The 14th ranked Wisconsin Badgers had a hard time shaking the Purdue Boilermakers early, but pulled away for a 45-24 win at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.
The win allows the Badgers (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) an opportunity to play border rival Minnesota (10-1, 7-1) for the Big Ten West Division title and the right to face Ohio State for the Big Ten Championship.
Saturday’s match-up at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis will be the 129th meeting in the long rivalry with Paul Bunyan’s axe on the line. The Badgers lost the axe last season in a 37-15 loss to the Gophers at Camp Randall. It ended a streak of 14-straight Badger wins in the series.
The Badgers extended their win streak to 14 games with the victory. Running back Jonathan Taylor rushed 28 times for 222 yards and a touchdown. Taylor topped 200 yards for the 12th time in his career.
As a team, the Badgers rushed for 403 yards on 55 carries.
Quarterback Jack Coan completed 15 of 19 for 203 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Senior kicker Zach Hintze, who once booted a 61-yard field goal in high school, drilled a 62-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, giving the Badgers a 24-17 lead at the break. Hintze’s long boot set a team record held by John Hall, who booted a 60-yard field goal at the Metrodome in 1995. Hintze is used primarily for kickoffs, but his strong leg gave him the opportunity to be a hero in his last ever game at Camp Randall.
Purdue got 289 passing yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Aidan O’Connell, but he threw a crucial interception to safety Eric Burrell at the Wisconsin 5-yard line early in the third quarter.
The Badgers turned around and drove 95 yards on nine carries to score a touchdown and put the Badgers up 31-17.