WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Sports Network) - Montee Ball ran for a career-high 127 yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns, leading seventh-ranked Wisconsin to a 34-13 victory over Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Scott Tolzien completed 13-of-19 passes for 130 yards with a touchdown for the Badgers (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten), who were off last week after consecutive wins over conference contenders Ohio State and Iowa. Wisconsin has won four straight since opening the Big Ten schedule with a 34-24 loss at Michigan State.
Sean Robinson threw for 141 yards with a touchdown in his first start, but the true freshman was picked off three times for Purdue (4-5, 2-3), which has lost three straight. The Boilermakers held a halftime lead before being outscored 28-3 in the final 30 minutes.
Purdue carried a 10-6 edge to the intermission and had the ball to start the second half, but Robinson was picked off by Culmer St. Jean on the third play from scrimmage to give the Badgers great field position at the Boilermaker 18.
Wisconsin soon after faced 4th-and-1 at the nine, but John Clay picked up the first down and Tolzien followed with a seven-yard scoring toss to Jared Abbrederis to put the Badgers ahead for the first time.
The Badgers appeared to score on their next possession, as Ball raced 42 yards up the left sideline to the end zone, but a holding penalty negated the touchdown and Wisconsin was soon after forced to punt. Wisconsin got the ball back after a Purdue punt and needed just two plays to score. Tolzien hit Nick Toon with a 20-yard pass before Ball again got free along the left sideline and scored on a 31-yard run for a 20-10 advantage with 6:20 left in the third.
Purdue answered with a 35-yard field goal from Carson Wiggs early in the fourth to pull within seven, then got the ball back after a Wisconsin punt.
Robinson, though, was intercepted by Mike Taylor and his 26-yard return set up Ball's 15-yard touchdown run two plays later to increase Wisconsin's lead to 27-13 with 8:54 remaining.
The Badgers blew it open just 23 seconds later when Antonio Fenelus picked off a tipped pass and returned the interception 36 yards for a touchdown to account for the final margin.
Despite the lopsided score, the Boilermakers and Badgers each produced 303 yards of offense. Purdue's four turnovers were the difference.
"We played really hard today," said Purdue head coach Danny Hope. "It's tough to win when you commit four turnovers. It was the deciding point of the game, obviously. I'm really pleased with the way our guys showed up, rolled up their sleeves and got after it today."
Wisconsin's first possession ended in a turnover, as Albert Evans stopped a Badger drive at the Purdue 21-yard line with an interception of Tolzien. The Badgers got the ball back after a punt and drove to the Purdue 23 before Philip Welch missed a 40-yard field goal try.
Purdue answered with a 77-yard march for the game's first points, as Robinson capped a 12-play set with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Antavian Edison. The Boilermakers threatened again early in the second quarter with a first down at the Wisconsin 31, but Edison was stripped after a reception to give it back to the Badgers.
This time Wisconsin took advantage and Welch drilled a 44-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game with just over eight minutes left in the half, but Purdue took more than seven minutes off the clock on its ensuing possession and extended the lead back to seven on a 37-yard field goal by Wiggs.
Wisconsin had just under a minute left after the kickoff and drove far enough for a 38-yard field goal from Welch to make it 10-6 at the break.