Sunday, December 5, 2021

Jim Polzin: Self-proclaimed ‘best pair in the country’ Badgers is reviving the running game

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Chase Melucci was cut by Wisconsin Purdue cornerback Dedrick McKay while running back during Saturday’s game in West Lafayette, Ind. (Michael Conroy, Associated Press)


West Lafayette, Ind. The University of Wisconsin football team won a game attempting only eight passes and was very proud of it afterwards.

“It’s our bread and butter,” said tailback Chez Melucci, “and I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

University of Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz, tailback Brelon Allen and cornerback Cesar Williams spoke to the media on Saturday as the Badgers defeated the 25th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers 30-13 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana.



That line was heard repeatedly outside the visiting locker room at Ross-Ade Stadium after the Badgers’ 30-13 win over Purdue on Saturday afternoon, perhaps because it was used so heavily during and after the game. It had become a chorus of sorts.

“Once we knew we were hitting that stuff,” tight end Jake Ferguson said after reaching 290 yards on UW’s 51 attempts, “don’t fix what ain’t broke.”

Analysis: How the Badgers' 'really good planning' led to Purdue WR David Bell's worst game in nearly two years

The thing is, it wasn’t that long ago that this ongoing game was broken. It was a shell of its former self as the Badgers stumbled 1-3 earlier this season, looking nothing like the teams of the UW old that wore down opponents by mere bullying.

It’s too early to say that it’s fully recovered, but the Badgers rushed for 391 yards in Illinois two weeks ago and were closing in on 300 against the Boilermakers, until quarterback Graham Mertz took three knees and ended the game. did not, which generated a combined minus-7 yards. .

“We are starting to get back to our brand of football,” said freshman tailback Brelon Allen after UW ended an eight-game losing streak to ranked opponents. “Wisconsin is known for hitting the ball over and over and just imposing our will on defense. It’s really good for us to go back to that.”

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