Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.

Posts about Gophers game day

Kill says Gophers and Badgers need to discuss protocol for future Axe celebrations

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: November 26, 2013 - 6:32 PM

After a tense standoff Saturday during Wisconsin's post-game celebration with Paul Bunyan's Axe, Gophers coach Jerry Kill said Tuesday that the two sides need to talk about how best to handle those celebrations in the future.

Wisconsin won the Axe for the 10th consecutive year and pretended to chop down the west goal post at TCF Bank Stadium. The Badgers waited until the Gophers players finished singing "Hail! Minnesota" with the band, and then moved in on the east goal post.

But the Gophers wouldn't let them get to it. This led to a standoff, and security had to help separate the teams. Kill was asked Tuesday, during the Big Ten teleconference, if the teams need to establish an understanding for future celebrations.

"I don’t point fingers at anything," Kill said. "There are some traditions when somebody wins the Axe and so forth. I’ve only been here [three] years, and Coach [Gary Andersen] has been there only one year.

"Whether we go around the field, or they go around the field, and our team needs to get off, or we sing the song and get off -- the administrations know we need to handle it in a different way on both sides. So we’ll let them work it out, and I’m sure they’ll get it right, and then they’ll pass it along to both coaches."

GOOD NEWS ON INJURY FRONT

The Gophers knew these last two regular season games against Wisconsin and Michigan State would be physical.

Aside from some bumps and bruises, the Gophers appeared to emerge from Saturday's 20-7 loss to Wisconsin pretty healthy. Eric Murray, Cedric Thompson and Maxx Williams all were shaken up during the game but returned to play.

"For a physical football game, and the coldest football game here in a long time -- the turf was pretty much frozen -- we came out of it pretty good, really," Kill said. "... You’re going to be bruised and battered, but I think we’ll be alright this weekend."

Gophers smothered by Wisconsin's defense in loss

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: November 23, 2013 - 5:51 PM

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.

Halftime: Badgers lead Gophers 13-7

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: November 23, 2013 - 4:14 PM

Gophers linebacker Aaron Hill had a 39-yard interception return, but Wisconsin took a 13-7 lead to the locker room at halftime today at TCF Bank Stadium.

The Gophers lost two fumbles, and the second one by Philip Nelson, led to Wisconsin’s go-ahead touchdown. It was Nelson's first turnover since Sept. 28.

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.

On Wisconsin’s first play from scrimmage, James White took a hand-off, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage, shook one more tackler and raced 49 yards to the Minnesota 12.

The Gophers held the Badgers to a field goal, though. And Minnesota held Wisconsin to another field goal with three seconds remaining in the half.

The Badgers gained 193 yards, and the Gophers 94 in the first half. White had 107 yards on the ground for Wisconsin.

Halftime: Badgers lead Gophers 13-7

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: November 23, 2013 - 4:17 PM

Gophers linebacker Aaron Hill had a 39-yard interception return, but Wisconsin took a 13-7 lead to the locker room at halftime today at TCF Bank Stadium.

The Gophers lost two fumbles, and the second one by Philip Nelson led to Wisconsin’s go-ahead touchdown. It was Nelson's first turnover since Sept. 28.

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.

On Wisconsin’s first play from scrimmage, James White took a hand-off, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage, shook one more tackler and raced 49 yards to the Minnesota 12.

The Gophers held the Badgers to a field goal, though. And Minnesota held Wisconsin to another field goal with three seconds remaining in the half.

The Badgers gained 193 yards, and the Gophers 94 in the first half. White had 107 yards on the ground for Wisconsin.

Pregame: Cold day for Gophers and Badgers? You betcha

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: November 23, 2013 - 1:59 PM

It's 16 degrees at TCF Bank Stadium, and with that northwest wind, today's game against Wisconsin is shaping up to be one of the coldest home games in Gophers football history.

Update: The Wisconsin scribes told me that the Gophers and Badgers played on an 11-degree day in Madison on Nov. 21, 1964, so at least it won't be THAT cold.

The coldest kickoff in five years at TCF Bank Stadium was 23 degrees for the 2010 Iowa game. My colleague at the Star Tribune, Joel Rippel, compiled this research on other cold home games in Gophers history.

(A note from Rippel about the wind chills: For the games since 2009, they are approximate, using a NOAA wind-chill index chart. And for the earlier games, wind chill was figured slightly different than it is now (the formula was updated in 2001, and wind chills since then aren’t quite as cold. But the figures for those games were reported in the paper.)

2012

Nov. 24: vs. Michigan St., 25 with wind of 10 mph. Wind chill of 15

2010

Nov. 27: vs. Iowa, 23 with wind of 8 mph. Wind chill of 15.

MEMORIAL STADIUM ERA

Sept. 30, 1961: vs. Missouri, 42 at kickoff. Got colder as game went on. Snow showers.

Oct. 29, 1955: vs. USC. 33 at kickoff with 20 mph wind. Wind chill of 21.

Nov. 8, 1947: vs. Purdue, 28 at kickoff with 20-30 mph winds. Wind chill of 10.

Nov. 25, 1933: vs. Wisconsin, 40 at kickoff. Temps dropped during game to low 30s. Snowing/blizzard conditions by fourth quarter

No. 19, 1932: vs. Michigan, 12 at kickoff. Winds of 16 mph. Wind chill of -4.

A note about 1975: A two-day blizzard hit Minnesota and the Twin Cities – ending on the day before the game. Parts of Minnesota got 24 inches of snow with 15-30 mph winds. The Twin Cities got 7-9 inches. On Saturday, Nov. 22, the day of the game, it was clear, dry and little wind. At kickoff (1 p.m.), there was snow piled on the sidelines and the end zone of Memorial Stadium. But it was 27 degrees at kickoff with light, variable winds.

Update: Michigan State has a 24-point lead at Northwestern late in the fourth quarter, so it looks like the Spartans will wrap up the Legends Division race with that win.

Follow along on Twitter: @JoeCStrib

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT