Wisconsin beat back red-hot Minnesota and bitterly cold conditions Saturday, defeating the Gophers 20-7 at TCF Bank Stadium. The win keeps the Badgers (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) in the race for an at-large BCS bowl bid. Minnesota (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) lost its first game since October 5.
The Badgers built a 13-7 halftime lead through a James White touchdown plunge and a pair of field goals. A Joel Stave pick six was the source of Minnesota's only first-half score.
Stave connected with Jared Abbrederis on a two-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to extend the Badger lead to 20-7. Despite Minnesota's best efforts, the offense never got on track against Wisconsin's defense. Quarterback Philip Nelson completed just 7 of 23 pass attempts for 83 yards. Running back David Cobb ran for 68 yards on 17 carries, but the Gophers manages just 185 yards of total offense. It was not nearly enough to knock off the Badgers, who go home with Paul Bunyan's Axe
Box Score Hero: Wisconsin running back James White finished the day with 125 rushing yards on 26 carries, scoring the Badgers' only rushing touchdown. White also caught two passes.
Rankings Ramifications: Minnesota snuck into the Top 25 this week, and will likely fall out with the loss. Wisconsin, which entered Saturday at No. 19, should get a solid bump in the polls from a quality road win.
But Did They Cover? Wisconsin was a 16-point favorite over Minnesota, so they just missed covering the spread.
For More On This Game: For more on Gophers football, visit Minnesota community The Daily Gopher. For more on Badgers football, visit Wisconsin community Bucky's 5th Quarter. Both programs are chronicled at Big Ten community Off Tackle Empire.
Next Week's Schedule: Wisconsin closes its season by hosting Penn State, while Minnesota travels to East Lansing to face Michigan State.