MADISON, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 02: Wisconsin defensive coach Jim Leonhard looks on in the fourth quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium on October 02, 2021 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Football: What to Expect vs. Minnesota in week 13

Wisconsin Football: What to Expect vs. Minnesota in Week 13

The Wisconsin Badgers (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten) host the Minnesota Gophers (7-4, 4-4 Big Ten) in the last game of the regular season.  This Saturday will be the 132nd time these two teams have played against each other.  Both teams are out in the running for the Big Ten West, but there is plenty at stake with Paul Bunyan’s Axe.  Wisconsin Football is looking to get the axe back in Madison and bragging rights over their oldest rival.

Here is what to expect…


Offensively

The Badgers will want to run the ball all game.  Braelon Allen left late in the game vs. Nebraska with a right leg injury, but initial indications point to him playing this week.  With all three backs for the Badgers healthy, I expect them to be a part of the game plan.  Minnesota is stingy vs. the run, only giving up 102.5 yards per game.  This will be a game of field position, and the more successful the Badgers can run the ball, the better they will be.

Everyone knows Wisconsin’s identity and game plan regarding the offense, but the passing game has to be better. Minnesota gives up 172.1 yards per game which is fourth in the Big Ten vs. the pass.  Graham Mertz will have to take care of the ball and not force it.  Playing disciplined and patient will be critical to the Badger’s success.

Defensively

Minnesota is one of the top teams in the nation running the ball.  Minnesota’s senior running back Mohamed Ibrahim leads the charge with 1524 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground.  Their game plan is much like the Badgers; they want to run the ball.  Ibrahim is physical and runs with great vision.  The Badgers will have to get after it defensively and not give up anything easy.

The Badgers will be without Nick Herbig in the first half of this game due to the targeting call against Nebraska.  This game will be won in the trenches, and senior Keanu Benton will be called on to lead the way.  Minnesota is not a great passing team, but they protect the quarterback well.  They have only given up ten sacks on the year.  The Badgers need to win early and get them in obvious passing situations.

Conclusion

I expect this game to be anything other than pretty.  The total for the game is only 34.5 points.  Both teams want to run the ball and limit errors.  Though it looks like it won’t be a flashy game, you must love the old-school rivalry. Fueled by hatred and Pual Bunyan’s Axe, expect this to be a good game.


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