Since 2003, the Gophers schedule has always ended with one thing missing….a win vs. Wisconsin.
That changed on Nov. 24, 2018, when P.J. Fleck and Co. rowed into Madison and emerged with a 37-15 win vs. the Badgers. The win not only gave the Gophers the Axe, but it also made the team bowl eligible with a 6-6 record in Fleck’s second year as head coach. The win was Minnesota’s first win in Madison since 1994.
201: Rushing yards for Minnesota in the win. Mohamed Ibrahim had 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 26 attempts while Bryce Williams added eight carries for 50 yards and two huge second-half touchdowns.
121.4: Tanner Morgan’s passer rating in the victory. Morgan completed nine of his 16 passes for 124 yards.
76: Receiving yards for Tyler Johnson on four catches to lead the team. Chris Autman-Bell contributed with three catches for 26 yards and Bateman added two catches for 22 yards.
10: Tackles for Jacob Huff, including one break-up and one forced fumble. As a team, Minnesota forced four fumbles, losing one.
3: Players with an interception for the Gophers in the win, including Julian Huff. Huff stepped up big after Blake Cashman was ejected for targeting in the first half.
19: First downs for Minnesota with seven of them coming in the fourth quarter. The Gophers also went 5-14 on third down, including 3-5 in the final 15:00.
0: Turnovers for Minnesota, a huge reason why the team is heading back to Minneapolis with the Axe. Another huge stat was Fleck deciding to go for it on fourth down three times, extending the drive each time.
35:06: Minnesota dominated time of possession, allowing Wisconsin to only have the ball for 24:54 in the game. The Golden Gophers averaged 5.2 yards on their 63 plays and 4.3 per rush. Minnesota went four-for-five in the red zone.
6-6: The Gophers record makes them bowl eligible, something many Gophers fans weren’t expecting after what has been a roller coaster of a season. Minnesota earned wins this season over New Mexico State, Fresno State, Miami (OH), Indiana, Purdue, and Wisconsin.
11: The win for Paul Bunyan’s Axe was No. 11 for Fleck in his second season in maroon and gold. The Gophers will wait to hear where they will play their 13th game of the season in the next week. The biggest benefit of becoming bowl eligible is how much more practice the team will get together.