Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Prediction, Game Preview

    Wisconsin vs. Minnesota prediction and game preview. The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe takes place in Minneapolis as the Badgers take on the Golden Gophers.

    November 20, 2015

    Can Wisconsin (8-3) possibly rebound from the heart-ripping loss to Northwestern? It didn’t really matter – Iowa had the West all sewn up anyway, but still, it was as rough as it gets. Minnesota (5-6) has more to play for than just the Paul Bunyan Axe – it needs the win to go bowling. Check out the Wisconsin vs. Minnesota prediction and game preview.

    Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Game Preview


    Date: Saturday, November 28
    Game Time: 3:30 pm
    Venue: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

    Network: BTN

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    Why You Need To Care

    Wisconsin turned the ball over a combined nine times in losses to Iowa and Northwestern. Had it turned it over one fewer time in each of those games – and if it caught a break from the officials against the Wildcats – this game would be to keep the 10-1 season alive. But the Badgers aren’t nearly that good, especially against a soft schedule losing to the three good teams it played – Alabama, Iowa and Northwestern. A win could mean a good New Year’s Day bowl, or it could mean a trip to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl. There’s no West title, though, and for this program, that’s all that matters.

    Minnesota busted through a rough month on and off the field with a crucial win over Illinois. Even with the four-game losing streak before last week, in a lot of ways the team has improved and gotten better as the season has gone on. After losing head coach Jerry Kill, and after the painful loss to Michigan, and after battling hard in defeats to Ohio State and Iowa, there’s still a chance to end on a massive positive and get a 13th game. This might not be the team that was so good and so strong last year – it had a chance to win the West by beating the Badgers – but 6-6 would look fantastic.

    Why Wisconsin Will Win

    The defense is absolutely smothering. Granted, the Badgers aren’t playing in the Big 12, but they’ve put the clamps down all season long with the nation’s No. 1 scoring D led by a fantastic secondary that’s not allowing anything deep. Minnesota has had a few nice moments on the ground, but the offense has moved mostly through the air over the last few weeks. That’s going to be a problem against the Badger D that’s allowing 164 passing yards per game and five touchdown passes on the year. Wisconsin didn’t give up a touchdown pass in seven of the 11 games.

    Why Minnesota Will Win

    Remember when Wisconsin used to be able to run the ball? That was a long, long time ago – this team can’t do it. Not helped by the six sacks allowed to Northwestern, the Badgers ran for -26 yards last week in the loss and have just 1,520 yards on the season. To put that into perspective, that’s fewer than they ran for over the first five games of last season. This is a short-to-midrange passing team now, and that plays right into the hands of the Minnesota defense.

    Player Who Matters

    Is Shannon Brooks going to be able to do that one more time? The Minnesota freshman took off for 176 yards and a score against Purdue, and last week against Illinois he ripped off 174 yards and three scores on just 17 carries. Wisconsin’s defense isn’t going to let him do that, but he’s the star of the present, not just the future of the Gopher ground attack, and he needs to add a little flash to take the heat off of QB Mitch Leidner.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Minnesota has stunk when it comes to the tight, emotional battles this year, but this time it’s going to come through. The defense will keep the Badger running game bottled up, Leidner will have a good enough game to go on two key scoring drives, and the Axe will finally come back to the Golden Gopher sidelines for the first time since 2003.

    Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Prediction

    Final Score: Minnesota 23, Wisconsin 20, Line: Wisconsin -3, o/u: COMING

    Must See Rating: 5: Creed – 1: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade … 3.5

    MORE: College Football Bowl Projections After Week 12


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