MADISON - It was only fitting that senior Montee Ball was one of the first players to hoist Paul Bunyan’s Axe into the air with junior James White not too far behind.
Wisconsin’s one-punch at running back was more than enough to keep the trophy on the Badgers sideline for another season, as Wisconsin rushed for 337 yards and five touchdowns in a 38-13 victory over Minnesota at Camp Randall Stadium.
The victory gives Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten) bowl eligibility for the its 11th-straight season (continuing its program record) and, most importantly, beat border-rival Minnesota for a program-record ninth straight season.
Struggling at the beginning, White ignited the offense in the early going, opening the scoring with a 14-yard run in the first quarter and a 34-yard sprint at the end of the half to give Wisconsin a 14-6 lead.
Throw in his 48-yard touchdown run late in the third, White finished with 175 yards on 15 carries, falling just short of his career-high of 181 yards set at Michigan in 2010 season.
While White did most of the grunt work in the beginning, Ball finished off Minnesota in the fourth quarter. Rushing for 93 of his 166 yards in the fourth quarter, Ball’s two scores give him 74 for his career, bringing him with five of setting a new NCAA record.
The Gophers (4-3, 0-3) managed only 245 yards of offense and have lost its first three conference games for the third straight season.
coverage from Badgernation.com, the Internet’s No.1 subscriber site for UW sports
Audio: Inside the Locker Room
Game recap: Running game has UW pointed in the right direction
Once again, Wisconsin's defense shuts down the opposition
Notes: Ryan Groy solid in first start at left tackle
Wisconsin 38, Minnesota 13
3 plays, 59 yards, 1:02 TOP, 9:21 left
James White 14-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play:Breaking out another brand new formation, Wisconsin runs the wildcat on back-to-back plays, and White runs out the nine-man box for a touchdown.
6 plays, 65 yards, 3:07 TOP, 6:14 left
Brandon Green 16-yard pass from Philip Nelson (kick failed)
Key Play:It was a horrible drive all the way around for Wisconsin. Jack Russell kicked the kickoff out of bounds, Mike Taylor fell for a run fake that resulted in an 18-yard pass down the seam, Chris Borland got juked by Nelson and the entire defense failed to cover Green.
5 plays, 70 yards, 2:01 TOP, 1:49 left
James White 34-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play:White has been white hot in the first half, as his touchdown run around the left side was accomplished with pure speed. The run gives him seven carries for 98 yards and both of UW's scores.
6 plays, 21 yards, 2:03 TOP, 7:43 left
FG Kyle French 33
Key Play:An incredible interception by senior cornerback Devin Smith - using his strength to breakup a sure completion and intercept the tipped pass - gave Wisconsin the ball at the Minnesota 37-yard line.
4 plays, 59 yards, 1:20 TOP, 5:2 left
James White 38-yard run
Key Play:With a little juke between the hashes, White got all the running room he needed, going untouched for the touchdown.
9 plays, 66 yards, 5:10 TOP, :12 left
A.J. Barker 12-yard pass from Nelson (Jordan Wettstein kick)
Key Play:It hasn't been the best day for Philip Nelson, but the true freshman showed some poise on the scoring drive, going a perfect 4-for-4 and hitting Barker between three defenders for the score.
11 plays, 60 yards, 4:13 TOP, 10:57 left
Montee Ball 14-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play:On what could be one of the plays of the game, Montee Ball kept the drive moving with a gritty 13-yard run on third-and-11. Instead having to punt the ball back to Minnesota, Wisconsin drove all the way for the score.
3 plays, 44 yards, 1:24 TOP, 9:21 left
Montee Ball 44-yard run (Kyle French kick)
Key Play:It's evident that Minnesota's defense has thrown in the towel, as Ball's 44-yard run was right up the gut and not one Gophers player touched him.
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