Wisconsin’s defense stifles Purdue

Genaro C. Armas
Associated Press

Madison, Wis. — Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Edwards heeded his defensive coordinator’s request for more production.

More games like the one Edwards had on Saturday against Purdue and Wisconsin will have another reliable playmaker on an already-dangerous defense.

Edwards had a career-high 16 tackles and a forced fumble, Joel Stave threw for 322 yards and Alec Ingold ran for two short scores in the Badgers’ 24-7 victory on Saturday over the Boilermakers.

The Badgers (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) overcame several penalties and other mistakes in the red zone to win on homecoming weekend at Camp Randall Stadium. A near-flawless defense held Purdue (1-6, 0-3) to season-lows of 191 yards of total offense and 55 on the ground.

“This defense, the reason it’s playing well is they don’t care about the numbers. They care about playing together and being a part of a good defense,” coach Paul Chryst said.

Outside linebackers Joe Schobert and Vince Biegel draw the headlines for their pass-rushing prowess. Senior Michael Caputo provides a hard-hitting presence at safety.

Now Wisconsin is getting big plays from freshmen inside linebackers Edwards and Chris Orr, too. Coordinator Dave Aranda called on them this week to make more big plays.

“I’m glad he did. It’s that Coach Aranda love that we need,” Edwards said.

Orr and Schobert each finished with seven tackles and shared credit for a sack, helping the defense hold off Purdue until the offense could catch up.

Wisconsin led just 10-7 late in the third quarter until two rushing touchdowns in an eight-minute span between the third and fourth quarters.

Edwards then forced the Boilermakers’ Markell Jones to fumble at the Purdue 43. Safety Tanner McEvoy pounced on the ball to seal the win.

“I thought that was probably the best defense we’d faced coming into the game on film and we played some pretty good defenses in Michigan State and Virginia Tech,” Purdue coach Darrell Hazell said.

The Boilermakers’ only score came on David Blough’s 2-yard quarterback keeper in the second quarter.