The Wisconsin Badgers are one of the Big Ten's best teams. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are. . .well, not. The two teams met at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the annual battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe, and the result was pretty much what you would have expected, with the Badgers coming out with a convincing 42-13 victory over the Golden Gophers.
The story of the day was the Wisconsin offense, who was only stopped a couple of times by the Minnesota defense. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw only 17 passes on the afternoon, and only one of them was incomplete. . .and even that one was a drop by wide receiver Nick Toon on a ball he probably should have brought in. He finished with 178 yards and four touchdown passes on the afternoon.
Wilson's first touchdown pass went to running back Montee Ball, who also found the end zone twice on the ground. Those three touchdowns were significant for Ball, as they gave him the single-season Big Ten record for touchdowns in a season. Ball has now gotten into the end zone 27 times in Wisconsin's first ten games of the season.
This was a domination all around by the Badgers, as they nearly tripled Minnesota's offensive yardage output, 461 to 156. Wisconsin had more yards rushing than the Gophers had total yards. They also had more yards passing than the Gophers had total yards. This is generally not a formula that is conducive to winning. The Gophers' offense, technically, did not generate any points at all on the afternoon. . .Minnesota's two touchdowns came on a fake field goal that saw kicker Jordan Wettstein dive into the end zone (and miss the subsequent extra point) and Duane Bennett's 96-yard return for a touchdown on the second half's opening kickoff.
The Badgers are now a game behind the Penn State Nittany Lions for first place in the Big Ten's Leaders division. Penn State and Wisconsin will meet in the regular season finale at Camp Randall Stadium in two weeks. The Badgers will travel to Champaign to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini next week, while the Gophers will travel to Evanston to take on the Northwestern Wildcats.