MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin showed no ill effects from desert depression as the No. 24 Badgers whipped Purdue 41-10 on Saturday in the Big Ten opener.
A week after the Badgers saw the final seconds melt away in a loss at Arizona State, Wisconsin responded like they always do: They ran the football.
Melvin Gordon may have put his name in the Heisman Trophy ballot box by once again leading a rushing effort that left the Boilermakers helpless as they loaded the box to try and stop it.
Gordon wowed the crowd of 80,772 at Camp Randall with 147 yards and three touchdowns. It's the fourth straight week that Gordon has amassed at least 140 rushing yards with a score.
It seems each week brings a career high for Gordon, who had career highs for rushing attempts and touchdowns against the Boilermakers.
Early on, it appeared that Purdue was going to make the game interesting after Akeem Hunt put the Boilermakers in great field position with a 45-yard kickoff return. Seven plays later, Purdue quarterback Rob Henry ran for a 22-yard touchdown.
Then Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave had his third-and-8 pass intercepted by cornerback Ricardo Allen, who returned it 27 yards to the Wisconsin 10.
But with a tie staring Wisconsin in the face, the Badgers defense held the Boilermakers on three plays, thanks to an athletic pass breakup on third down by inside linebacker Chris Borland.
After the Boilermakers settled for the 24-yard field goal, that's all they could muster on offense. But defensively, it got a lot worse.
Gordon wasn't the only one who ran roughshod on a defense that held Notre Dame to 91 yards rushing last week. James White rolled up 145 yards on the ground, including an electrifying 70-yard touchdown run that embarrassed the Purdue defense. He slalom-skied his way to the end zone by leaving several defenders that dived and missed in his wake.
The Wisconsin defense also turned up the heat on Henry. Coming into the game, Wisconsin only registered one sack this season, but Henry was taken down four times and he was routinely flushed out of the pocket.
NOTES: Wisconsin senior nose guard Beau Allen continued the tradition that coach Gary Andersen started by running out of the tunnel to begin the game with the United States flag. That transitioned perfectly after the first quarter when Army mom Jane Renee Lund surprised 13-year-old daughter Bella with a homecoming on the Camp Randall Stadium turf, causing the stadium to roar with approval. ... The Badgers have won five straight Big Ten home openers, dating to 2009, and 10 of their last 11 dating to 2003. ... The Badgers have beaten Purdue eight straight times and four straight in Madison. ... James White moved past Brent Moss and into seventh place on the Badgers' career touchdown rushing list with 36 after his 70-yarder in the first quarter. ... Purdue's defense came into the game holding opponents to 3.31 yards per carry and the Badgers averaged a hefty 8.1.