No. 12 Badgers beat Purdue, set up winner-take-all game for Big Ten West title

No. 12 Wisconsin held off Purdue, 45-24, at Camp Randall on Saturday afternoon, now setting up the most important Battle of the Axe in recent memory.

Minnesota (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) thumped Northwestern earlier Saturday in Evanston, and Wisconsin (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) has a chance to earn a rematch against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis next month with a win next Saturday in Minneapolis.

The Badgers got going early and often Saturday, with Aron Cruickshank (27 yards) and Jonathan Taylor (51) running for long touchdowns in the first half. Recovering two Wisconsin fumbles, Purdue found a way to stick around before Badgers kicker Zach Hintze ended the first half with a 62-yard field goal — and a 24-17 Wisconsin advantage.

Garrett Groshek added Wisconsin’s third score on the ground in the game midway through the third quarter, finishing a 95-yard drive — the Badgers’ longest in 2019.

From there the defense took care of business, shutting down the Boilermakers’ third-string quarterback Aidan O’Connell and the offense.

The Battle of the Axe is set to kick off at 2:30 p.m. CT next Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.

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