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September 21, 2013

Run over again; instant impressions

Purdue's 41-10 loss at Wisconsin Saturday afternoon went pretty much like all the Boilermakers' losses to the Badgers have gone lately.

Wisconsin dominated on the ground, rushing for 386 yards and five touchdowns against a Purdue defense that struggled mightily to tackle as routinely has been the case in recent years in this series.

But equally crippling for Purdue was an offense that took a step backward from last week's solid showing against Notre Dame.

The Boilermakers managed only 188 yards, their points coming off a 22-yard touchdown run by Rob Henry on a clearly broken play and a short field goal set up by a Ricardo Allen interception return to the Badger 10.

Some immediate impressions from the loss.

The story wasn't all that different than it's been in past games, where Purdue was simply overmatched physically by a Wisconsin offense that does what it does very well.

Make no mistake: the Badgers were going to get their yards, but Purdue had to prevent big plays. But the Boilermakers missed tackles in bunches, setting the table for Wisconsin to make those big plays, including a 70-yard TD by James White and a 27-yarder by Melvin Gordon.

Wisconsin ran for 214 yards and three scores and averaged 10.2 yards per carry in the first half.

Offensively Purdue was able to keep in the ballpark with Wisconsin in the first half thanks to Rob Henry's 22-yard scoring run off a broken play and the Ricardo Allen interception and return that set up Paul Griggs' short field goal.

But Purdue's erratic passing held the offense back, as Henry's throws were often behind receivers on routes set up for run-after-catch yardage.

This is not news, but Purdue's lack of big-play potential really limits it on offense.

After playing well last week against Notre Dame, you have to look really closely for positives from the Wisconsin game. The week-to-week progress it had shown stalled in Madison.

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