Wisconsin vs. Minnesota prediction and game preview. The Badgers can clinch a trip to the Big Ten championship game with a victory over the Golden Gophers.
Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 26 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisc.
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
There’s no complicated scenario for Wisconsin. If it beats Minnesota, it will be playing in Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship, no matter if Nebraska beats Iowa on Friday. But if the Golden Gophers pull a stunner in Madison, the Cornhuskers would be off to the title game with a win over the Hawkeyes.
The Badgers have won five in a row and are coming off a 49-20 win over Purdue. Minnesota is going for its ninth victory, but it hasn’t beaten a team that currently has a winning record. The Golden Gophers have won five of their last six after defeating Northwestern last week, 29-12.
What To Know About Wisconsin
The Badgers have outscored their last two opponents 97-23, and the uptick in scoring primarily is because of the running game. Corey Clement has gone for more than 100 yards in three straight games and five of his last six after rushing for 112 and a touchdown last week against Purdue. Coach Paul Chryst is openly using a two-quarterback system with Bart Houston and Alex Hornibrook sharing time. They combined to go 12 of 15 while each threw a touchdown pass against the Boilermakers.
The defense has continued to step up and secured three interceptions last week. It has forced four turnovers in each of the last two games and its 21 takeaways rank third in the Big Ten, two behind Minnesota’s 23 that lead the conference.
What To Know About Minnesota
It’s true that the Gophers’ schedule hasn’t been extremely challenging, but they’ve still beaten most of the teams put in front of them. The defense has allowed fewer than 400 yards in nine of the 11 games and has one of the conference’s better linemen in Steven Richardson.
Running back Rodney Smith has slowed down a bit, though. After going four straight games with at least 100 yards, Smith has combined for 85 over the last two while averaging 2.6 per carry. He did score last week against Northwestern, and his 15 touchdown runs lead the conference.
Offense: Even – It’s going to be run-heavy on both sides with Clement and Smith.
Defense: Wisconsin – This is the difference. The Badgers have more talent and have faced better competition to justify the numbers, and they’re No. 1 against the run in the conference.
Special Teams: Minnesota – Emmit Carpenter is 20 for 22 on field goals.
Coaching: Wisconsin – Paul Chryst has done a great job with this Badgers team as it seeks a major bowl bid.
Intangibles: Wisconsin – The Badgers have won 12 straight meetings.
Matchup To Watch
Smith vs. Wisconsin’s defense
Mitch Leidner is a decent quarterback, but his touchdown pass last week was his first in six games. Smith is what drives the Minnesota offense, and if he can’t get going against Wisconsin’s D, that’ll be all she wrote.
Spread: Wisconsin -14.5
Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Prediction
The Badgers will bottle up Smith, intercept Leidner twice and feed Clement until he hits 125 yards and two touchdowns in an easy victory.
Wisconsin vs. Minnesota final score prediction: Wisconsin 35, Minnesota 10