Badgers, Gophers locked in tight battle at Big Ten West clincher

Badgers, Gophers locked in tight battle at Big Ten West clincher

Everyone knows what’s at stake in Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon: the Big Ten West title.

Win, and you get a shot at the nation’s top team next Saturday in the Big Ten Championship Game.

For Wisconsin, that means a chance to exact revenge on Ohio State from last month’s blowout loss on the road. For Minnesota, it’s an opportunity to prove to the nation that the Golden Gophers are for real.

Both teams, though? Pretty good, with the Badgers on top 10-7 at halftime at TCF Bank Stadium.

Minnesota (10-1) struck first on Rashod Bateman’s 51-yard touchdown grab from Tanner Morgan, just two and a half minutes into the game.

But Wisconsin (9-2) 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.

Saturday’s winner advances to next Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis. Saturday’s loser will wait until next week to find out the bowl it will be heading to.

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