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Minnesota Football: Wisconsin runs all over Gophers to win back Paul Bunyan’s Axe 28-14

The Badgers get The Axe back, beating Minnesota 28-14

Wisconsin v Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Braelon Allen and Tyler Mordecai moved the ball at will against the Gopher defense to lead the Wisconsin Badgers to a 28-14 win over Minnesota. Allen had his biggest rushing day since 2021, accumulating 165 yards and 2 touchdowns while Mordecai also ran through the Gopher defense for 69 yards on 9 carries.

The opening drive for Minnesota was encouraging. They went 6 plays for 72 yards, aided by a pass interference and was capped with a Jordan Nubin touchdown run to take a quick 7-0 lead. They forced a quick Badger punt and things could not have started better. But the Gopher offense punted on their next 3 possessions, gaining a total of 31 yards. But after that quick start, the game was largely controlled by Wisconsin.

Big plays and being unable to stop the run have plagued this Gopher defense all season long. Late in the 2nd quarter Minnesota drove for a go-ahead touchdown, with the help of a couple of Wisconsin defensive pass interference calls. Leading 14-7 with 4:30 left before half, this was the time to force one more punt before the break. Instead, Wisconsin moved the ball 75 yards in 4 plays to tie the game at 14 apiece.

The third quarter was dominated by the Badgers, gaining 152 yards of offense, scoring twice and opening up a 28-14 lead. Minnesota battled, moving the ball in the 4th quarter but a Daniel Jackson fumble and a Kaliakmanis interception ended any hope of a Gopher comeback.

The defensive inability to stop the run and the offensive turnovers were the primary catalysts for the loss but there were other contributing factors. The Badger offensive line kept the Gopher defensive front from getting anywhere near Mordecai. Injuries to the Gopher defense, particularly the secondary, put a number of very inexperienced players on the field.

Hats off to Wisconsin, the Badgers were the better team today. This Gopher team struggled through the entire month of November and ended very flat in the battle for The Axe. Up next? Well, that’s a mystery. Now with a 5-7 record, they need a number of things to go their way in order to have an opportunity to sneak into a bowl having the best APR of the pool of 5-7 teams.

More to come on the bowl opportunity and rehashing this disappointing Gopher season.