Game 123: #22 Wisconsin @ Purdue

Boilermaker Spirit Weekend at Purdue is saturated with activities culminating with the conference clash on Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium. The festivities were cut short this year thanks to the Badger defense that held Purdue to its lowest offensive output at home in thirteen years. The weather reached perfection and West Lafayette offers a classic Midwest venue that can please even the most sensitive of college football critics. The only missing link this weekend fell on the shoulders of the Purdue offense that couldn’t move a feather with an industrial fan much less a football.

Wisconsin runningback, P.J. Hill, snagged the MVP honors again this week for the Badgers. His 161 yards kept the Boilermakers on their heels. The 10-3 halftime lead was less tenuous than it may appear. The Badgers had control. No Boilermaker could stop this train. Wisconsin’s bravest moment was a punt fake that went awry when the wide open receiver dropped the sure first down. In all my years of following the Badgers, I have never seen a fake attempt. Naturally, it failed. But, the style points held value. The spirit of “Spirit Weekend” fizzed out in the second half as Wisconsin controlled the ball, while Purdue watched the clock run down. Hill added another touchdown to the tally and the Badgers closed down a 24-3 final. By the fourth quarter, Purdue fans were jetting for the parking lot, the Boilermaker Express motored out of the stadium, the World’s Largest Drum stopped beating, and even a Purdue band member stretched out to grab some shut eye. On a day when the train whistle signaling Purdue scores sounded only once, the Boilers suddenly were forced to get their express back on track.

Purdue hopes to be full steam ahead next week when Penn State rolls into West Lafayette. The Badgers continue their drive through the conference with a home tussle versus Illinois. Wisconsin is certainly headed to a decent bowl game at the season’s end. However, can Purdue’s last stop bring them to a bowl? Boiler fans might change “Boilermaker Spirit Day” to “Fire Coach Joe Tiller” day if the team misses post season play two years in a row.

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