Wisconsin football will take on Minnesota today in a battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.
The Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe is renewed this afternoon when Wisconsin football hosts Minnesota. The original game between the Badgers and Gophers was canceled due to positive covid tests within Minnesota’s program just three weeks ago.
Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison WI
When: Saturday, December 19 at 3:00 PM
TV: Big Ten Network
Stream: Fox Sports App
Radio: Badger Radio Network
Game line: According to Bovada, the Badgers are 12-point favorites over the Gophers.
This season has been a disappointment for both programs thus far. It was expected that the battle for the West division would come down to Wisconsin or Minnesota. Covid has ravished both teams at some point this season, forcing them to play short-handed.
The Gophers have taken probably the biggest hit between the two teams. Because of covid, their star receiver, and likely first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft, Rashod Bateman, has decided to sit out the rest of the season after playing in just five games this season. So the Gophers will be without him in this big game against Wisconsin.
Something that has been working well for the Gophers this season is their rushing attack. Junior running back Mohamed Ibrahim has 925 yards rushing and a whopping 15 touchdowns.
The Badgers have been forced to miss three games this season. With all of the game cancelations, it made it tough to get into a grove while also having a lot of players missing games. The Badgers have been without their top two receivers, Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor, for the last three games due to injury. Without them, freshman quarterback Graham Mertz has really struggled to get going. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like they will be available this game either.
The lack of a rushing game has also been an issue. Their most consistent runner this season has been freshman back, Jalen Berger. Berger missed the last game and isn’t going to play today either, so the Badgers will need to depend on Nakia Watson and Garrett Groshek again.
If Wisconsin wants to win this game, coach Chryst and Rudolph are going to have to figure out how to get this running game going. They ran for just 56 total yards against Iowa. Grants, Iowa has a very good defense, but Wisconsin is and has been a run-first school. 56 yards just isn’t going to get it done, especially when you have a freshman at quarterback.
Luckily for the Wisconsin football team, Minnesota is allowing a ton of yards on the ground. They are 107th in the country, allowing 212 yards on the ground per game. If there is a game to get the ground game going again, this is it.
Even though this season has been disappointing for both schools, there is still plenty to play for right now. Bragging rights and Paul Bunyan’s Axe should be enough, but now there are bowl game implications as well. Both teams will need a win to be bowl-eligible. Teams need to have at least a .500 record to make a bowl game. Whichever team wins will be bowl-eligible while the other could very well be done for the year.
There is still plenty to play for today! Let’s keep the Axe at home today.