Paul Bunyan’s axe will stay in Wisconsin for another year. Things were a little tense early – yet another slow Badgers start – but once the Badgers got their running game rolling it was game over. Matt Canada has gotten into a terrific groove mixing up Montee Ball and James White. Today it was Ball with the jabs and White with the haymakers. Montee Ball may have the Big 10 all-time touchdown record but White got the best of him this day, scoring 3 TDs to Ball’s 2. Two of White’s touchdowns came from more than 30 yards out. Ball got into the act in the fourth quarter, scoring one from 14 and another from 44 to ice the game.
Despite the final score, it wasn’t a totally dominating performance by the Badgers. Minnesota kept it tight early thanks to their defense. The Gophers blitzed Joel Stave and forced him into some mistakes. The Badgers had a couple possession go awry in the first half when Stave took big sacks, moving the team out of field goal range. And his passing accuracy wasn’t great. Even his downfield throws weren’t very on-target, but Jared Abbrederis was able to make plays on a couple of them, and finished with 68 yards.
It didn’t even matter that Stave had a bad game. The Badgers finished with 337 yards on the ground, 175 for White and 166 for Ball. Defensively, the Badgers were able to bottle up Minnesota and their freshman QB Philip Nelson all day. The Gophers went to the zone-read attack quite a bit and it wasn’t especially effective. They were better just letting Nelson throw. The Gophers were able to put together a couple of long scoring drives but outside of that they were totally stifled. After a slow start, it was pretty much all Badgers. Wisconsin moves to 3-1 in the Big Ten while Minnesota drops to 0-4.
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