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Continued: Lost axe is the final blow for Gophers

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

The Gophers got a defensive stop, but freshman returner Harold Howell fumbled a booming punt and Wisconsin recovered at it the Minnesota 15. The Badgers scored two plays later on Brown's 4-yard run.

Two years ago Wisconsin completed a remarkable comeback on a special teams mistake by Kucek, who dropped a clean snap in the final minute. The Badgers blocked the punt and recovered it in the end zone for the victory.

The Gophers looked like they might engineer their own miracle comeback Saturday when Ralph Spry caught a tipped pass intended for Marcus Sherels and sprinted for a 71-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 41-34 with 4:37 remaining.

But that's as close as they would get as the Badgers made enough plays on both sides of the ball to finish the job.

"We gave ourselves a chance," Sherels said. "That's all we asked of ourselves. That showed how far we came this year."

The loss left players searching for positives and a silver lining in the immediate aftermath of a 1-11 season.

"This wasn't the way we planned it," Wheelwright said. "We wanted to go to the Rose Bowl. That's our goal every time we step out on the field. But I think the sky is the limit for the Gophers in the future."

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

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  • 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.

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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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