Badgers beat Minnesota, win the Big Ten West

Minnesota’s fairy tale season is no more. The Wisconsin Badgers are the Big Ten West division champions.

The No. 12 Badgers held off the No. 8 Golden Gophers, 38-17, Saturday afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. With the win, Wisconsin punches its ticket to next Saturday’s Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis — a rematch against No. 1 Ohio State.

The Gophers will now await their placement next week for a bowl.

Minnesota (10-2) struck first on Rashod Bateman’s 51-yard touchdown grab from Tanner Morgan, just two and a half minutes into the game.

But Wisconsin (10-2) stuck around, despite fumbling the ball deep in Gophers territory early in the second quarter. A tip drill that ended in the hands of Caesar Williams gave the Badgers new life on Minnesota’s side of the field, and Wisconsin capitalized on Zach Hintze’s 26-yard field goal.

The Badgers’ real offense, however, came by way of Jonathan Taylor, but not on the ground. Late in the second quarter, Taylor, with a defender wrapped around him, hauled in a 28-yard touchdown via Jack Coan.

Coan carried the offense into the second half with a 57-yard touchdown pass to Quintez Cephus and a 70-yard gain on a screen to Garrett Groshek. Taylor capped off the latter possession with a scoring run to push the Badgers ahead 31-10.

Taylor finished the afternoon with just 76 yards, while Coan threw for 280 yards.

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