If Purdue is to take another step forward in its quest for a Big Ten West title, it’s going to have to conquer a nemesis.

Wisconsin has beaten the Boilermakers 15 consecutive times dating to 2004, most of them in overwhelmingly lopsided fashion. Purdue, a 2.5-point underdog, will try to end the streak there when it travels to Madison for Saturday’s game with the Badgers.

Most of the games during the losing streak haven’t been close. The average margin of loss is 20.4 points, with only 3 of the games even being decided by single digits. Ugly. But this might be Purdue’s best chance in a long while, considering the Boilermakers have won 4 straight and the Badgers are only 3-4, have made a head coaching change and lost at Michigan State on Saturday.

Let’s take a look back at 5 of the most memorable losses during the 15-game skid:

Wisconsin 37, Purdue 0

Oct. 31, 2009 • Camp Randall Stadium

Purdue thought it had a bit of momentum in Danny Hope’s 1st season as the head coach of the Boilermakers, having come into their matchup with Wisconsin, which had lost 2 straight, after back-to-back victories against Ohio State and Illinois. But the momentum was nuked early, as the more physical Badgers destroyed the Boilermakers at the line of scrimmage. Here’s the only statistic needed to illustrate the the Badgers’ dominance: Purdue had 141 yards of offense total; Wisconsin had 150 in the 1st quarter.

The shutout was Purdue’s 1st since a game vs. Notre Dame in 1992 and was the largest in the Big Ten since 1991, when the Boilermakers lost 42-0 to Michigan.

Purdue won only 5 games in Hope’s debut season — bizarrely, 2 of them came against Ohio State and Michigan, which the Boilermakers beat in Ann Arbor the week after the Wisconsin loss — and lost 7, with 5 coming by only 1 possession. But on Halloween day in Madison, things turned scary in a hurry for the Boilermakers.

No. 19 Wisconsin 62, Purdue 17

Nov. 5, 2011 • Camp Randall Stadium

Like a couple years earlier, Wisconsin entered its matchup with Purdue after consecutive losses, these to Michigan State and Ohio State. But the Badgers didn’t look hungover vs. Purdue, racing out to a gigantic halftime lead by scoring 38 points in the first 30 minutes. Then, they scored another touchdown only 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter and another one only a minute later. Only 34 minutes into the game, they had put a 52 spot on the scoreboard at Camp Randall.


By early in the 4th quarter, Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson and most of the Badgers’ starters had checked out of the game, leaving reserves to wrap up a 45-point victory. The Boilermakers gave up 605 yards, including a ridiculous 364 on the ground, as Montee Ball rolled up 223 yards on 11.1 per attempt.

Purdue finished with 7 victories in ’11, shockingly one of them coming a week after the Wisconsin collapse when the Boilermakers upended Ohio State in Ross-Ade Stadium.

No. 7 Wisconsin 17, Purdue 9

Oct. 14, 2017 • Camp Randall Stadium

In Jeff Brohm’s 1st season in West Lafayette, the Boilermakers played with a renewed confidence, and that was evident in a mid-October game in Madison. Purdue’s defense and special teams — the Boilermakers collected 3 turnovers and blocked a punt — kept the visitors in the game until the end.

But like in almost all the other losses in this streak, Wisconsin’s physicality and running game proved to be the difference. Jonathan Taylor ran for 219 yards on 30 carries, including a 67-yard touchdown, and when the Badgers needed to chew up clock at the end of the game, they did so. A run-heavy, 16-play, 77-yard drive ate up the final 8 minutes of clock, helping the Badgers hold on.

Purdue generated only 221 yards of offense, getting 3 field goals from Spencer Evans. The Wisconsin loss was the start of a 3-game losing streak, by a combined 11 points, but the Boilermakers recovered to win 7 games, with a bowl victory, in Brohm’s debut.

Wisconsin 47, Purdue 44 (3OT)

Nov. 17, 2018 • Ross-Ade Stadium

Taylor’s torture of the Boilermakers continued in 2018, when the Wisconsin great racked up 321 yards and scored 3 touchdowns, but the Badgers needed every single bit of the performance to get by a game Purdue squad. Led by David Blough and Rondale Moore, the Boilermakers were nearly able to match the Badgers score for score.

In fact, the Boilermakers led 27-13 early in the 4th quarter following a touchdown run by Markell Jones, then a field goal by Evans. But Wisconsin stormed back with 2 touchdowns, including the tying score with less than 3 minutes left. The teams exchanged touchdowns in the 1st 2 overtimes, before the Boilermakers had to settle for a field goal in the 3rd extra session. And that’s when Taylor struck one final time, running in from 17 yards for the game-winner.

Purdue picked up Win No. 6 a week later vs. Indiana, giving it bowl eligibility for the 2nd season in a row.

No. 10 Wisconsin 20, No. 5 Purdue 17

Oct. 16, 2004 • Ross-Ade Stadium

This is where it all began.

With 5th-ranked Purdue hosting No. 10 Wisconsin — and with ESPN’s “College GameDay” making its only appearance in West Lafayette — the Boilermakers looked as thought they were primed to continue their undefeated start to the ’04 season and beat the Badgers for the 2nd straight year. But disaster struck. Quarterback Kyle Orton, a Heisman Trophy favorite, fumbled on a roll-out with only 2:30 left, with Badger Scott Starks scooping up the ball and racing it 40 yards for the go-ahead score. Purdue still had a chance to get the game to overtime, but Ben Jones missed a 42-yarder for the tie.

It was heartbreaking, and many consider it — still — a turning point in the trajectory of the program. The loss was the start of 4 consecutive, as Purdue dealt with an injury to Orton, before the Boilermakers recovered to beat Ohio State and Indiana in the final 2 weeks and then go to a bowl game. But the reality of the season failed to meet the expectation after Purdue had started 5-0.