The Wisconsin Badgers have won their ninth straight game against Minnesota following their big win this last weekend. The Badger rushing attack gashed the Gopher defense in order to ensure that Paul Bunyan's Axe returned to Madison.
Here are the winners and losers from the Badgers' win against Minnesota.
The Badgers rolled the Gophers behind an explosive rushing attack. Montee Ball and James White routinely broke off long runs, as each finished with over 150 yards. James White was particularly impressive, as he ripped off two touchdowns in the first half and a third for good measure in the third quarter. Montee Ball also got into the action, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to ice the game.
The rushing attack was the key to the Badgers' win.
The passing attack was dismal against Minnesota. Stave looked uncomfortable holding onto the ball, and he regularly missed throws. As a result, Wisconsin was unable to challenge the Gophers through the air, which could have spelled disaster. Stave's line really sums up how bad he was, as he completed only seven passes for 106 yards.
Thankfully, the struggles weren't catastrophic, as the Badgers' run game took care of business, but the passing game needs to improve.
The Badger defense continues to turn in impressive performances, holding Minnesota to only 245 total yards. The entire unit impressed, forcing multiple turnovers and limiting the Gophers to just 3.2 yards per carry. Incredibly, Minnesota was only able to convert on one third down. The Badger linebacker corps was particularly impressive, as Borland, Taylor and Armstrong were all over the field.
This Wisconsin defense is one of the best in the Big Ten.
The Wisconsin Badgers are going to represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten Championship game. Following their win against Minnesota, Wisconsin is the only eligible team that has a win in conference.
Michigan looks like the likely opponent for the Badgers when they get to Indianapolis. However, the Wolverines have been far from dominant this season. With the talent that the Badgers have at linebacker, Wisconsin has a viable shot of repeating as Big Ten champions.
The Badgers' running game turned in an impressive performance against the Gophers, as did the defense. However, the passing game and Stave in particular really struggled. Thankfully, it didn't matter, as Wisconsin earned the win.
This win was huge for the Badgers' Big Ten title hopes, and it keeps Paul Bunyan's Axe in Madison, where it belongs.