on any day, but it’s a particular problem with you have one of the best rushers in all of college football on the opposite side of the ball from you. What magic did Northwestern conjure to hold Jonathan Taylor to just 46 yards?
Taylor ended the day with 321 rushing yards on an equally incredible 33 rushing attempts. A quarterback who completes 33 passes for 321 passing yards has had a good day. To produce those numbers as a running back is absolutely insane.
Back when I used to watch the NFL I remember one particular game where Maurice Jones-Drew ran all over the Colts’ defense, so much so that Bob Kravitz remarked that he would have had more yards had “the end zone not kept getting in his way.” Taylor could relate, with three touchdowns, as he basically looked invincible the whole game but particularly from the fourth quarter on.
His remarkable game overshadowed another electric game from Rondale Moore, he of 114 receiving yards, 27 rushing yards and two touchdowns, include one absolute gem where he spun his defender out of his shorts.
But it wasn’t enough, not enough to close the Badgers out in regulation, not enough to overcome a porous run defense in overtime. Purdue’s front just couldn’t put Taylor to the turf, and now they go to Indiana with a final chance to notch a sixth win and a return to a bowl game.
Meanwhile, despite his assertion that Purdue is where he wants to be, the maelstrom that engulfs Jeff Brohm and the Purdue program will continue to swirl. I’m certain there will be no end, not until Louisville hires a new head coach. There’s no new information, no useful reports, no accurate sources. All we have is to hole up within our fandom and wait for the storm to pass, kept company by the question of whether or not we’ll have to rebuild when we emerge.