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Badgers cut down Gophers to retain Axe, 41-23

Badger Gameday: Minnesota

20 Wisconsin 41, Minnesota 23
Camp Randall Stadium • Madison, Wis.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
0 9
0 14 23
Final Stats  |  Final Stats Get     Acrobat  Reader
• Attendance: 80,328
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 Statistical Leaders
 • Rushing: John Clay - 21 Rush, 111 Yds, 3 TD
 • Passing: Scott Tolzien - 17-23, 223 Yds, TD
 • Receiving: Lance Kendricks - 5 Rec, 75 Yds
 • Defense: Mike Taylor - 7 Tkl, 3.0 TFL
 Scoring Summary
 First Quarter
9:00 Abbrederis 3 TD pass from Tolzien (Welch kick)
WIS 2:30 Clay 1 TD run (Welch kick)
 Second Quarter
MIN 6:21 Ellestad 24 FG
MIN 0:24
Gray 9 TD pass from Weber (kick failed)
 Third Quarter
WIS 9:18 White 8 TD run (Welch kick)
WIS 1:50
Clay 4 TD run (Welch kick)
 Fourth Quarter
 WIS 11:55 Clay 8 TD run (Welch kick)
MIN 11:11 McKnight 22 TD pass from Weber (Ellestad kick)
WIS 6:39
White 1 TD run (conversion failed)
McKinght 29 TD pass from Weber (Ellestad kick)
 Stats at a Glance
 • First Downs
16 30
 • Total Offensive Yards
345 473
 • Passing Yards
249 223
 • Rushing Yards
96 250
 • Penalties-Yards
 • Turnovers 0
 • Punts-Avg.
4-38.2 2-39.5
 • Punt Returns-Avg.
0-0.0 1-9.0
 • Kick Returns-Avg. 5-22.0 5-17.2
 • 3rd-Down Conversions 3-13 7-9
 • 4th-Down Conversions 3-4 0-0
 • Time of Possession
25:58 34:02
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Oct. 9, 2010

Final Stats  |  Final Stats Get    Acrobat  Reader  |  Notes

MADISON, Wis. -- Minnesota did its best to keep the ball away from John Clay, James White and the rest of the Wisconsin offense.

With four straight touchdowns to open the second half, however, the Badgers made sure they kept Paul Bunyan's Axe away from their Border Battle rival for a seventh-consecutive season.

Clay found the end zone three times and White added two more rushing scores as the 20th-ranked Badgers (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten) plowed and passed their way to a 41-23 Homecoming win over the Golden Gophers (1-5, 0-2) in front of 80,328 fans at Camp Randall Stadium.

The duo of Clay and White combined for 229 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the day, including four in the second half, as the Badgers ran away with the win. White finished with 118 yards and two scores, while Clay had 111 yards and three touchdowns -- the second time in three games that both have surpassed the 100-yard mark.

Quarterback Scott Tolzien was equally effective through the air, completing 17 of 23 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown. Freshman wide receiver Jared Abbrederis was on the receiving end of that passing score, while senior tight end Lance Kendricks hauled in five catches for a team-high 75 yards.

Junior receiver Nick Toon had six grabs for 52 yards, as well.

 Instant Impressions
Clock work key to Border Battle win
At halftime, before No. 20 Wisconsin had closed the book on its 41-23 win over rival Minnesota, it seemed as though the winner of the time of possession battle would also win the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe, Brian Mason writes.  |  Story

It was a strong day all around for the balanced Badgers offense, which rolled up 250 yards on the ground and had 223 through the air. UW scored touchdowns on all six of its red-zone trips, finishing with 30 first downs and converting 7 of 9 attempts on third down.

Conversely, the Gophers managed only 96 rushing yards and were held to a 3-for-13 mark on third-down attempts.

After a pair of prolonged drives allowed the Gophers to hold the ball for 12 minutes of the second quarter and cut UW's lead to 14-9 at intermission, the Badgers took the ball to start the third period and never looked back.

Despite Minnesota's stranglehold on the time of possession in the second quarter, the Badgers controlled the ball throughout the second half and, for the game, finished with a ball-control advantage of better than eight minutes.

UW chewed up 5:34 of clock to march 64 yards in 11 plays on its first second-half possession, a drive White capped with an 8-yard scoring run. Clay and White combined to run the ball on eight of the drive's 11 plays.

The Badgers worked through the air when they got the ball back, and they found similar results. Tolzien connected with Kendricks on a pair of passes to pick up first downs and then found him again on a 9-yard connection that set the table for Clay's rumbling 4-yard touchdown run.

Clay struck again on Wisconsin's first possession of the fourth quarter, an expedited drive that saw the Badgers find the end zone in just five plays. David Gilreath opened things up with a 14-yard gain on an end-around, White added a 24-yard breakaway run and Tolzien hit Gilreath for a 23-yard pickup to set up Clay's finishing move.

He covered the final 19 yards on a pair of runs, including an 8-yard touchdown push.

Minnesota answered with a quick score on a touchdown pass from Adam Weber to Da'Jon McKnight, but the Badgers got back to business on their ensuing possession.

UW used nine plays to cover 76 yards on its way to another score, including the 40 White covered with four runs that included another 24-yard breakaway. He was ruled out of bounds at the 1 after some nifty footwork but punched the score home on the Badgers' next snap.

His second rushing score of the day staked the Badgers to a 41-16 lead with 6:39 to play.

The Gophers struck again on another Weber-to-McKnight connection from 29 yards, but the Badgers were able to grind out the rest of the period to salt away the victory.

In the first quarter, the Badgers appeared to have the upper hand after holding the Gophers on an early fourth-down attempt in UW territory. The Badgers took over and marched 69 yards on their initial drive on the strength of power running by Clay and White.

The Badgers went to the air to cap the drive, however, with Tolzien finding freshman Abbrederis on a quick pass from the 3-yard line to stake UW to an early 7-0 lead.

The defense again held firm when the Gophers got the ball back, forcing Minnesota back to its own 5-yard line with a sack of Weber. A short punt out of the Gophers' end zone set UW up with field position in Minnesota territory to start their second drive.

That possession was more of the same, with the Badgers steadily marching down field before Clay used the push up front to stroll into the end zone from 1 yard out for his first score of the day.

Minnesota grabbed momentum with their long drives in the second quarter, but the damage inflicted by those possessions was limited as UW held the Gophers to a 24-yard field goal on the first and watched a botched extra-point attempt on the second.

The first-half numbers were much more balanced, statistically, with Minnesota gaining 162 total yards in the half to 156 for the Badgers. Both teams had nine first downs, and the Badgers finished the half with 78 passing yards to Minnesota's 77.

Wisconsin now turns its attention to extending its six-game home win streak when No. 2 Ohio State comes to Camp Randall next Saturday, Oct. 16, for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

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