Date/Time - Saturday, November 28 at 2:42 p.m. CT
Stadium – TCF Bank Stadium (52,525/FieldTurf)
Television – Big Ten Network (Kevin Kugler, Matt Millen, Lisa Byington)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Minnesota leads 59-57-8 (Minnesota leads 37-24-2 in Minneapolis)
Last Meeting - Wisconsin won, 34-24, on November 29, 2014 in Madison
Wisconsin has won 11 straight games against Minnesota — the longest win streak by either team in the history of the series, which dates back to 1890 — and 18 of the last 20 meetings between the rivals. The Badgers’ 11 straight wins over Minnesota represent the third-longest active win streak by a Big Ten team over a conference foe. Ohio State and Michigan have both beat Indiana 20 straight times.
UW is 3-0 all-time at TCF Bank Stadium and has won the last five meetings between the teams in Minneapolis.
Wisconsin and Minnesota will meet for the 125th time, extending the most-played rivalry in the FBS. Among active rivalries, Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati have the second most-played series at 120 games.
Since the introduction of Paul Bunyan’s Axe as the rivalry’s prize in 1948, the Badgers lead the series, 40-24-3.
Saturday’s game marks the 70th meeting between the teams in the modern era, with Wisconsin holding a 40-26-3 mark against the Gophers since 1946.
Wisconsin Notes to Consider
Wisconsin leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing 12.5 points per game. Since giving up 35 points to Alabama in their season opener, the Badgers have surrendered an average of just 10.1 points per contest.
UW’s defense also ranks No. 4 in total defense (266.3 yards per game), No. 5 in passing defense (164.3 ypg) and No. 6 in rushing defense (102.0 ypg).
Wisconsin seeks to win a sixth Big Ten game for the third-consecutive season, and the fifth time in the last six years. The Badgers are guaranteed to finish with a conference record of .500 or better for the seventh-straight season and the 12th time in the last 13 years.
Wisconsin allowed Northwestern to score a single touchdown from its four red-zone opportunities last Saturday. Over its last four games, UW’s defense has held opponents to a combined 2-for-10 mark in terms of coming away with touchdowns on trips to the red zone.
After throwing for 229 yards vs. Northwestern, senior QB Joel Stave has amassed a total of 7,339 passing yards for his career to rank No. 2 all-time at UW. He needs to average 174.0 yards over UW’s remaining two games to break Darrell Bevell’s school record of 7,686.
Minnesota Notes to Consider
The Gophers are 5-1 against non-ranked teams this year, as they have posted wins at Colorado State, against Kent State, against Ohio, at Purdue and against Illinois. Minnesota’s lone loss to a non-ranked team was to Nebraska. The seven unranked teams are the fewest that Minnesota will play in a season since 2010.
Minnesota is one of 13 schools that has three or fewer seniors at offensive skill positions (QB, RB, WR, TE). Minnesota’s three seniors are receiver KJ Maye (60 catches for 661 yards and nine rushes for 46 yards), tight end Lincoln Plsek (injured, has not played this year) and running back Rodrick Williams (33 carries for 108 yards and four catches for 58 yards).
Minnesota has had 24 players on its two-deep miss a combined 105 games due to injury this season. The list includes 14 starters who have all missed at least one game this year with an injury.
Shannon Brooks (636 yards) and Rodney Smith (561) have churned out 1,197 of the team’s 1,662 rushing yards, which is 72.0 percent of the team’s total. The duo has also been involved in 235 of 749 plays this year (32.7 percent) and is responsible for 1,239 yards of the team’s total offense (30.9).
Minnesota, which has allowed a touchdown in 28 of 45 quarters (includes OT at Colorado State) this year, is 38th in total defense (355.6) and is 57th in scoring defense at 25.6 points (includes 2 fumble returns and 2 pick sixes).
Wisconsin will have to generate turnovers for its offense in prime field position. The Badgers can’t run the ball with any consistency and the offensive line are struggling in pass protection, a deadly combination for any team. UW doesn’t come close to Minnesota in the turnover-forcing category, but the Badgers defense will need to find a way to get the ball into their hands.
Minnesota has to feel like it has everything to play for here – bowl eligibility, the axe, ending a painfully long losing streak. And while Wisconsin’s defense continues to play at an extremely high level, the Badgers’ offense continues to put the unit in near impossible situations because of turnovers and the inability to move the ball.
I think Dinkytown explodes Saturday night with the Gophers finally ending Wisconsin’s decade of dominance. Minnesota wins, 17-13.
Straight up: 9-2
Against the Spread: 6-5