Wisconsin used a suffocating defense and a heavy dose of running back James White to defeat the Gophers 20-7 on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.
It marked the 10th consecutive year the Badgers have claimed Paul Bunyan’s Axe, the longest winning streak for either team in a series that dates to 1890.
White carried 26 times for 125 yards, as Wisconsin outgained the Gophers 324 to 185.
Minnesota’s only points came on a 39-yard interception return by linebacker Aaron Hill in the second quarter.
The Badgers came in ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense, at 14.0 points per game, and this was the third straight game they’ve held their opponent without an offensive touchdown.
Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson had a rough day, completing seven of 23 passes for 83 yards. The Gophers missed senior wide receiver Derrick Engel, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice last week.
Nelson missed several targets, but the Gophers had dropped passes by Maxx Williams, Drew Wolitarsky, Donovahn Jones.
Running back David Cobb had his streak of four consecutive 100-yard rushing games snapped, as he carried 17 times for 68 yards.
The Badgers led 13-7 at halftime and opened the second half with a 12-play, 83-yard touchdown drive that took seven minutes, five seconds. Joel Stave capped it with a 3-yard pass to Jared Abbrederis.
The game-time temperature was 18 degrees, with a wind chill of 5, making it the coldest game in the five-year history of TCF Bank Stadium. The announced crowd was 53,090, also a record at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Gophers (8-3, 4-3 in the Big Ten) were trying to win a fifth consecutive Big Ten game for the first time since 1962.
During their winning streak, the Gophers had committed just two turnovers, compared to eight for their opponents, but on Saturday, they had three turnovers to Wisconsin’s one.
The Badgers (9-2, 6-1) extended their winning streak to six games.