2:30 p.m., Camp Randall Stadium • TV: ESPN2 • Radio: 100.3-FM • Line: Wis by 10½ • Series: Wis leads 60-59-8
Though Wisconsin’s Big Ten title hopes ended two weeks ago, the Badgers still have the motivation of keeping Paul Bunyan’s Axe for a 15th consecutive year. Their offense has sputtered, averaging 13.3 points in losses to Michigan, Northwestern and Penn State, but it rebounded last week in a 47-44 triple-overtime win at Purdue.
Player to watch
It’s more like “Player to Tackle.’’ The Gophers’ hopes of upsetting the Badgers hinge on how they handle Jonathan Taylor, the nation’s leading rusher (1,869 yards). He had 321 vs. Purdue.
Gophers offense vs. Badgers defense
The Gophers have a Big Ten-worst minus-11 turnover margin in conference games, and poor care of the ball killed their chances against Northwestern. QB Tanner Morgan threw two interceptions but was a victim of dropped passes, too. Advantage: Badgers
Gophers defense vs. Badgers offense
Senior linebacker Blake Cashman made 20 tackles last week, and he might need to do it again for the improved Gophers defense against Taylor and Co. Advantage: Badgers
Jacob Herbers is having a solid punting season for the Gophers, while Emmit Carpenter must rebound from his miss on a 38-yard field-goal try last week. Wisconsin’s Rafael Gaglianone is 4-for-5 on field goals in November, but the Badgers rank last in the Big Ten in punting. Advantage: Gophers
Under coach P.J. Fleck, the Gophers are 0-8 in Big Ten road games, losing by an average score of 38-14. Minnesota hasn’t won in Madison since 1994, and these Wisconsin seniors don’t want to be the ones who lose the Axe. Advantage: Badgers
The Gophers defense has improved, so that should keep the score close. But experience allows Wisconsin to keep the Axe.