But at least it was a closer game than others in recent years. The average margin of victory in Wisconsin’s winning streak over the Gophers had been nearly 24 points. The final scores in Kill’s first two years were 42-13 and 38-13.
“There are no moral victories,” Kill said. “The only thing I’ll say is I can live with a lot of things when we play our butts off.”
The game-time temperature was 18 degrees, with a wind chill of 5. The previous coldest game at TCF Bank Stadium came in 2010, when it was 23 degrees for the kickoff against Iowa. This time, the announced crowd of 53,090 was also a TCF Bank Stadium record.
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.
James White had 125 yards on 26 carries, and Melvin Gordon added 69 yards on 12 carries. The Gophers held Wisconsin to 197 yards rushing — not bad considering the Badgers came in averaging 307.9 rushing yards per game.
“It is really about protecting our house,” Gophers senior Ra’Shede Hageman said. “… It encourages the defense more, gives them more faith that we can go against a good running team and stop them.”
The defense played well. Had the offense been able to match that performance, the Gophers could have been the ones celebrating.