The Call: No. 16 Wisconsin at Gophers

  • Updated: November 22, 2013 - 9:14 PM
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Wisconsin is known for its running game, but Jared Abbrederis has been burning opposing defenses with his receptions, too.

THE CALL BY JOE CHRISTENSEN • JCHRISTENSEN@STARTRIBUNE.com

THE OPPONENT

Wisconsin has won five consecutive games since a 31-24 loss to Ohio State, all by at least 10 points, and still has hopes of reaching a BCS bowl.

2:30 p.m., TCF Bank Stadium • TV: ESPN • Radio: 100.3 FM

Line: Badgers by 16½ • Series: Gophers lead 58-56-4

Gophers offense vs. Badgers defense

Wisconsin has the nation’s fifth-best scoring defense, giving up only 14.0 points per game. The Badgers run a 3-4 scheme (three down linemen, four linebackers), and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda keeps opponents guessing where the pressure will come from. Chris Borland is the best linebacker in the country, Gophers coach Jerry Kill said. Advantage: Badgers

Badgers offense vs. Gophers defense

Wisconsin loves to run the ball behind another huge, technically sound offensive line. The Badgers are the only FBS team with two rushers above 1,000 yards in sophomore Melvin Gordon (1,306) senior James White (1,156). They also have the Big Ten’s fourth-leading receiver in Jared Abbrederis and one of the conference’s top tight ends in Jacob Pedersen. Quarterback Joel Stave has thrown eight interceptions this season. Advantage: Badgers

Special teams

Kyle French lost his kicking job for the Badgers on Oct. 19 and has since announced he will transfer following the season. Since taking over the job, Jack Russell is 5-for-6 on field-goal attempts, with the only miss coming from 54 yards. The Gophers’ Chris Hawthorne is 12-for-15 on field goals. Advantage: Gophers

Intangibles

It is expected to be the coldest Gophers game in five years at TCF Bank Stadium. The forecast says it will be about 16 degrees at kickoff, with a northwest wind making it feel closer to 5 degrees. Advantage: Gophers

Prediction

To win, the Gophers need to play above their heads and hope Wisconsin gets rattled with turnovers and mistakes. Under new coach Gary Andersen, the Badgers have been pretty poised. The Gophers have a plus-six turnover margin, but Wisconsin isn’t far behind at plus-four.

 

Wisconsin 31

Gophers 13

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