Minneapolis — Wisconsin freshman running back Jonathan Taylor took the first carry of the game up the middle, untouched for the first nine yards of a 13-yard run. It was a sign of what was to come for UW as it was pretty much over from there for the Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-7 Big Ten, 5-7 overall) in a 31-0 blowout.
The win for the No. 5 Badgers (9-0, 12-0) officially marked their first undefeated season in school history, overshadowing the excitement of the rivalry game and the return of Paul Bunyan's Axe back to Madison for the 14th straight year.
Taylor finished with 149 yards on 20 carries, capped off with his final carry in the game in the early fourth quarter — a 53-yard breakaway touchdown.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook might have had the more important performance, however, as the frequently scrutinized quarterback put together one of his most consistent showings of the season, going 15-of-19 for 151 yards and three touchdowns. He converted several key third downs and kept drives alive on the rare occasions when the running game stalled.
The Gophers earned their first first-down of the game with 41 seconds left in the first half, showing some life as they drove down for a field goal attempt as the second-quarter clock expired. Minnesota redshirt junior kicker Emmit Carpenter missed a 46-yard field goal heading into halftime and then missed a 48-yard attempt in the fourth quarter to keep the Gophers scoreless in the game.
The Badgers dominated for four quarters and looked like a well-rounded team ready for a tough Big Ten Championship Game next week against Ohio State in Indianapolis.
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