So where do the Gophers, losers of five straight and 0-2 in the Big Ten, go from here?
Posed with that question following Minnesota's 41-23 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday, Gophers coach Tim Brewster answered with the obvious.
"We go to Purdue," he said. "We go to Purdue next week and do a great job in our preparation. And we go to Purdue expecting to win and go win a football game. That's exactly where we go from here."
Literally speaking, no one can take issue with Brewster's comment. A trip to play the Boilermakers is up next on Minnesota's schedule.
From a figurative standpoint, an answer to that question is much more complex. Minnesota is 1-5 and its season is close to hurtling completely out of control with games against Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa still on the schedule.
The Gophers didn't play poorly in the first half at Camp Randall Stadium. A late touchdown sent Minnesota to the locker room trailing only 14-9, giving Brewster some hope the Gophers could keep the game close in the second half.
Any idea that would happen ended quickly. The Badgers turned drives of 65 yards, 86 yards and 80 yards into touchdowns, and the Gophers were finished. Minnesota's defense, and the front line in particular, was shoved all over the field. The Gophers allowed 250 yards rushing for the game.
Brewster's frustration boiled over when he confronted Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema on the field following the game. Bielema went for a two-point conversion after Wisconsin scored a touchdown to go up 41-16 with 6:39 left in the game. The fact the Gophers stopped the play didn't do anything to lift Brewster's spirits.
Brewster pointed his finger at Bielema and had some angry words for the Badgers coach during the postgame handshake. Bielema explained he made the decision after reviewing the card coaches use to decide when to go for two-point conversions.
"I thought it was a very poor decision by a head football coach and he'll have to live with that," Brewster said in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "It was wrong. Everybody in here knows it and everybody in college football knows it. It was wrong."
--It's been awhile since the Gophers have gotten their hands on The Paul Bunyan Axe. Minnesota has lost seven consecutive games to Wisconsin, its longest losing streak of the series.
--Adam Weber threw three touchdowns against Wisconsin, giving him 64 in his career.
--The Gophers have lost eight consecutive games at Camp Randall Stadium.
GAME BALL GOES TO: LB Gary Tinsley -- He was all over the field against Wisconsin. He led the Gophers with 14 tackles. Tinsley had six solo stops, including one tackle for a loss. The junior has stepped up on a defense that has played poorly all season.
KEEP AN EYE ON: KR Troy Stoudermire -- A couple of weeks after being suspended and then saying he was quitting the team, Stoudermire seems to be back in good standing. He asked to return to the team the week of the Northwestern game and was moved from receiver to cornerback. Stoudermire's primary role at the moment is to return kickoffs. He returned four kicks for 107 yards, with a long of 47, against Wisconsin.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You just got to make the plays; you got to stop the run. That's the basic premise on which we live by defensively, and we certainly didn't get the job done. They just ran the ball that well against us, and that's really disappointing." -- Coach Tim Brewster on, allowing 250 yards rushing against Wisconsin.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The offensive game plans have given quarterback Adam Weber several weapons he can use. Although he was only 11 of 25 against Wisconsin, he passed for 249 yards. The senior hit Da'Jon McKnight for two touchdowns and MarQueis Gray for another. Weber is gaining confidence in several targets, making the Gophers harder to defend.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Wisconsin is all about running the ball, but Gophers had no answer. The Badgers gained 250 yards on the ground and scored five rushing touchdowns. Two backs ran for more than 100 yards. The Gophers show no sign they can stop the run, and opponents will continue to stick with it. The defense also couldn't get off the field as Wisconsin converted 7-of-9 third-down situations.
--CB Michael Carter didn't make the trip to Madison because of a toe injury.
--LB Mike Rallis missed his second straight game because of a pulled stomach muscle.
--S Kim Royston is still sidelined by the broken left leg he suffered in spring ball.
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