Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 10/13/12
Wisconsin continues to show improvement offensively, and the Badgers are slowly beginning to look like the dominant team of old. Wisconsin manhandled Purdue for a 38-14 victory on Saturday to take control of the Leaders Division.The Badgers (5-2, 2-1 in Big Ten play) now hold the head-to-head advantage against Purdue and Illinois in the Leaders, and a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game is coming into focus.Here are five things we learned from Saturday's game:1. Wisconsin's offensive line is turning the corner.If the offensive line can shoulder the blame for a rough start to the season, it deserves credit for improvement.Line success is often determined by how well the running game looks at Wisconsin, and it couldn't have looked much better all around against Purdue on Saturday. The statistics were downright jaw dropping.Wisconsin carried the ball 57 times for 467 yards and four touchdowns. That's an average of 8.2 yards per carry. The ringleader in the backfield was senior Montee Ball, who produced one of the finest games of his college career and that's saying something considering how good he was last year.Ball finished the game with 29 carries for 247 yards and three touchdowns. He made some nice moves on his own the cutback for a 67-yard touchdown run was one of them but the offensive line produced plenty of holes.James White (124 yards, one touchdown) and Melvin Gordon (80 yards) also came out with big days. It was a win for Wisconsin and a big win for the team's offensive line.Wisconsin controlled the ball for 38 minutes, 42 seconds. Purdue had the ball for just 21:18. 2. The defense continues to shine.Things couldn't have looked worse for the Badgers' defense on the opening play of Saturday's game. Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush hit receiver Antavian Edison for a 52-yard pass down to the 1-yard-line.But if you take away that play, and an 81-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run with the game out of reach, Wisconsin dominated on defense.The Purdue quarterback combination of TerBush, Robert Marve and Rob Henry didn't do much. They completed 11 of 31 passes for 124 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. The Boilermakers gained 128 yards rushing, but 81 came on one play.Wisconsin entered the day ranked No. 28 nationally in scoring defense (19.2 points per game), and that number dropped again on Saturday.3. Tight end Jacob Pedersen is returning to form.Given the tremendous year Pedersen produced in the receiving game last season, some wondered what happened to him in 2012. On Saturday, he showed he is still fully capable of achieving some big numbers.Pedersen caught four passes for a team-high 77 yards, including an early touchdown that tied the game 7-7. Receiver Jared Abbrederis, the team's leading pass catcher all season, also registered four catches.Pedersen entered the day with just 10 catches this season for 111 yards and a touchdown. Last season, he caught 30 passes for 358 yards with eight touchdowns.It's probably no coincidence that his big game came when the running game excelled. Successful runs opened up the passing game and allowed Pedersen to slip free for some nice catches.4. Kick troubles persist.A week ago, kicker Kyle French drilled a momentum-swinging 46-yard field goal against Illinois. The kick gave Wisconsin a 10-7 lead, and the Badgers did not trail the rest of the way.French has a nice leg, but he needs to develop more consistency. On Saturday, he made just 1 of 3 field goal tries. French's missed kicks, which both occurred in the first half, meant Wisconsin entered halftime leading Purdue just 17-7, even though the Badgers completely dominated play.This season, French is 5 for 8 on field goal tries, and although the misses didn't come back to haunt Wisconsin on Saturday, similar miscues could bite back in future games.5. The Leaders Division belongs to the Badgers.Wisconsin players and coaches can downplay it all they want, but Saturday's victory was significant. Essentially, it gives the Badgers a three-game edge against Purdue, which was the only serious threat to Wisconsin's divisional reign.Wisconsin is 2-1 in the Big Ten and Purdue is 0-2. Neither Illinois nor Indiana has shown it can compete in the conference, and Ohio State and Penn State are both ineligible for postseason play.It's been a bumpy ride for the Badgers through seven weeks, but the Big Ten season could not have set up much better. Barring a major collapse, Wisconsin will represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten title game for a second year in a row. Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Mark Jackson calls out Richard Jefferson for costing Warriors a series

Blue Jays GM: John Gibbons is ‘absolutely part of the solution’

Weak Canadian dollar could hurt NHL by as much as $200 million in revenue

Report: Pavel Datsyuk will join SKA of the KHL

Why Joe Mikulik should manage Braves for rest of 2016


Chelsea owns trademark to 'Jose Mourinho' name, complicating Mourinho’s move to Manchester United

Steelers' Ladarius Green sits out OTAs after ankle surgery

Dez Bryant: I’ll be ‘better than I was’ in 2014

Grizzlies offer David Fizdale their head coaching job

Steve Kerr admits Steph Curry ‘not quite where he needs to be’

Adrian Peterson says he is in the best shape of his life

Maryland's Melo Trimble returning to school

Showtime sues Pacquiao’s promoter over Mayweather fight issue

Geno Smith not answering questions about Ryan Fitzpatrick

According to college football recruits, flashy uniforms matter

Report: Marshawn Lynch has thought about return, Seahawks may not want him

Eugene Monroe calls for NFL to end marijuana ban

How disallowed goals can change the course of NHL games

John Elway: Losing both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler was ‘big surprise’

Ravens’ John Urschel earns straight A’s in four MIT classes

How Phil Kessel has thrived in Pittsburgh

Adams dealing with ‘testicular contusion’ after Green kick

Joey Votto booed by Dodgers fans for stomping paper airplane

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

How disallowed goals can change the course of NHL games

The five most disappointing MLB teams this season

QUIZ: Identify these NHL Hall of Famers by their nicknames

QUIZ: Name every winner of the Belmont Stakes since 1867

Sniping quotes highlight NHL conference finals animosity

QUIZ: Name every NBA franchise's original incarnation

The 15 biggest playoff upsets in NBA history

Cy Young Award contenders at the quarter mark of the season

QUIZ: Name the NHL franchises that have never won the Stanley Cup

How the goalies stack up in the Stanley Cup Conference Finals

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker