banner

College Football

more stats

(16) Wisconsin (8-2) at Minnesota (8-2)



Saturday, November 23, 3:30 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: Paul Bunyan's Axe is up for grabs one more time, as the 16th- ranked Wisconsin Badgers come calling on the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The two long-time Big Ten border rivals are meeting for the 123rd time, with the Gophers laying claim to a slim 58-56-8 series advantage. The Badgers, however, have won the last nine matchups.

Wisconsin is the two-time defending Big Ten Conference champions, but it will need to win out and get some help to reach its third consecutive title tilt as it trails undefeated Ohio State in the Leaders Division by a game with only two to play. The Buckeyes own the tie-breaker thanks to a 31-24 win over Wisconsin back in late September.

UW is in the midst of a five-game win streak, with its latest victory being a 51-3 rout of visiting Indiana last Saturday. The Badgers have played very well away from home late in the season the last several years, going 11-4 in November road games since the start of the 2006 campaign.

Minnesota sports an identical record to that of Wisconsin (8-2), but both of its losses have come in conference. The Golden Gophers are currently second in the Big Ten's Legends Division behind Michigan State (9-1, 6-0), which has already secured at least a share of the division crown. The two teams meet next week in East Lansing, but there won't be anything to play for other than pride and a potential better second-tier bowl game for the Gophers should they lose this game, or the Spartans win at Northwestern on Saturday.

The Badgers used a bruising rushing attack to hammer the Hoosiers into submission last weekend, churning out a massive 554 yards in what turned out to be a 48-point laugher. James White ran for a career-high 205 yards, which included a 93-yard scoring jaunt, while Melvin Gordon finished with 145 yards and a TD of his own. The team's rushing total fell just 10 yards shy of the school record, which ironically enough was set in last year's meeting with the Hoosiers. Even reserve back Corey Clement got in on the action, amassing 108 yards and two TDs on only 11 carries, while standout receiver Jared Abbrederis turned three totes into 86 yards and a pair of scores. QB Joel Stave completed only seven of his 15 passes for 122 yards, with three of them going to Jacob Pedersen for 92 yards.

The UW defense allowed just 224 total yards to the Indiana offense, which turned the ball over twice in a little more than 22 minutes of possession time. Chris Borland paced the Badgers with 10 tackles, while Sojourn Shelton recorded a pick. The UW defense was not credited with a sack, despite the Hoosiers attempting 30 passes.

You don't achieve the kind of success the Badgers have this season without performing consistently well in all phases of the game, and they enter this clash sporting the third-best scoring offense in the Big Ten (38.5 ppg) and the second-best scoring defense (14.0 ppg). They are second in both total offense (505.8 ypg) and total defense (288.3 ypg), and the effort on the ground, both their own (307.9 ypg) and defending the opposition (99.3 ypg) has been top-notch as well.

Currently, Gordon (1,306 yards, 12 TDs) and White (1,156 yards, 12 TDs) rank second and third, respectively in the league in rushing, while Stave checks in fifth with his 194.8 passing ypg. He has thrown 16 TD passes against eight interceptions, and Abbrederis ranks fourth in the conference with 54 grabs for 849 yards and six scores.

Borland paces the defense with 80 tackles, 22 more than his closest teammate, and he also leads the team with 7.0 TFL and 4.0 sacks. Shelton has four of UW's nine interceptions.

Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen is well aware of the fight his team will likely encounter this week.

"This is going to be a great challenge. You look at it, and to my calculations, there's 28 teams with eight wins in the country, and two of them are playing each other, and four of them are in the Big Ten," he continued. "It's a great opportunity for us to be able to match up against a quality opponent this late in the year, and on top of that, have it be a rivalry game, something that all Badgers are fired up about."

Minnesota was idle last weekend, giving the team additional time to game plan for this important contest.

The Gophers don't have the most dynamic offense in the Big Ten, but they hold their own in averaging 30.7 ppg. Their performance on the ground has been far more effective than that of the pass, as the team averages 218.5 ypg and has scored 23 TDs via the rush. David Cobb needs just 58 yards to become the first UM back since 2006 to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season.

The Golden Gophers rank last in the league in passing (149.4 ypg, 10 TDs). Philip Nelson has been the team's primary signal caller, and he has completed 57.2 percent of his passes for 1,128 yards, nine TDs and four interceptions. Derrick Engel has a team-high 25 receptions for 401 yards and five scores.

The Minnesota defense is permitting 23.4 ppg, with foes picking up 147.0 ypg on the ground and 233.8 ypg through the air. Despite the team's solid record, the unit has made very few big plays, logging only nine picks and 12 sacks. That said, Minnesota ranks third in the conference in turnover margin (+6).

Damien Wilson sits atop the team's tackles list with 57, while seven others have at least 35 stops. Theiren Cochran has 6.5 sacks, and is tied for the team lead in TFL (9.0) with Ra'Shede Hageman.

The importance of this game, both in terms of this season and in the rivalry, isn't lost on a guy like Nelson.

"It's the most important game because it's the next game. It's a big rivalry and we are really looking forward to it."

Minnesota is certainly going to put forth maximum effort, but the Badgers are the better team and will use another punishing ground assault to chew up yardage, control the clock and earn their ninth victory of the season.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wisconsin 35, Minnesota 23

11/20 10:42:35 ET

Other Stories

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Tonight at 11:35 on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: NC State at UNC

    Tomorrow at 12:58 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Mississippi State at Ole Miss

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at Baltimore

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: NC State at UNC

    Tomorrow at 12:30 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
Final
NCSU 60
BSU 54
Final
PIT 2
CAR 4
Final
CHA 101
GSW 106
Final
UF 64
UNC 75
 
3rd
TULSA 17
ECU 28
 
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
Final
CHA 101
GSW 106
Final
TOR 102
DAL 106
 
Final
DET 88
MIL 104
 
Final
ATL 100
NOP 91
 
Final
HOU 85
LAC 102
 
Final
OKC 105
NYK 78
 
Final
IND 98
ORL 83
 
4th
SAN 112
SAC 102
 
3rd
DEN 93
PHO 64
 
2nd
POR 33
MEM 32
 
1st
LAL 13
MIN 10
 
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
Final
KSU 27
AKR 24
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
Final
MIZZ 21
ARK 14
Final
SALABAMA 40
NAVY 42
Final
ARZ 42
ARST 35
Final
AFA 27
COLST 24
Final
UCLA 10
STAN 31
3rd
VT 10
UVA 13
 
3rd
TULSA 17
ECU 28
 
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
Final
BRO 81
PVU 71
Final
RIU 66
SCU 44
Final
NARZ 70
SOUTH 63
Final
DART 68
MAST 67
Final
WRST 59
FIU 61
Final
XAV 73
UTEP 77
Final
OSU 73
JMU 56
Final
TXSOU 71
LAM 59
 
Final
TAMCC 75
MVSU 66
 
Final
AKAN 51
MIZST 55
Final
BUCK 80
PSU 88
 
Final
PROV 72
YALE 66
Final
UGA 62
MINN 66
Final
WISC 69
OKLA 56
Final
Terriers 70
NORST 72
 
Final
PEAY 62
STEPH 83
Final
FSU 58
CSOU 47
 
Final
VALPO 66
DRAK 46
Final
CIN 69
MTST 51
Final
SDU 75
PRIN 65
Final
WASU 76
RICE 74
Final
CSFU 64
USCU 79
Final
GT 61
RIDE 54
 
Final
TXPA 79
ALAST 91
Final
NCSU 60
BSU 54
Final
TCU 57
BRAD 49
 
Final
WAKE 65
DELST 72
 
Final
HART 83
EMERSON 50
 
Final
STJ 66
GONZ 73
 
Final
CLEM 62
HIGH 59
 
Final
SYR 72
HC 48
 
Final
MD 61
MON 56
Final
JVST 74
SAV 71
 
Final
MIAMI 87
SALA 75
Final
RUTG 68
VANDY 65
 
Final
PETE 66
TENST 58
 
Final
MARS 59
CLST 68
 
Final
JST 56
HOF 86
 
Final
INDST 62
MEM 72
 
Final
UF 64
UNC 75
 
Final
LATU 77
SAMF 64
 
Final
TULA 71
SELA 61
 
Final
NEB 75
TENNM 64
 
Final
MISS 75
CREI 68
 
Final
PORT 64
MURST 61
 
2nd
MARQ 57
MSU 65
 
2nd
ARK 70
UNT 60
 
2nd
NCOL 76
STET 58
 
2nd
IND 77
UNCG 68
 
2nd
SJST 53
WMICH 74
 
2nd
MNTST 89
TXARL 64
 
2nd
UVA 45
LAS 26
 
2nd
STLU 31
MSST 42
 
2nd
COLST 45
PAC 37
 
1st
UTAH 26
NDAK 20
 
1st
ILL 0
BAY 0
 
1st
UAB 3
UCLA 11
 
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
Final
ANA 1
CHI 4
Final
WAS 5
NYI 2
Final
PIT 2
CAR 4
Final
NJD 4
DET 5
 
Final
BUF 2
MON 1
 
Final
CLB 0
VAN 5
 
Final
BOS 2
WIN 1
 
Final
FLA 3
OTT 2
 
Final
STL 4
EDM 3
 
3rd
DAL 3
MIN 3