After falling behind 17-3, the Wisconsin Badgers rebounded for a 34-24 win over the rival Minnesota Gophers to clinch a spot in the Big Ten title game and retain Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the 11th straight season.
The 14th ranked Badgers (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) captured the Big Ten’s West Division title and will face No. 6 Ohio State (11-1, 8-0) on Saturday in Indianapolis. The Badgers last won Big Ten titles in 2011 and 2012.
The Buckeyes closed out the regular season with a 42-28 win over rival Michigan earlier in the day in Columbus, but in the process, the Buckeyes lost their starting quarterback J.T. Barrett for the rest of the season with a broken ankle.
Melvin Gordon rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. He also added a 4-yard touchdown catch. Dayne captured the Wisconsin and Big Ten rushing record for yards in a season with 2,260, surpassing Ron Dayne’s record of 2,109.
Corey Clement was playing with a tender right shoulder, wasn’t playing anywhere near 100%. But he contributed 85 yards and a touchdown on six carries. It was Clement who gave Wisconsin a 20-17 lead in the third quarter with a 28-yard touchdown run.
Joel Stave completed 11 of 18 for 215 yards and two scores. Wide receiver Alex Erickson was his favorite target, catching five passes for 16- yards. He also drew a pair of pass interference penalties.
The Badgers avenged their senior day loss to Penn State last season by beating the Gophers on Saturday.
Wisconsin’s sophomore wide receiver Robert Wheelwright also caught a touchdown pass from Stave, a 17-yard strike in the fourth quarter to add the final points of the day for Wisconsin. It was his first catch of the season and just the third of his college career.
The Badgers keep possession of Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the 11th straight year.