Purdue-Wisconsin Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 17, 2013
Wisconsin is trying to move past an excruciating and bizarre loss, and focus on its Big Ten opener against Purdue on Saturday. The No. 24 Badgers (2-1) lost 32-30 to Arizona State when officials erred in allowing the clock to expire after quarterback Joel Stave awkwardly kneeled down and planted the ball on the field, denying Wisconsin 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 (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,'' Andersen said. "But, it's accountability and at the end of the day, that's what we asked for.'' Wisconsin probably couldn't ask for a more ideal opponent to kick off its Big Ten slate. The Badgers haven't lost to Purdue since October 2003, winning the past seven meetings - the last five by an average of 29.6 points. Wisconsin is second in the nation with 1,011 rushing yards through three games, and that's how it was able to steamroll the Boilermakers (1-2) in West Lafayette a year ago. The Badgers ran for 467 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-14 victory. Purdue is off to a rough start in Darrell Hazell's first season on the sidelines largely because it can't run. The Boilermakers are 113th in the nation in rushing yards per game with 79.0, and were held to 38 on 21 carries against Notre Dame last Saturday. Still, Purdue led the then-No. 21 Irish 17-10 heading into the fourth quarter before allowing three straight touchdowns in a 31-24 loss. Rob Henry threw three touchdown passes after throwing none in the first two weeks, though his lone interception was returned for a TD early in the fourth. "I thought we played more consistent on offense,'' Hazell said. "I thought Rob played a great game, other than the one throw. I though Rob played a great game in terms of creating plays, which we thought he could do all along.'' As long as the Badgers haven't had a game come down to the wire, they've been in good shape in recent years. Wisconsin's last 11 losses dating 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 do have plenty of room to improve defensively. After dominating Massachusetts and FCS school Tennessee Tech in a pair of shutouts, Wisconsin was 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.'' Now it's back to Madison, where Wisconsin has won four consecutive Big Ten home openers and nine of its last 10. "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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