For the first time since 2003, and the first time on the road since 1994, the Golden Gophers have reclaimed Paul Bunyan’s Axe from rival Wisconsin. The seven-win Badgers were favored by 10.5 points, but apparently, no one told the Gophers. The youngest team in FBS jumped out to a 17-0 lead and never looked back.
What Went Right For Minnesota
No Big Pass Plays, But No Mistakes
Quarterback Tanner Morgan completed nine of 16 pass attempts for 124 yards and, more importantly, no interceptions.
Some help from the Badgers
The defense feasted on mistakes by Badger quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. In all, the Gophers scored 17 points off of turnovers.
Mohamed Ibrahim just gets better each week. He carried the ball 26 times for 121 yards and found the end zone again. Bryce Williams added two more rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter. I would never have guessed that the team would be able to run the ball this effectively without Rodney Smith OR Shannon Brooks.
The defense played its best game of the year.
It was not surprising to see a report Sunday morning from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that interim defensive coordinator Joe Rossi has had the “interim” removed from his title. Jacob Huff had 10 total tackles, six solo, and his brother Julian had one of the three interceptions. Gary Moore had a strip sack of Hornibrook, and Thomas Barber recovered the fumble. I could go on and on.
Oh, and they did most of this without linebacker Blake Cashman, arguably their best player on defense. More on that later.
What Went Wrong
The targeting foul on Cashman. I thought it was a borderline call, and when you’re talking about a penalty that removes a player from the game, it should have to be more obvious than “borderline”.
Paul Bunyan’s Axe is back!