Ball, Badgers Torch Rival Gophers

(AP) Montee Ball broke the Big Ten’s single-season touchdown record and 16th-ranked Wisconsin trampled Minnesota 42-13 to keep Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the eighth straight year – and stay in the conference title chase. Russell Wilson had a season-high four touchdown passes. He was on target with every throw and every decision, connecting on all but his last throw, a deep ball that Nick Toon had in his hands but let trickle out as he hit the turf hard midway through the third quarter. Toon, who finished with eight catches for 100 yards and two scores, was shaken up on that play. Wilson went 16 for 17 for 178 yards. In just 10 games, Ball has 27 total touchdowns. Read the full AP recap, see the box score and view the Big Ten scoreboard.

Check out our quarter-by-quarter recap, powered by Narrative Science:

FINAL: One of the best running backs in the Big Ten, No. 14 Wisconsin’s Montee Ball ran all over Minnesota, helping Wisconsin (8-2) to a 42-13 victory on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. Ball, who came in ranked No. 2 in the conference in rushing yards at 1076 on the year, rushed 23 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns. MarQueis Gray threw for 51 yards while going 6-14 for Minnesota (2-8). He threw one interception. Gray also ran for 68 yards on 19 attempts. The Golden Gophers racked up 160 total yards, including 51 yards passing while completing six of 16 attempts. Minnesota’s ground game balanced its offense, bringing 109 yards on 32 attempts. The Badgers’ Russell Wilson was good for 177 yards during the game, completing 16 of 17 passes. Wilson finished the game with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Nick Toon was a key target for Wilson. He caught eight passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Wisconsin’s offense finished the game having gained 462 yards. The Badgers’ rushing attack contributed 285 yards on 45 carries in addition to Wilson’s passing effort.

FOURTH QUARTER: Wisconsin picked up 81 yards in the ground game during the fourth quarter, and the Badgers finished off Minnesota 42-13. Wisconsin closed the game on a 14-point run. The Badgers opened up the lead, 42-13, after Montee Ball pounded in a three-yard touchdown run to end a seven-play, 50-yard drive.

THIRD QUARTER: Wisconsin gained 84 yards on the ground in the third, and the margin is still 22, as the Badgers lead 35-13. Wisconsin held Minnesota to 32 total yards in the quarter. The Golden Gophers made the score 28-13 when Duane Bennett returned a kickoff for a touchdown. The Badgers opened up the lead, 35-13, after marching down the field for an 11-play, 57-yard drive that ended when Russell Wilson tossed a three-yard touchdown to Jacob Pedersen. Wisconsin’s Montee Ball topped 100 yards rushing for the game in the quarter, and has plenty of time to add to his 134 total yards on the ground. Minnesota will start the fourth quarter with possession on its own 32-yard line.

SECOND QUARTER: At the end of the second quarter, Wisconsin holds a commanding 28-6 lead over Minnesota. The Badgers expanded their lead to 21-0 thanks to a seven-play, 55-yard drive that ended when Russell Wilson and Nick Toon hooked up for a nine-yard touchdown. Wisconsin kept the ball on the ground during the drive, throwing only one pass. The Golden Gophers closed the gap to 21-6 when Jordan Wettstein turned a handoff into a five-yard touchdown to put the finishing touches on a 60-yard drive. The Badgers opened up the lead, 28-6, after Wilson and Toon combined for a 17-yard touchdown to end a five-play, 78-yard drive. Minnesota is set to receive to start the second half.

FIRST QUARTER: No. 14 Wisconsin’s high-powered offense resulted in 14 points in the first, and the Badgers lead 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. Wisconsin threw for 97 yards and ran for 93 yards in the quarter. The Badgers took the game’s first lead after Russell Wilson and Montee Ball hooked up for a five-yard touchdown on the last play of a 12-play, 81-yard drive. Wisconsin expanded its lead to 14-0 thanks to a three-play, 51-yard drive that ended when Ball ran 14 yards to paydirt. The Badgers will start the second quarter with good field position on Minnesota’s eight-yard line.

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