The Purdue football team walked out of Camp Randall Stadium Saturday night bowl-ineligible, after losing 45-24 to the No. 12 University of Wisconsin.
The Boilermakers (4-7, 3-5 Big Ten) came off of a bye week and a narrow victory over Northwestern. The Badgers (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) were returning home after defeating Nebraska in Lincoln.
Despite their myriad injuries and young talent, the Boilers kept the game close for a half. Sophomore quarterback Aidan O'Connell threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns, and the team recovered three Badger fumbles. At halftime, Purdue was down 24-17 in a game with a spread in excess of three touchdowns.
The person who doomed the Boilers was the person who was always expected to doom them: Jonathan Taylor. The vaunted running back exploited Purdue's weakened run defense, rushing for 222 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. Taylor accounted for over half of the Badgers' 403 rushing yards and over a third of their 606 total yards.
Head coach Jeff Brohm seemed intent on emptying the playbook as well. Halfway into the second quarter, on 1st and 10 in Wisconsin territory, O'Connell took the snap and threw a right-side lateral to freshman wideout Milton Wright, who turned and threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Brycen Hopkins.
After halftime, the game got away from the Boilers. Three Wisconsin touchdowns, an O'Connell interception and two turnovers on downs sealed the game for the Badgers, who had held the lead since the end of the second quarter.
The Badgers also outpaced the Boilers in time of possession and third-down conversion. Wisconsin converted nine of its 11 third downs and held the ball for nearly 37 minutes of the game, while the Boilers went 3-10 on third down and were on offense for 23 minutes.
The Boilers will return to Ross-Ade Stadium for a noon matchup with rival Indiana.