Running the ball is the prime operative heading into the week 13 Wisconsin at Minnesota football game. That’s true because not only are we seeing UW’s #1 rushing offense in the Big Ten (229.4 ypg) and the Golden Gophers #3 (204.6) but as we near December in the Twin Cities temperatures are going to be approaching the low 30s in the second half of this contest.
Not only is Paul Bunyan’s Axe on the line in this matchup, so is the Big Ten West. Minnesota can no longer make the conference tournament game after Iowa’s win on Friday, but they can still prevent the Badgers from getting to Indianapolis next week. A Minnesota win would give the berth against the Ohio State at Michigan winner.
Badgers Have Made This Season Right
Wisconsin caught a lot of flack for starting this season 1-3, but the defeats were all against quality teams. UW fell 16-10 to Penn State in the opener in a game they really should have won, but have also lost to Notre Dame (41-13) and Michigan (38-17) – two teams that could make the CFP.
The Badgers are a well-coached team, because instead of hanging their heads after a disappointing start UW has instead fought back to control their own destiny to make the B1G Championship game. The Badgers have a 7-game win streak coming into the Wisconsin at Minnesota football game and look like one of the more dangerous teams in the country right now.
The formula hasn’t changed for the Badgers and it won’t on Saturday afternoon in the Twin Cities either. Wisconsin is going to run the ball with super freshman Braelon Allen who has amassed 100+ on the ground in seven straight, and has compiled 401 yards and 6 TD the last two games since taking full-time backfield duties after Chez Mellusi’s injury.
Golden Gophers Want the Axe
It really doesn’t matter to Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck whether it’s Iowa or Wisconsin that makes the the Big Ten Championship – because it’s not the Golden Gophers. Minnesota blew that change mostly because of their 14-6 loss at home to Illinois three weeks ago as -14.5 favorites, but a victory on Saturday would still bring Paul Bunyan’s Axe back to Minneapolis for just the 2nd time since 2003.
Minnesota has a tough test on Saturday even at home. First you have to stop the Badgers run game, and to their credit the Golden Gophers have been solid vs. the run allowing just 103.6 yards/game, the third best mark in the Big Ten.
The other hard part about beating Wisconsin is that you have to try and score on them, which hasn’t been easy as they allow 15.8 yards/game which is tops in the country. Minnesota’s strength is their running game and mammoth offensive line, but the Badgers are also leading the nation with just 64.3 yards/game allowed on the ground.
Wisconsin at Minnesota Football Free Pick
While the Badgers defense may seem impenetrable, Michigan can find some optimism in knowing that Nebraska threw for 351 yards vs. UW last week and ran for another 100+. That’s with Adrian Martinez at QB though, and Minnesota QB Tanner Morgan has nowhere near that skill set.
Wisconsin 36 – Minnesota 17
Free Pick: Wisconsin -7