GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. BADGERS DEFENSE

This game has brought out the worst for Gophers QBs. In 2011, MarQueis Gray completed six of 14 passes for 51 yards. In 2012, Philip Nelson was 13-for-24 for 149 yards with two picks. In 2013, Nelson was 7-for-23 for 83 yards. Last year, Mitch Leidner was 5-for-18 for 95 yards. Advantage: Wisconsin

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Gophers are better across the board in this category but need to contain Natrell Jamerson, who had a 98-yard kickoff return against Maryland. Advantage: Gophers

Player to watch

Wisconsin senior linebacker Joe Schobert is tied for third in the nation with 18.5 tackles for loss and tied for fifth with four forced fumbles. Nicknamed “Joe the Show,” the former walk-on is a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player.

 

THE OPPONENT

Wisconsin is coming off an agonizing loss to Northwestern. From the 1-yard line, Joel Stave appeared to throw the winning touchdown pass to Jazz Peavy, but the play was overturned. Stave took a sack, knocking him from the game On the final play, Bart Houston threw incomplete.

GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. BADGERS OFFENSE

Joel Stave has led the Badgers to three career wins over Minnesota with steady if unspectacular play. But Wisconsin needs him to throw more now, and he struggles under pressure. Stave had two interceptions and two fumbles last week against Northwestern. Advantage: Gophers

 

INTANGIBLES

Players need to guard against being too emotional. They must win to become bowl-eligible, and Jerry Kill will be there for the first time since retiring Oct. 28. Advantage: Gophers

 

JOE’S PREDICTION

 

20           17

MINN     WIS

Trailing 17-13, Leidner leads the Gophers on another late-game touchdown drive, letting Minnesota finally celebrate again with the Axe.