MADISON, Wis. – Jonathan Taylor ran for 222 yards – the 12th time he has at least 200 in his career – and a touchdown and No. 14 Wisconsin beat Purdue 45-24 on Saturday.
After the victory, the junior All-America running back walked around Camp Randall Stadium and thanked the home fans for their support.
“It was something special, especially because you don't know. You don't know if you're going to be here again,” Taylor said. “So I think that's the biggest thing is just being appreciative of that opportunity.”
Wisconsin (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten, No. 12 CFP) has won 14 in a row over the Boilermakers.
The Boilermakers (4-7, 3-5) dropped their seventh straight at Camp Randall Stadium and failed to qualify for a bowl game.
Purdue's Aidan O'Connell finished with a career-high 289 yards passing with two scores.
It took the Badgers just over 3 minutes to get on the scoreboard. Aron Cruickshank took a direct snap out of the wildcat formation and capped an eight-play, 75-yard opening drive with a 27-yard rushing touchdown.
After a 28-yard field goal by Purdue's J.D. Dellinger, Taylor scored from 51 yards out for his FBS-leading 22nd TD of the season.
“We had our hands full, but we showed some fight early on,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm. “We found a way to score some points and take the lead in the second quarter.”
Purdue shredded the Wisconsin defense on the ensuing drive for a 27-yard run by Zander Horvath and a 38-yard completion to Milton Wright. The two set up a 7-yard touchdown from O'Connell to Brycen Hopkins that cut it to 14-10 with 14:53 left in the second quarter.
After a fumble by Wisconsin's A.J. Taylor on the next drive, Hopkins put Purdue ahead 17-14 on a 37-yard completion from receiver Milton Wright on a double-pass play. Hopkins had eight catches for 127 yards.
Taylor, now with 5,856 career yards, the most by any player in FBS history through his junior season, will have to decide following the season if he'll declare for 2020 NFL draft. But in the meantime, Taylor said all he's thinking about is defeating Minnesota next week and winning the Big Ten West.
“Next week, we wouldn't want to have it any other way,” he said. “Big Ten West on the line, rivalry game, axe, I mean, this is why you come to Wisconsin, for these kind of moments. I'm pretty sure we're going to have a great week of preparation in order to bring our A game.
Jack Coan completed 15 of 19 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns against one interception for the Badgers.
Coan hit Jack Dunn for an 18-yard score to put the Badgers back on top for good, 21-17, with 4:18 remaining in the half. Coan later connected with Quintez Cephus for a 29-yard score.