(Saturday, October 3rd)
Final Score: Wisconsin 31, Minnesota 28
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - John Clay ran for career-high 184 yards and three touchdowns to power the Wisconsin Badgers in a 31-28 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Big Ten play at new TCF Bank Stadium.
Quarterback Scott Tolzien also had a solid game for the Badgers (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten), as he threw for 159 yards and a score, in addition to rushing for 65 more yards on five carries. Garrett Graham was his main target, as he pulled in seven receptions for 68 yards to give Wisconsin its second 5-0 start under head coach Bret Bielema.
Adam Weber completed 16-of-30 tosses for 271 yards and a score for Minnesota (3-2, 0-1), which suffered its second loss in a row. Eric Decker was his favorite outlet, finishing with eight catches for 140 yards and a touchdown. With his effort, Decker surpassed Ron Johnson as Minnesota's career leader in receiving yards.
The Badgers opened the game's scoring with a Clay two-yard touchdown run on their first possession of the first quarter. The touchdown capped a nine-play, 59-yard drive.
The Gophers though, responded with 10 points in the final three minutes of the opening quarter. Eric Ellestad first booted a 28-yard field goal and that was followed by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Weber to Decker.
Wisconsin knotted the game behind a Philip Welch 39-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
With just over two minutes left before the break, Ellestad hit a 20-yard field goal to complete a 12-play, 76-yard drive and give Minnesota a 13-10 edge at the intermission.
The Badgers regained the lead late in the third quarter when Clay plunged one yard for a score to finish off a nine-play, 70-yard drive.
A five-yard touchdown pass from Tolzien to Lance Kendricks early in the fourth quarter extended Wisconsin's lead to 24-13.
The Badgers were on the verge of putting the game away until Minnesota's defense came up big and returned a fumble 88 yards for a score. The two-point conversion attempt was successful and the Gopher trailed 24-21 with just under seven minutes to play.
Clay though, would put the finishing touches on a terrific performance with a one-yard touchdown run with three minutes to go.
Duane Bennett responded for Minnesota less than a minute later with a one-yard touchdown run, but the Gophers would get no closer in the 31-28 loss.
Wisconsin rushed for 295 yards in the win, while holding Minnesota to a mere 57 yards on the ground.
The win is the Badgers' sixth consecutive in the annual battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe. Minnesota, however, still holds a 59-52-8 lead in the head- to-head series.
10/03 16:27:03 ET