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Rapid Reaction-Minnesota Football Loses to Wisconsin 31-21

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Yuck

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota lost to Wisconsin 31-21. The Axe once again returns to Madison. After a pick six, Wisconsin started running the ball and did not look back. Minnesota defensive front was bullied into submission by Wisconsin's offensive line. The Badgers ran for more yards in the first half than their season average. The Gophers scored late to make it interesting, but had too little offense to make up the difference.

Notes

Hilariously, Wisconsin occasionally passed the ball. I assume this was a commentary on the nature of balance by Paul Chryst, who is gunning for a spot as the Walker's new Art Director. Given Minnesota's complete inability to stop the run, every single pass play was an odd play call.

Minnesota adjusted to the run in the second half by bringing additional defenders into the box. An open question for the coaching staff is why this adjustment was not made in the first quarter. Even with the injuries, Minnesota has two excellent cornerbacks, and could easily have played press man.

Credit the Badgers defense, who were as good as advertised. They controlled the line of scrimmage, and shut down most of what Minnesota wanted to do. In addition, they had had plenty of help from Minnesota turnovers. The Gophers had three interceptions and two fumbles. The two fumbles were on back to back possessions in the first half. One interception came off a tipped Leidner pass, one came off a poor Leidner decision, and the last was an arm punt.

Speaking of specific play calls, Minnesota had no answer for Wisconsin's overload blitzes. On the last Badgers' sack, Wisconsin rushed four players, and two of them had free shots on Leidner. I'm amazed that Leidner didn't have to come out of the game with every rib broken.