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.

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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.

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  • (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
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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
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Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
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NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 53 2nd Half 6:39
Chattanooga 59
Kansas 56 2nd Half 9:05
Rhode Island 41
Wisconsin 27 1st Half 3:50
Georgetown 29
FIU 22 1st Half 1:17
USC Upstate 28
Long Island 7 1st Half 14:47
Stony Brook 9
San Diego 3:30 PM
Xavier
Illinois 4:00 PM
Indiana State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Cal State Fullerton 5:00 PM
Wright State
Michigan State 5:30 PM
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North Carolina
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Georgia Tech
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Western Mich
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UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
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So Florida
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(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
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Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
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(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
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San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
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BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 24 1st Half 1:35
Washington 36
Wichita State 10 1st Half 3:04
Fla Gulf Coast 23
Wisconsin 3:15 PM
(1) South Carolina
BYU 5:00 PM
BYU-Hawaii
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Montana
Illinois 5:00 PM
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Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
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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.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pm

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