Wisconsin Football: Badgers Roll Through Minnesota to Keep Axe

Badgers Convert on Gophers Mistakes to Keep the Axe in Madison

Paul Bunyan’s Axe will remain in its rightful home for its 13th straight season as the Badgers came away with a 31-17 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The win comes as a huge victory for the Badgers as they not only keep the Axe in Madison, but also keep their playoff hopes alive, and ride momentum going into the Big Ten Championship against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

There were some wary fans early in the game as the Badgers got off to a bit of a slow start as Minnesota jumped out to the early lead and dominated on all sides of the ball in the first quarter. The Gophers put up a early first quarter field goal on their first drive but the Badgers battled back to take the lead early in the second. The first drives under Alex Hornibrook stalled out, but on the third drive Senior Bart Houston took over and lead a 10 play, 80 yard drive capped off by a Alec Ingold touchdown plunge to put the Badgers up 7-3.

Nov 26, 2016; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Bart Houston (13) drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Just as the Badgers appeared to wake up and start to play Minnesota struck to reclaim the lead as quarterback Mitch Leidner found the end zone on a thirteen yard pass following a long kick return to give the Gophers a 10 to 7 lead. The Gophers continued to gain momentum as they hit the half as Leidner led another scoring drive to end the half as he ran in a three yard touchdown to give the Badgers a 17-7 deficit to overcome in the second half.

It was truly a tale of two halves for the Badgers as they came out as a new team in the second. The Badgers pulled within 7 on an Andrew Endicott field goal in the third, and broke the game open in the fourth.

With 11:58 left to go in the fourth Corey Clement plunged in a two yard touchdown run following an interception by Senior Cornerback Sojourn Shelton returned to Wisconsin territory to give the Badgers a 17-17 tie. Following a Minnesota punt, the Badgers struck again following a 71 jet sweep from Jazz Peavey to put the Badgers in a position to take the lead. Clement struck again from the two yard line to give Wisconsin a 24-17 lead. On the ensuing drive Leidner was intercepted once again by Leon Jacobs, and was returned to the Minnesota 8 yard line, followed by a Dare Ogunbowale to seal the lead at 31-17. Shelton picked off another on the following position to seal the final score at 31-17 and keep the Axe in Madison once again.

The story of the game was the Minnesota turnovers as Leidner was intercepted a total of four times in the contest. Clement was the leader of the offense once again as he converted 100 yards and two scores on the day. Bart Houston was 9/14 for 123 yards as he played a majority of the game as Freshman Alex Hornibrook left the game with an injury in the second quarter.

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