Badgers claim the Axe again with tough 20-7 win over Golden Gophers
MINNEAPOLIS (SportsNetwork.com) - James White rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown as the Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 20-7, in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe for the tenth straight time, the longest stretch of wins for either school in series history.
Joel Stave threw for 127 yards on 16-of-26 efficiency with a touchdown and an interception. Jared Abbrederis led all receivers with 67 yards on seven receptions and a touchdown as the Badgers (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) extended their winning streak to six games.
Philip Nelson completed only 7-of-23 passes for 83 yards and David Cobb rushed for 68 yards on 17 carries. Minnesota's (8-3, 4-3) only score came on an interception returned for a touchdown by Aaron Hill in the second quarter as the Golden Gophers lost for the first time in five games before a record sellout crowd of over 53,000 fans at TCF Stadium.
On Wisconsin's first offensive play, White broke several tackles and rushed 49 yards to Minnesota's 12 to setup Jack Russell's 31-yard field goal.
The two teams traded turnovers at the start of the second quarter. Maxx Williams fumbled the ball and Derek Landisch came up with the recovery. After Wisconsin took over, Hill picked off Stave at Wisconsin's 39-yard line and took it into the end zone to give the Golden Gophers a 7-3 lead less than two minutes into the second quarter.
Minnesota turned the ball over yet again. Brendan Kelly knocked the ball out of Nelson's hands and Chris Borland recovered the ball, taking it to Minnesota's 49-yard line.
Soon after Jacob Pedersen hauled in a 20-yard pass, White rammed through the middle from a yard out later in the drive to allow Wisconsin to take a 10-7 lead with 3:14 left in the first half. Russell nailed a 20-yard field goal to give the Badgers a 13-7 lead heading into the half.
Stave found Abbrederis in the corner of the end zone from two yards out to extend Wisconsin's lead to 20-7 on their first drive of the second half.
David Cobb was spun around by Borland and lost the ball. Borland also jumped on the ball at Minnesota's 25-yard line. After the turnover, Wisconsin was stopped on third down and Russell hooked a 38-yard attempt left of the goal post with over six minutes to go in the third.
Abbrederis returned a punt for 35 yards before Leo Musso forced a fumble, giving the Golden Gophers back the ball late in the third quarter.
Donovahn Jones jumped up over a defender to bring in a 31-yard catch, placing the Golden Gophers into Wisconsin territory. After Cobb gained four yards, Nelson threw two incompletions, giving the ball back to Wisconsin on downs.
Minnesota's final chance for points went awry when Nelson's pass to Cobb on 4th-and-10 gained only five yards to the Wisconsin 13 with 4:18 remaining.