The Wisconsin Badgers (3-3), axed the Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-4) in overtime, 20-17, keeping Paul Bunyan’s Axe at home for another season.
Wisconsin, who has been fighting off injuries all season, were decimated once more on offense, playing without RBs Nakia Watson and Jalen Berger, but Wisconsin still got their best rushing performance of the season out of Garrett Groshek, who rushed for a career-high 154 yards which was the first 100-yard rushing performance of his career.
The biggest rush by Groshek of the game came in the second quarter, a 39-yard rushing touchdown, which tied the game up at 7-7.
Following a Minnesota field goal in the third quarter, Wisconsin seemed to have some momentum on offense with quarterback Graham Mertz connecting on a couple of deep passes, moving Wisconsin down the field. But any momentum Mertz had would be lost, as he scrambled for a short gain and took a hit to the helmet while diving forward.
Mertz would leave the game, finishing 12-of-20, for 132 yards.
Following Mertz’s departure, Chase Wolf entered the game at quarterback and wasted no time, picking up for Mertz left off and finding Jack Dunn in the end zone on a four-yard touchdown pass. Wisconsin would later add a Collin Larsh, 31-yard field goal, giving the Badgers a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter.
However that lead would quickly evaporate, as Tanner Morgan would find Michael Brown-Stephens for a nine-yard score.
Wisconsin would take over with 4:40 left in regulation.
Following an impressive start to the drive, Wisconsin seemed poised to score the go-ahead points, but instead drew up a passing play where Wolf’s pass was intercepted in the end zone trying to connect with Devin Chandler. Following the interception, Wisconsin’s defense held Minnesota off the board, forcing overtime.
In overtime, Minnesota had the first crack at scoring and almost had it’s drive ended when Noah Burks nearly intercepted Morgan, on a pass that likely would have led to a Gopher score had Burks not knocked it down.
Following the narrowly intercepted pass, Minnesota kicker Anders Gelencinskyj missed the go-ahead field giving Wisconsin an opportunity to seal the game.
When Wisconsin got it’s chance in overtime, it was a steady diet of Groshek runs, until Larsh eventually booted the 30-yard game-winner through the uprights.