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Grading Wisconsin’s 13th consecutive win over Minnesota

A huge second half powered the Badgers to victory.

Minnesota v Wisconsin Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

It was a tale of two halves on the way to a 13th consecutive Axe Week victory for the Wisconsin Badgers. After a first half that gave the Gophers hope of returning Paul Bunyan’s beauty to Minneapolis for the first time since the Bush administration, the Badgers rallied for a 24-point second half to secure the win.

Here are the unit grades:


First Half: C-

Second Half: B+

Overall: B

Alex Hornibrook did not look great, completing only four passes for 29 yards before going out with an injury late in the second quarter. Bart Houston was competent in relief, going 9-of-14 for 123 yards and zero interceptions. The running game continued its strong play as the Badgers scored four touchdowns and racked up over 200 yards rushing. Jazz Peavy broke off Wisconsin’s longest play from scrimmage in 2016 on a jet sweep to set up the go-ahead score.


First Half: C-

Second Half: A

Overall: B+

The first half was dreadful as the Gophers gained 226 yards and put up 17 points. Justin Wilcox’s second-half adjustments and Leo Musso’s rousing halftime speech rallied the troops, however, as the Badgers regained their fearsome form. Add Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner’s four second-half interceptions to the things we are thankful for in the rivalry with the Gophers.

Special Teams:

First Half: B

Second Half A

Overall: A-

Andrew Endicott made his field goals and extra-point attempts. Anthony Lotti was helpful keeping the field flipped, averaging 43 yards per punt, including a long of 60 yards. The return game was fairly non-existent. P.J. Rosowski continued his quiet domination, sending five of six kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks.


First Half: C+

Second Half A

Overall: B+

The Badgers came out flat and and were flat-out outplayed to start the game. The second-half adjustments were nearly perfect, however, particularly on defense. The jet sweep call was a brilliant chess move that had been set up all game long and sprung at exactly the right time.


First Half: D

Second Half: A

Overall: B+

A birth in the Big Ten championship game was guaranteed to start the day and it seemed like the Badgers were content to back into the game. The first two quarters led to some serious palpitations in Badger Nation as the dream of the College Football Playoff drifted from “absolutely possible” to “nope.” The magic of halftime kicked in, though, and the Axe remained in its rightful Madison home. The Badgers survived and advanced, and now get a shot a Penn State for the Big Ten title.