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Minnesota Golden Gophers 2014 opponent profile: Wisconsin

If the Minnesota Golden Gophers are going to re-claim Paul Bunyan's Axe, David Cobb (27) has to dominate.
If the Minnesota Golden Gophers are going to re-claim Paul Bunyan's Axe, David Cobb (27) has to dominate.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Minnesota Golden Gophers finish the 2014 season against their longest running rival, the Wisconsin Badgers. The two teams will play for the Paul Bunyan’s Axe trophy.

2013 Record: 9-4 (7-2 Big Ten)

2013 Offensive Statistics: 34.8 points scored per game, 480.8 total offensive yards per game, 283.8 rushing yards per game, 197.1 passing yards per game, 19 turnovers, 16 sacks allowed

2013 Defensive Statistics: 16.3 points allowed per game, 305.1 total offensive yards allowed per game, 202.5 passing yards allowed per game, 20 turnovers forced, 26 sacks

Head Coach: Gary Andersen (39-35 in six seasons as a head coach, 9-4 in one season at Wisconsin)

Key Returning Offensive Players: RB Corey Clement, OL Kyle Costigan, WR Kenzel Doe, WR Jordan Fredrick, RB Melvin Gordon, OL Rob Havenstein, OL Dallas Lewallen, OL Tyler Marz, QB Joel Stave, FB Derek Watt

Key Returning Defensive Players: S Michael Caputo, NG Bryce Gilbert, CB Darius Hillary, CB Sojourn Shelton, LB Marcus Trotter, DE Konrad Zagzebski

Outlook: After several years of taking a beating, the Gophers finally closed the gap on the Badgers last season. The Gophers had a chance to take control of the game in the first half, but dropped passes on offense and missed tackles on defense allowed the Badgers to get the road win.

The Badgers have won Paul Bunyan’s Axe 10 straight seasons by a combined score of 372-210, including a 141-56 advantage in the last three meetings.

Winning Paul Bunyan’s Axe is one of the Gophers top priorities every season. The way to beat the Badgers is to stop the running game on offense and force them to throw the ball and take advantage of the opportunities that their defense allows.