Wisconsin Beats Minnesota 20-7
November 23, 2013

Strong defense, led by linebacker Chris Borland, led Wisconsin to a 20-7 win over Minnesota, stopping the Gophers’ four-game winning streak and extending the Badgers’ winning streak over Minnesota to 10 games.

Borland had 12 tackles, the last one stopping David Cobb short of a first down to turn the ball back to Wisconsin, caused and recovered one fumble, and assisted on another tackle that led to a fumble. “I think he’s the best linebacker in the country,” said Wisconsin’s first-year coach, Gary Andersen.

The Gophers’ got their only points early in the second quarter when linebacker Aaron Hill picked off Joel Stave’s third-down pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown for a 7-3 Minnesota lead..

Later in the quarter Minnesota faced a third-and-long when Borland slowed a scrambling Philip Nelson, who was then hit by Brendan Kelly and fumbled. Borland recovered on the Minnesota 49. James White ran for 19 yards, and Stave followed with a 20-yard pass to Jacob Pedersen. White eventually ran the ball in from the 1 to put the Badgers ahead 10-7.

Jack Russell’s field goal late in the half made the score 13-7, and Stave led the opening drive of the third quarter for a touchdown. “It was good to see Joel get that done,” said Andersen, responding to a question about a lack of confidence the quarterback may have had after his first-half interception and some missed passes.

The Wisconsin running tandem of White and Melvin Gordon, each of whom has rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season, carried for 130 and 75 yards, but Andersen said it was “tough sledding in the running game.

“We tried to mix it up with play-action passes, try to soften the defense a bit.”

Stave finished with 16 completions in 26 attempts for 127 yards; seven of the catches, totaling 67 yards, were by Jared Abbrederis. Nelson completed only 7 of 23 passes for 83 yards, and the Badgers held Minnesota to 185 yards from scrimmage.

“Every possession was big in the game,” said Andersen. “The turnovers were huge.”

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, who called the Badgers the most underrated team in the country, agreed. “This turnover thing will drive you nuts.

“We played physical enough to win this. We just didn’t make some plays.”

With a gametime temperature of 18 degrees and a northwest wind at 13 miles an hour, Andersen said it was the coldest football game he’s ever been involved in.

Kill refused to view the game as a moral victory but said, “We showed people we can play a good brand of football. “We’ve got to build on that.”

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