After bizarre loss, Wisconsin focuses on Purdue

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 16, 2013
No. 24 Wisconsin is trying to move past an excruciating and bizarre loss, and focus on its Big Ten opener against Purdue. The Badgers (2-1) lost 32-30 to Arizona State when officials erred in allowing the clock to expire, denying the Badgers the opportunity to attempt a possible game-winning field goal. The Pac-12 issued a statement Monday acknowledging the errors by its officiating crew, saying it has ''reprimanded and taken additional sanctions against officials'' in their handling of the final seconds. ''To us, it doesn't matter. It's probably the PC (politically correct) thing to do and something they had to do,'' said Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland. ''But, we don't care about that. We lost the game, so that's all we care about.'' ''You can't afford to dwell,'' Borland said. ''You really don't have time, our busy schedules, the practicality of things that we need to do next Saturday, make it easy to forget about what transpired, regardless of if it was something like last week or if it would have been a game-winning kick, we'd have to move on either way.'' Coach Gary Andersen said he didn't expect the result of the game to be changed. ''It doesn't change the outcome obviously and, like I said earlier, I don't expect that,'' Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said. ''But, it's accountability and at the end of the day, that's what we asked for.'' One aspect of the play that seemed to throw everyone off was quarterback Joel Stave planting the ball on the field and backing away. One Wisconsin player started to lunge toward the ball after seeing it lying on the ground and Arizona State's players converged on it as their coaches yelled from the sideline that it was a fumble. Andersen said Stave did exactly what he was taught to do. ''The idea of him putting the ball on the ground is to give the officials the opportunity to get the ball spotted quicker and cleaner,'' Andersen said. ''The officials, wherever they were, but they weren't there to turn around and get the ball. That whole process of Joel looking around behind him, walking back there, where am I going to put the ball, how am I going to put the ball, that takes time, that takes valuable seconds and moments.'' Wisconsin's last 11 losses dating back to October 2010 have been by a touchdown or less, including the 37-31 ''Hail Mary'' loss to Michigan State in 2011 on the final play of the game. The Badgers, who dominated Football Championship Subdivision opponents Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech in a pair of shutouts, were shredded for 468 yards by the Sun Devils, including 352 passing by Taylor Kelly, who completed 29 of 51 passes. ''Did we play great defense, which was in the plan to winning that game? No, we did not,'' Andersen said. "It was solid enough to keep us in the game and put us in a position to be able to do some good things.'' Wisconsin rushed for 393 yards and 387 yards in its two victories with James White, Melvin Gordon and freshman Corey Clement each topping 100 yards in both games. Against Arizona State, Gordon broke free for 193 yards on 15 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run, but White was held to 45 yards on 12 carries and Clement carried just twice for one yard as the Badgers finished with 231 yards on 32 attempts. Purdue (1-2), which has lost seven straight to Wisconsin, led Notre Dame after three quarters Saturday, but allowed 21 fourth-quarter points en route to a 31-24 setback. Under first-year coach Darrell Hazell, the Boilermakers have switched to a pro-style offense after more of a spread look last year. ''Purdue's a team that's got talent," Wisconsin defensive end Ethan Hemer said. ''They've always had talent, good skill position guys. It took them a little bit to get used to that offense. As a D-lineman, we're all a little excited to be playing something other than the spread.'' Wisconsin has won four consecutive Big Ten home openers and nine of its last 10. The Badgers have won their last four matchups with Purdue by an average of 31.8 points. ''It's going to be great to get home. I think everybody's a little edgy, everybody's a little excited,'' Andersen said. ''Coming back home, first Big Ten game, all that is there. I think our kids will bounce back will. It's part of life. It's life lessons that can be learned, you can only control what you can control.''
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