Three Stars of the Game: Wisconsin

Saturday's game again ended in disappointment for the Gophers. With a 41-23 domination, the Badgers took home the axe for the seventh straight season. The game showcased three players who played extremely well and are the stars of this rivalry game.

The first two stars of Saturday's game were the backfield combination of John Clay and James White. The Wisconsin tandem dominated the game from start to finish. The line opened up holes and the two backs burst through, continually getting into the second layer of the defense.

White and Clay work well together due to their contrasting styles. While both are physically strong and can dish out punishment, White is faster and can stretch the defense to the outside if he has to. White used his speed on Saturday to rush a game-high 118 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries.

The second star of the game was junior John Clay. At 6-foot-1, 255 pounds, Clay is one of the largest running backs in the conference. He used his size to absorb contact and push for extra yards. On many runs against Minnesota, Clay was falling down but managed to gain three more yards with the push from his massive legs. The Gopher defense was unable to control Clay from the start of the game.

As the game ran down, so did the Gophers' defense and Clay took advantage. On the day, Clay racked up 111 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns. Clay has been dominating all season and looks poised for another run at the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.

After another poor defensive performance, coupled with a struggling offense, left few bright spots for the Gophers. One of the highlights for Minnesota was junior wide receiver Da'Jon McKnight. McKnight wasn't targeted much during the early part of the game but came alive in the fourth quarter.

With 11:11 left in the game, quarterback Adam Weber tossed a jump ball to the endzone for McKnight who reached over the defender and came up with the ball. At the post-game press conference McKnight said of the catch, "I just took it from him and tried to keep it from hitting the ground. I just wanted the ball more than he did." McKnight also had another impressive touchdown grab in the fourth for a total of two receptions for 51 yards and two scores.


Gopher Illustrated Top Stories