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Five Things You Need To Know: Gophers Travel to Rival Wisconsin

10/16/2012, 2:15pm CDT
By U of M Athletic Communications

The Gophers hope to replicate this site - claim the Axe in Madison.

Five Things You Need To Know

1. Minnesota travels to Wisconsin on Saturday for a border battle game. Minnesota leads the all-time series against Wisconsin 58-55-8. The Gophers are 21-32-6 at Wisconsin and have not won in Madison since a 17-14 victory on Oct. 22, 1994. Since 1948, the two team’s have been playing for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. The Badgers are the current holders of the coveted trophy. The Gophers last win in the series was a 37-34 home triumph on Nov. 8, 2003. Minnesota also won in 2001, snapping a six-game losing streak to Wisconsin. Minnesota enters Saturday’s game having lost eight straight to Wisconsin. The longest winning streak by either school is nine games, which Minnesota accomplished from 1933-1941. The rivalry between the two schools is the longest in the FBS.

2. Minnesota has dropped two straight games, but showed defensive improvements in both games. The Gopher defense has not allowed an offense point in the second half of each of its last two games. Minnesota trailed at Iowa 24-0 before losing 31-13. The lone touchdown Iowa scored in the second half was an interception return. The Gophers also held the Hawkeye offense to only 49 yards in the second half. The Gophers trailed Northwestern 21-10 at the half before falling 21-13. Minnesota held Northwestern to 77 total yards in the second half. The Wildcats entered the game averaging 432.5 yards and 32.8 points, but were held to a season-low 21 points and 275 yards (second-lowest this season). 

3. MarQueis Gray returned to the lineup last Saturday and played both quarterback and wide receiver before leaving the game with an injury in the third quarter. Gray rushed nine times for 86 yards and one touchdown. He was also 7-of-11 passing for 66 yards and caught one pass from Max Shortell for 16 yards. It was his first reception since catching three passes for 33 yards versus Iowa on Nov. 27, 2010. During his career, he has passed for 2,042 yards, rushed for 1,661 yards and caught 49 balls for 661 yards. He is the only FBS player to do that since 1996. The next closest was New Mexico State’s Paul Dombrowski, (2,438 passing, 1,446 rushing and 1,200 receiving from 2002-05). Gray has rushed for 215 more yards than Dombrowski.
4. The Gophers have used 76 players through six games this season. Thirty-two of those 76 players (42.1 percent) had never played a game for Minnesota prior to this season. The Gophers have used 10 true freshman this year, 10 redshirt freshman and 12 additional players who made their Maroon and Gold debut this season.

5. A win on Saturday would be coach Kill’s first Big Ten road win and the first for the Gophers in a league road game since they won 38-34 at Illinois on Nov. 13, 2010.

A Gopher Victory would ...
• give Minnesota a 5-2 record, which would be its best record after seven games since 2008 (team was 6-1 in 2008)
• be the team’s first Big Ten road win under head coach Jerry Kill and the team’s first conference road win since Nov.
13, 2010 at Illinois
• be their fifth of the season, giving Minnesota five wins in a season for the first time since 2009
• improve Jerry Kill’s record at Minnesota to 8-11
• snap an eight-game losing streak to Wisconsin
• be the 25th time that Minnesota would win Paul Bunyan’s Axe
• be the team’s first win at Wisconsin since a 17-14 victory on Oct. 22, 1994
• be the program’s 651st victory

A Gopher Loss would ...
• be Minnesota’s third of the season
• be the team’s ninth straight to Wisconsin
• give Minnesota an 0-3 start in the Big Ten for the third straight year
• be the program’s 464th loss.

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