November 27, 2014

Badger volleyball team claims share of Big Ten title

The 2nd ranked Wisconsin women’s volleyball team earned a 3-1 victory over last place Rutgers to post its 18th straight victory.  The Badgers (27-2, 18-1 Big Ten) clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 2001.  It is the fifth conference crown in school history.

Wisconsin set a school record with its 18th Big Ten win while the Badgers’ 18th straight victory ties the school record for overall consecutive wins set in 1997.  The Badgers finished the season with a perfect 10-0 conference record on the road, the best mark in school history.

The Badgers have a chance to clinch the conference championship outright with a win over No. 19 Purdue on Friday night at the UW Field House.

Badger women’s volleyball shoots for share of Big Ten title tonight

Wisconsin Volleyball

Wisconsin Volleyball

It’s been 13 years since the Wisconsin volleyball team won a Big Ten Conference title.  That streak could come to an end this week.

The Badgers need just one more match victory to claim a share of the Big Ten Championship.  It starts with a road game at last-place Rutgers tonight, for a chance to at least share the title with Penn State.  But a win over the Scarlet Knights and another over 16th-ranked Purdue on Friday will give Wisconsin the championship outright.

The Badgers enter action tonight riding a school-record 17 straight conference match win streak and leading the league with a 17-1 record.  Penn State is 16-2 with only two matches remaining and face a road match at Northwestern and a home match against No. 11 Nebraska.

Wisconsin has captured four Big Ten titles (1990, 1997, 2000 and 2001).  Friday’s match against Purdue is already sold out.

New policy for Paul Bunyan’s Axe

Paul Bunyan's Axe

Paul Bunyan’s Axe

The Wisconsin Badgers currently have possession of Paul Bunyan’s Axe.  If the Minnesota Gophers can pull off the upset over the Badgers on Saturday, they won’t have the chance to sprint across the field to the Badger sideline to take back the Axe.

The two schools decided to change policy after an incident in Minneapolis last season almost led to a brawl.  Minnesota players circled the goal post near their student section in an attempt to block the Wisconsin players from using the axe to hack away at the goal post, which is part of the tradition.  That’s when things got ugly.

Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen approached the UW administration about a change.  Athletic Director Barry Alvarez approved that change.

Now, the Axe will be on the field for the pregame coin toss, then taken inside the stadium.  It will be handed over to the winning team after the game and the players can then come back out onto the field after the game to celebrate with their fans.

Also at stake in Saturday’s game is the Big Ten Conference West Division title and a trip to the Big Ten Championship game.  It’s a winner-take-all scenario for both teams, who are tied atop the Big Ten’s West division entering play.

Kaminsky is Big Ten Player of the Week

Frank Kaminsky

Frank Kaminsky

Wisconsin Badger senior center Frank Kaminsky is the Big Ten’s Co-Player of the Week after averaging 23 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks and 1.5 steals a game in Badger victories over Green Bay and Boise State.

Kaminsky scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds with 7 blocked shots in the win over Green Bay.  He poured in 26 points on 11 of 13 shooting, including four three-pointers, pulled down five rebounds and 3 blocks in the win over Boise State.

Kaminsky ranks second in the Big Ten in both rebounds (10.3rpg) and blocks (2.8 bpg).  He earned his third career Big Ten Player of the Week award, sharing the honor with Ohio State’s Shannon Scott.

Gordon named Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Week

Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon

After a rough first half, Melvin Gordon exploded in the second half to help lead the Wisconsin Badgers to a 28-24 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday.  Today, Gordon was named the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Week.

Gordon recorded 264 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns to lead Wisconsin to the win.  He rushed for 200 yards on 31 carries, matching the Big Ten and school record for most rushing yards in a season of 2,109 yards set by former Badger Ron Dayne in 1996.

Gordon also became the fastest player to reach 2,000 yards in NCAA history, doing so on his 241st carry of the season.

It’s the fourth Offensive Player of the Week award of his career and third this season.

Gordon loses single game record

Just seven days after Melvin Gordon set the FBS single-game rushing record (408 yards), Oklahoma freshman Samaje Perine bested Gordon with 427 yards on 34 carries as the Sooners racked up a 44-7 win over Kansas.

Gordon earned his 408 yards on just 25 carries, while it took Perine 34 carries for his record performance.