Lost axe is the final blow for Gophers

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2007 - 11:06 PM

With feistiness rarely seen this season, the Gophers fought hard for their first Big Ten victory but fell short.

view larger photos

  

The Gophers football team made dubious history Saturday, but the players went down swinging.

Minnesota gave border rival Wisconsin a good fight, but it wasn't enough to avoid setting a school record for losses in a wildly entertaining 41-34 defeat before an announced crowd of 59,116 at the Metrodome.

The Gophers didn't look, act or play like a team with only one victory and nine-game losing streak on its side.

They matched Wisconsin blow for blow in a game of crazy plays, weird bounces and huge momentum swings.

"Our kids fought their guts out, played extremely well and did a lot of things well," Gophers coach Tim Brewster said. "But we didn't win the football game, and that's what we're here to do."

The Gophers finished the season with a 1-11 record, including 0-8 in the Big Ten. They lost their final 10 games and finished without a victory or tie in the Big Ten for the first time since 1983.

"This year taught me a lot about life and about adversity," senior linebacker Mike Sherels said.

The game served as a microcosm of the entire season. The Gophers showed flashes of their potential, but they didn't have enough when it mattered most.

"We had nothing to lose," senior linebacker John Shevlin said.

The Badgers had to sweat out some anxious moments before taking Paul Bunyan's Axe on a celebratory trip around the field. Clinging to a seven-point lead, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema gambled by going for it on fourth-and-inches with 3 minutes, 1 second left at his own 42. Quarterback Tyler Donovan sprinted right and picked up 2 yards.

The Gophers got a stop and had one final chance with the ball at their own 8-yard line with 1:25 remaining. But Ben Strickland, who blocked a punt for the game-winning touchdown here two years ago, intercepted Adam Weber's deflected pass to seal the victory for Wisconsin (9-3, 5-3).

The Badgers extended their winning streak in the rivalry to four games and reached nine victories for the fourth consecutive season, a school record.

Weber played admirably in defeat, completing 21 of 37 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. He also led the Gophers with 87 rushing yards on 15 carries.

Eric Decker and Ernie Wheelwright combined for 13 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns.

Wisconsin freshmen Zach Brown had a career day in place of an injured P.J. Hill. Brown rushed for 250 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries.

Just like in 2005, the game turned on special teams. The Gophers had both a failed fake punt attempt and a fumbled punt in the fourth quarter, which led to two Badgers touchdowns.

The Gophers tried a fake punt early in the quarter on fourth-and-10, but punter Justin Kucek was tackled after an 8-yard run, giving Wisconsin the ball at the Gophers 49. That led to Travis Beckum's 16-yard touchdown catch for a 34-20 lead.

The Gophers answered with a scoring drive and a 4-yard touchdown catch by Decker with 7:50 remaining.

  • related content

  • Jim Souhan: In the aftermath of lost season, team applauds leader who proved himself

    Saturday November 17, 2007

    Teammates expressed admiration for redshirt freshman QB Adam Weber.

  • Emotions boil over off field after game

    Saturday November 17, 2007

    There appeared to be plenty of unpleasant exchanges between the Gophers and Badgers in Saturday's season finale.

  • Rookies perform like couple of old hands

    Saturday November 17, 2007

    Badgers freshmen David Gilreath and Zach Brown sparked the team, wreaking havoc on the Gophers at the Metrodome.

  • Recap: Wisconsin 41, Gophers 34

    Saturday November 17, 2007

    OFFENSIVE MVP: Zach Brown, WisconsinThe third-string tailback, playing because P.J. Hill is injured and backup Lance Smith isn't allowed to...

  • Big Ten: Wolverines' leaders fail in final bid to unseat OSU

    Sunday November 18, 2007

    The Buckeyes unleashed Chris Wells and their running game on Michigan, whose core of seniors wound up a disappointing 0-4 against their top conference rival.

  • MARLIN LEVISON *mlevison@startribune.com11/17/07Assign#112830- Gophers football vs. Wisconsin. Wisconsin won 41-34.IN THIS PHOTO: The Badgers including Jonathan Casillas #2 "chopped" down the Gophers goal post in the Metrodome with the prized Axe at the conclusion of the game.

  • Mike Sherels of the Gophers broke up a pass intended for Garrett Graham of Wisconsin in the first quarter Saturday.

  • (24) WISCONSIN 41, GOPHERS 34 NEW DEPTHS The Gophers' 2007 football season will go down as one of the worst in school history: Most losses, overall 11, 2007 10, 1983 9, 1997 9, 1992 9, 1991 Most losses, Big Ten 9, 1983 8, 2007 8, 1982 Fewest victories, overall 1, 2007 1, 1983 1, 1958 1, 1950 1, 1920 Fewest victories, Big Ten 0, 2007 0, 1983 0, 1920 Longest losing streaks 10, 2007* 10, 1983 10, 1957-58 9, 1991-92 8, 1982 *-active
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Miami - WP: S. Dyson 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 5
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Peralta 1
Cincinnati - LP: P. Villarreal 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: H. Rondon 1
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Petricka 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 4
Cleveland - LP: Z. McAllister 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 3
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: C. Fien 6
Los Angeles - WP: J. Wright 11 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Bergman 3
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 6
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Philadelphia - LP: J. Williams 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 1
Philadelphia 30 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close