Gordon, White trample Purdue in 41-10 win
MADISON—Melvin Gordon keeps trampling over opponents for Wisconsin.
Gordon ran for three touchdowns, James White added 145 yards rushing and a 70-yard score and the 24th-ranked Badgers opened Big Ten play with a 41-10 win Saturday over Purdue.
Gordon scored from 5 and 27 yards in the first half before capping the opening drive of the second half with a 15-yard touchdown run to give Wisconsin (3-1, 1-0) a 31-10 lead.
Nose guard Warren Herring had a sack and three tackles, and linebacker Chris Borland had six stops and a pass breakup at the goal line with the game still close in the first half.
Wisconsin moved on nicely from last week’s stunning 32-30 loss to Arizona State, after officials mishandled the final seconds to deprive the Badgers of a game-winning field-goal try.
No last-minute worries this week.
Quarterback Rob Henry’s 22-yard scramble for a score on what appeared to be a busted play provided one of the few highlights for the Boilermakers (1-3, 0-1).
Ricardo Allen intercepted an errant throw by Joel Stave and returned it to the Wisconsin 10 to put Purdue in good shape on its next drive.
But two running plays stalled, and Borland broke up the third-down pass to hold Purdue to a 24-yard field goal by Paul Griggs. That made it 14-10 early in the second half.
Still, maybe, just maybe, the Boilermakers were going to build on their near-upset last week of Notre Dame before losing 31-24.
One big problem: Purdue couldn’t stop the run.
It is an age-old problem in the Big Ten. The Badgers still love to run, even with first-year coach Gary Andersen now calling the shots. Opponents know it is coming. Statistically, Purdue seemed to be in decent shape coming into the game after holding its last two opponents to less than 100 yards rushing.
Instead, Gordon and White made the poor-tackling Boilermakers look silly.
Gordon had 16 carries for 147 yards, his fourth-straight 100-yard game. White, the FBS’ active career leading in yards rushing, also got 16 carries.
His 70-yard TD run on third down with 43 seconds left in the first quarter epitomized Purdue’s frustrating afternoon. White took the handoff to his right, made one cut to deke Anthony Brown before making another cut inside that froze safety Taylor Richards for an unhindered path to the end zone and a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Gordon’s 27-yard scoring run sapped Purdue momentum after Griggs’ field goal to put Wisconsin back up by 11.
Gordon followed with his 15-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, carrying a lunging Allen into the end zone with him to give Wisconsin a three-touchdown lead.
Allen later left the game with what appeared to be a right leg injury. Wisconsin was also battered with injuries, losing tight end Jacob Pedersen (left leg) and center Dallas Lewallen (right leg). Cornerback Peniel Jean and linebacker Brendan Kelly also left with leg injuries.
Wisconsin was also without receiver Kenzel Doe (hamstring).
Henry finished 18-for-36 with 135 yards and an interception. He netted zero yards on seven carries.
Overall, Purdue’s running game was nonexistent again, with starter Akeem Hunt gaining just 31 yards on nine carries. Herring’s solid play early set the tone for Wisconsin’s active defensive front.