What: No. 23 Wisconsin (5-1 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) at No. 22 Minnesota (5-1, 2-1)
When: 11 a.m. Central, Saturday, Oct. 15
Site: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (64,000, artificial turf)
Broadcasts: ESPN live TV coverage; 45-city Wisconsin Radio Network live radio coverage.
Minnesota versus Wisconsin: With Paul Bunyan's Axe on the line each year, this is an intense rivalry. Minnesota holds a 59-47-8 edge on Wisconsin but the Badgers dominated last season at Camp Randall, winning 38-14. The last two times Wisconsin visited the Metrodome, though, the results were reversed, with the Gophers winning 42-31 in 2001 and 37-34 in 2003.
Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez is in his 16th and final season at UW. He has a 113-71-4 career record. He is 62-58-3 in Big Ten competition.
Alvarez all-time versus Minnesota
|Nov. 3, 1990||Camp Randall||Minnesota 21, Wisconsin 3|
|Nov. 16, 1991||Metrodome||Wisconsin 19, Minnesota 16|
|Nov. 14, 1992||Camp Randall||Wisconsin 34, Minnesota 6|
|Oct. 23, 1993||Metrodome||Minnesota 28, No. 15 Wisconsin 21|
|Oct. 22, 1994||Camp Randall||Minnesota 17, Wisconsin 14|
|Nov. 11, 1995||Metrodome||Wisconsin 34, Minnesota 27|
|Nov. 9, 1996||Camp Randall||Wisconsin 45, Minnesota 28|
|Oct. 25, 1997||Metrodome||Wisconsin 22, Minnesota 21|
|Nov. 7, 1998||Camp Randall||No. 8 Wisconsin 26, Minnesota 7|
|Oct. 9, 1999||Metrodome||No. 20 Wisconsin 20, No. 25 Minnesota 17 (OT)|
|Nov. 4, 2000||Camp Randall||Wisconsin 41, Minnesota 20|
|Nov. 24, 2001||Metrodome||Minnesota 42, Wisconsin 31|
|Nov. 23, 2002||Camp Randall||Wisconsin 49, Minnesota 31|
|Nov. 8, 2003||Metrodome||No. 24 Minnesota 37, Wisconsin 34|
|Nov. 6, 2004||Camp Randall||No. 5 Wisconsin 38, Minnesota 14|
Minnesota coach: Minnesota coach Glen Mason is in his 20th year as a head coach and ninth at Minnesota. He has a career record of 115-110-1 and a record of 56-46 at Minnesota.
Wisconsin season-to-date (links to BadgerNation.com coverage)
Minnesota season-to-date (links to Fox Sports Game Trax coverage)
- The last time these teams met, Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco threw for 297 yards en route to a 38-14 win at Camp Randall Nov. 6, 2004. The Badgers' defense held Minnesota to 331 yards, the second-lowest Gopher offensive output of the season. That was the last Wisconsin win of the 2004 season; the Badgers followed up one of their best games of the season with a 49-14 loss to Michigan State Nov. 13, a 30-7 loss to Iowa Nov. 20 and a 24-21 loss to Georgia Jan. 1 in the Outback Bowl.
- The epic battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe continues Saturday. The Axe, which represents a rivalry of 115 years, the longest Division I-A football, was created in 1948 and has every result since 1890 carved into it. Although Minnesota holds a 59-47-8 edge on Wisconsin in the all-time series, Wisconsin has won the axe 31 times to Minnesota's 23. In 1952, 1953 and 1956, the teams tied.
- The last time Minnesota held possession of both the Little Brown Jug and Paul Bunyan's Axe in the same year was 1986. Minnesota defeated Michigan 23-20 last Saturday to win the jug for the first time since 1986.
- Wisconsin has scored at least 40 points in four of its six games this season. The Badgers are ninth in the country in scoring offense, with 41.2 points per game. The Badgers scored at least 40 points in just seven games from 2000-04.
- With three points Saturday, the Badgers will surpass their total scoring output from the 2004 season. Last season Wisconsin outscored its opponents 249-185 in 12 games, averaging 20.8 points per game while allowing 15.4 per contest. Through six games this season, the Badgers have outscored opponents 247-142, averaging 41.2 points per game and allowing 23.7.
- Wisconsin has averaged 498.3 yards per game of total offense in its last four games with Minnesota.
- With 168 career receptions, senior receiver Brandon Williams needs just eight receptions to surpass Badger great Lee Evans, who finished his career with a school-record 175.
- Senior receivers Jonathan Orr and Williams have combined for 21 receptions, 421 receiving yards and seven touchdown catches in the past two games.
- Current Wisconsin assistant coaches Jim Hueber, John Palermo and Jeff Horton all once served as assistants at Minnesota.
- Minnesota has 13 athletes from Wisconsin listed on its roster, while Wisconsin has four Minnesotans, including Stocco, offensive lineman Marcus Coleman, linebacker Paul Joran and cornerback Phil Arnold
- Wisconsin sophomore punter Ken DeBauche averages 46.6 yards per punt, the best in the Big Ten and the third best in the country. Of his 25 punts, he has pinned his opponents within their own 20-yard-line 12 times. Wisconsin is sixth in the nation in net punting yards, with an average of 39.6 yards per punt.
- Wisconsin is ranked No. 8 in the country in punt returns with 16.95 yards per return, 16th in pass efficiency (150.67 rating) and 20th in rushing offense (208.2 yards per game).
- Wisconsin has made 34 trips to the red zone and its defense has allowed opponents 19 visits to the red zone. Wisconsin has scored 31 times (27 touchdowns and four field goals) in its 34 trips; the Badgers' opponents have scored 15 times on 12 touchdowns and three field goals.
Preseason Minnesota coverage