Gophers suffer from same bitter recipe in a 28-14 loss to Wisconsin

The Gophers couldn’t reverse two negative trends in the Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe on Saturday.

In November, Minnesota’s offense continued to disappear in second halves, and the U defense kept suffering from self-inflicted miscues.

Combined, it led to Wisconsin scoring 21 unanswered points, including 14 in the second half, to beat Minnesota 28-14 at Huntington Bank Stadium.

The Gophers had won two straight games over Wisconsin and were attempting its first three-peat in the rivalry since the mid-1980s.

Minnesota (5-7, 3-6 Big Ten) has now lost four straight games, while Wisconsin (7-5, 5-4) finished the season on the upswing with two straight wins.

Minnesota was looking to possess the both the Axe and Floyd of Rosedale trophy for the first season since 1990. They now only have the pig after beating Iowa in October.

The U needed a win to reach bowl eligibility, but there remains a chance for the U to still reach a bowl, if there aren’t enough six-win teams across the country.

The Gophers defense’s own errors were at fault as the Badgers took a 21-14 lead. Multiple players missed tackles as Braelon Allen churned out a 50-yard gain. Allen scored a 4-yard TD on the next play.

Minnesota converted a fourth and one from their 38-yard line with a toss play to Jordan Nubin fort 17 yards. But three plays later Kaliamnis overthrew Elijah Spencer and the U was forced to punt.

Wisconsin extended its lead with a 10-play, 86-yard touchdown drive to make it 28-14 at the end of the third quarter.

The Gophers comeback bid was put under with a turnover on downs, a lost fumble and a interception in the fourth quarter.

On its opening drive of the game, the Gophers mixed together run and pass to great success to score a touchdown. A shallow crossing route from Kaliakmanis to Jackson went for a 30-yard gain and Jordan Nubin plunged across the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown.

After being shutout on opening drives in their first eight games this season, Minnesota has scored a touchdown to begin three of the last four games. The Ohio State loss was the one exception.

That touchdown held up after the first quarter.

Wisconsin run game broke free on their first tying drive early in the second quarter. Quarterback Tanner Mordecai forced missed tackles in space from Jack Henderson on a 19 yard gain and Cody Lindenberg for 15 more yards. Then Tailback Braelen Allen scored on a 5-yard touchdown, outracing Tyler Nubin to the pylon.

The Gophers took a 14-7 lead with a 7-yard connection from Kaliakmanis to Jackson. The drive was aided by two Badgers pass interference penalties.

Wisconsin went to the air for its second tying late in these second quarter, with completions of 35 and 24 yards before an 11-yard connection from Mordecai to Will Pauling.

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