SnoTap Badgers Preview: Wisconsin vs. Minnesota
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how Minnesota could be a trouble spot for Wisconsin. Even though the Badgers are a 17-point favorite, Minnesota would love nothing more than ending the Badgers’ perfect season. Minnesota is 5-6 with one win away from bowl eligibility, and P.J. Fleck could get his signature win as the Gophers’ coach. They also haven’t beat Wisconsin in 14 years. There are Wisconsin high schoolers who don’t know what a loss to Minnesota feels like. While there are many things to be worried about, Badgers do have the upper hand in this game, and they need to just do their job.
Jonathan Taylor should run wild
Minnesota has major issues against the run, and that could mean a huge day for Wisconsin’s rushing offense. Gophers are allowing 161 yards per game and teams are averaging 4.64 yards against them. Northwestern’s Justin Jackson had a day against these Gophers last week going off for 166 yards, and Michigan’s rushing attack had a great day against them earlier this season. Taylor could have a massive day versus the Gophers.
Badgers defense poised to have another fierce day
To me, Wisconsin’s defense is having the best month of any unit in college football. Badgers defense allowed only 10 points in the last two games, and they haven’t allowed more than 17 points since late September. Minnesota can run the football, but the problem is Wisconsin’s defense leads the league against the run. That’s bad news for the Gophers since they’re one of the worst passing offenses in college football. Minnesota struggled to score points in the Big Ten season minus the Nebraska as the Gophers have only scored on average 13.5 points. That’s not an encouraging sign versus Wisconsin.
Paul Chryst seems to have the team’s eye on the Axe
One thing that stood out to me this week with Wisconsin was Paul Chryst’s focus on Saturday’s game. They brought Paul Bunyan’s Axe to practice every day this week and felt the message was ‘This is the game you’re playing this Saturday, not Ohio State.’ This could easily be a lookahead spot for Wisconsin, and this game ends up way closer than it needs to be. But it appears that Wisconsin knows what’s in front of them this week, even if, this could get a little scary.
While I’ve been calling out how scary this game could be for the Badgers, I have a hard time seeing them losing this game or this one staying close. Minnesota cannot score enough against this defense, and Wisconsin can control this game on the ground. Badgers will be undefeated heading into their matchup against Ohio State. UW 34-14