No. 12 Badgers lead Purdue at half, 24-17

No. 12 Badgers lead Purdue at half, 24-17

At this point everyone knows what is at stake: For next week’s game in Minneapolis to be a winner-take-all game for the Big Ten West division title, the Badgers need to take care of business against Purdue on Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall.

Minnesota (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) rebounded from its first loss of the season last week at Iowa by thumping Northwestern on the road today. Wisconsin (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten), to keep pace, needs to stave off Purdue on Saturday, but after a half of play are having trouble putting them away, only up 24-17.

The Badgers opened Saturday’s game going the length of the field in under four minutes for a touchdown, capped by Aron Cruickshank’s 27-yard run. The Badgers opened it up even more late in the first with Jonathan Taylor’s 51-yard touchdown run, finishing the half over the century mark with 112 yards on the ground.

But Purdue, onto third-string quarterback Aidan O’Connell, completed a 7-yard touchdown pass early in the second to cut the deficit to 14-10, and the Badgers fumbled it away around midfield on the next possession to set the Boilermakers up for a go-ahead score on a trick play. Wisconsin responded with Jack Coan’s first passing touchdown of the game to send the Badgers to half with a 24-17 lead.

The half ended on Collin Larsh’s 62-yard field goal.

If Wisconsin beats Purdue, the winner of next week’s Battle for the Axe wins the Big Ten West and gets a chance to knock off Ohio State next month at the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis.

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