WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue's once respected defense is in ruins.
Montee Ball ran for a career-high 247 yards and scored three touchdowns to help Wisconsin beat Purdue 38-14 on Saturday.
James White added 124 yards rushing for the Badgers (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten), who outgained Purdue 645 yards to 252. The Badgers pounded out 467 yards rushing in the rain and posted their second-highest yardage total in school history.
"We had poor play across the line of scrimmage and poor tackling," Purdue coach Danny Hope said. "We had a plan to load up the box, and it was a good plan. Wisconsin has a strong rushing attack and we have a physical defense. We didn't play well defensively. They were able to control the line of scrimmage. We didn't tackle well and they were able to rush for a ton of yards."
The disastrous performance came after the Boilermakers surrendered 41 points to Marshall and 44 to Michigan the previous two weeks.
"We've got to get back to the basics," Purdue defensive end Ryan Russell said. "We missed a lot of tackles out there and a lot of missed gap assignments. We've got to go back to day one, come downhill, get our feet set and make tackles."
Akeem Hunt ran for 85 yards and a touchdown for Purdue (3-3, 0-2).
There were plenty of empty seats at Ross-Ade Stadium, and that number grew as the rain and Wisconsin's lead increased.
Purdue used three quarterbacks, and none were effective. Starter Caleb TerBush and backups Robert Marve and Rob Henry combined to miss on 20 of their 31 throws. They combined for 124 yards and were sacked five times. It took Purdue more than 17 minutes to get a first down in the second half.
Things started off well for the Boilermakers. Hunt returned the opening kickoff 44 yards, then TerBush hit Antavian Edison for 52 yards on the first play from scrimmage. TerBush's quarterback sneak on the next play gave the Boilermakers a 7-0 lead 38 seconds into the game.
Wisconsin came back a few minutes later when Joel Stave hit Jacob Pedersen wide open for a 21-yard touchdown.
Ball scored from the 3 to give Wisconsin a 14-7 lead. A 30-yard field goal by Kyle French pushed the margin to 17-7 by halftime. The Badgers outgained Purdue 363 yards to 118 before the break, yet did not have firm control of the game.
Ball busted loose for a 67-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the second half to increase Wisconsin's lead to 24-7.
Beau Allen blocked a Purdue punt, and the Badgers took over at the Boilermakers' 22. Ball scored again, this time from 3 yards out, to make it 31-7.
White scored from 14 yards out with 8:47 to play, and Wisconsin pushed its lead to 38-7.
Hunt finally gave the few remaining Purdue fans something to cheer about. His 81-yard touchdown run with 1:39 to play trimmed Wisconsin's advantage to 38-14.
The Boilermakers have no time to sulk. They travel to Ohio State next week.
"For one, we've got to forget about this one, forget about the last two weeks," Edison said. "Our coaches are going to find a way to get it turned around, and we will get it turned around going forward."