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October 8, 2010

Revisiting recent 'Axe' battles

MADISON - Over the past six seasons, it's been nothing but Cardinal and White hoisting Paul Bunyan's Axe. With the 120th edition of the rivalry upcoming, BadgerBlitz.com takes a minute to revisit some recent tilts in the rivalry.

Minnesota at No. 25 Wisconsin
Date: Oct. 14, 2006
Final Score: 48-12 Wisconsin

Key players:

-John Stocco - 193 yards passing, four touchdowns.
-P.J. Hill - 25 carries, 164 yards, two touchdowns
-Travis Beckum - Five receptions, 118 yards, two touchdowns

Quick recap:

-Jack Ikegwuonu started things off in UW's favor with a 50-yard fumble return for a touchdown. That opened the floodgates.

By the end of the first half, P.J. Hill, Luke Swan and Andy Crooks added touchdowns of their own and the UW defense limited Minnesota to only three points. When the second half started, UW didn't let off the gas as they added 20 more points.

Beckum caught a 40-yard pass from Stocco to start the third quarter, Hill added another one only four minutes later. Finally Beckum caught his second touchdown of the day midway through the fourth quarter to secure a 48-point outburst from the Badger offense.

Defensively, UW only allowed one touchdown and that came early in the fourth quarter when Amir Pinnix punched it in from two yards out.

The win was UW's sixth win in a season it would eventually finish 12-1, the best record in school history.

No. 25 Wisconsin at Minnesota
Date: Nov. 17, 2007
Final Score: 41-34 Wisconsin

Key players:

-Adam Weber - 352 yards passing, three touchdowns, two interceptions
-Zach Brown - 29 carries, 250 yards, two touchdowns
-Eric Decker - Six receptions, 125 yards, two touchdowns

Quick recap:

Minnesota entered the contest at the bottom of the Big Ten barrel with a 1-10 record in Tim Brewster's first season as head coach of the Gophers. But though their recorded indicated something else, the Gophers gave UW everything it could handle and more.

In a tight first quarter, no team mustered more than a field goal as the teams finished the frame tied at three. In fact, at the half, it was Minnesota that had the lead, 13-10. But behind an electrifying performance from two freshmen, David Gilreath and Zach Brown.

Each player racked up well over 200 yards, Gilreath in the return department and Brown on the ground. But for every big return or every big gain those players had, Minnesota had an answer.

In the end, it took 21 fourth-quarter points for UW to sneak out of the Metrodome with a victory, and a winning record in league play.

Minnesota at Wisconsin
Date: Nov. 15, 2008
Final Score: 35-32 Wisconsin

Key players:

-Adam Weber - 202 yards passing, three touchdowns, one interception
-P.J. Hill - 24 carries, 117 yards and two touchdowns
-Isaac Anderson - Six receptions, 114 yards

Quick recap:

The Badgers scored first on a chilly November afternoon, but for the rest of the first half it was all Minnesota. Brandon Green, Brodrick Smith and Weber scored back-to-back touchdowns in a five-minute game clock span to take a 21-7 lead into the half.

Amidst a showering of boos, Wisconsin bounced back in the second half and outscored the Gophers 28-11 to get its overall record back above .500. For a season that didn't go the way many anticipated, a win over the Gophers secured yet another bowl game.

Wisconsin at Minnesota
Date: Oct. 3, 2009
Final score: 31-28 Wisconsin

Key players:

-Weber - 271 yards passing, one touchdown, one interception
-John Clay - 32 carries, 184 yards, three touchdowns
-Eric Decker - Eight receptions, 140 yards, one touchdown

Quick recap: Wisconsin seemed to have everything under control as the offense marched into the Minnesota red zone midway through the fourth quarter of the inaugural Big Ten game in TCF Bank Stadium. Then Zach Brown fumbled and Marcus Sherels returned it 88 yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 24-21.

UW was able to bounce back from that blunder, though, and punished the Gophers with a long drive capped by a one-yard Clay run. Minnesota struck right back, however, with a quick hitting touchdown drive, capped by Duane Bennett's one-yard scamper.

It wasn't until Blake Sorensen drilled Weber, forcing a fumble Chris Borland would recover, that UW was able to dust off the Axe and celebrate in Minnesota's backyard.





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