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Gophers and Badgers Battle For Paul Bunyan's Axe - OPEN THREAD

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 2:30 PM
Radio: 100.3 FM, 1130 AM

The Stats

Minnesota Golden Gophers Wisconsin Badgers
Points / Game 30.7 38.5
Pass Yards 149.4 197.9
Rush Yards 218.5 307.9
3rd Down % 43.9% 43.1%
Key Offensive Player to Watch Philip Nelson James White / Melvin Gordon
Points Allowed/Game 23.4 14.0
Pass Yards 233.8 189.0
Rush Yards 147.0 99.3
3rd Down % 39.0% 29.8%
Key Defensive Player to Watch Damien Wilson Chris Borland

3 Keys

Maroon_key_medium Slow the run - Notice I didn't say anything about stopping the run. This is a great rushing attack with two great running backs. Think Barber / Maroney, this is that good. Over 300 yards per game on the ground, this is what they do and they do it well. Tracy Claeys talked about this immediately after the Penn State win, we have to do a better job of stopping a power run game. They have prepared for this for 2 weeks and they better be able to slow it down a little bit or we will be in big trouble.

Withstand the first quarter -
I feel like Wisconsin is planning to come in and dominate early, own the line of scrimmage and jump to a 14-0 lead early. We cannot let this happen, we have to match their physicality and toughness and enthusiasm in the first quarter to let them know that we aren't going anywhere. You may recall that this was a close game at halftime in 2012 before things went sideways so obviously continuing to play well in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters matter as well. But I feel like this team is a tough one and if we can withstand any early punches, we will be in this till the end.

Maroon_key_medium Dominate Special Teams - I do not believe our offense or defense will dominate, but special teams we can win and win big. This might be a pre-requisite if we want to win this game. Move field position, maybe even get some points this way. But special teams will be vitally important.

I am not holding out a ton of hope for today's game but this is a measuring stick game for a program that is continuing to improve.