Early scoring flurry sends No. 6 Wisconsin past Purdue 49-20

AP Photo/Michael Conroy
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — T.J. Watt returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown, and No. 6 Wisconsin scored 35 points in the final 8½ minutes of the first half of a 49-20 victory against Purdue on Saturday.

Alec Ingold and Bradrick Shaw each scored twice during the flurry, helping the Badgers (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten, No. 7 CFP) to their fifth straight win overall and their 11th in a row in the series.

They can clinch the West Division title and earn a spot in the Dec. 3 conference championship game with a victory next weekend.

“What a play by T.J.,” Badgers coach Paul Chryst said. “To knock it down is a really good play. To get a pick is a really good play. To do both that changed (the game).”

Purdue (3-8, 1-7) closed out its home schedule with a sixth straight loss, five under interim coach Gerad Parker.

But the Badgers needed a jump-start from backup quarterback Bart Houston to get going. After entering midway through the second quarter, Houston led the Badgers on an 87-yard drive that was capped by Ingold’s 1-yard plunge for a 7-3 lead. Watt picked off David Blough on the next offensive play.

Then Shaw scored on a 7-yard run with 3:03 left in the half. After another Blough interception, Houston hooked up with a wide-open Ingold on a 19-yard TD pass and Shaw added a 33-yard TD run in the last minute of the half.

All the Boilermakers (3-8, 1-7) could muster during that stretch was a 75-yard TD pass from Blough to DeAngelo Yancey. They never seriously challenged again.

“We knew we had to win the turnover battle,” Parker said. “Early on, our defense bottled up the football. We lost some things in that turnover stretch in the second quarter.”

Corey Clement rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown for Wisconsin.

THE TAKEAWAY

Wisconsin: The Badgers didn’t get the help they needed to wrap up the West, but the win certainly keeps their playoff hopes alive.

Purdue: There’s one week to go in the Boilermakers’ dismal season. But 18 players and probably most, or all, of the coaching staff said goodbye to a scant crowd at Ross-Ade Stadium.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin: Will try to keep the Paul Bunyan Axe for a 13th consecutive year when it hosts Minnesota.

Purdue: Hopes to snap a three-game losing streak against rival Indiana. The Boilermakers haven’t lost the Old Oaken Bucket in four straight years since the 1940s.