The No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) looked like they may have been caught sleepwalking their way through their regular season finale on Saturday, but a 21-0 fourth quarter advantage rallied the Big Ten West Division champions past rival Minnesota (8-4, 5-4 Big Ten). The Badgers closed out a 10-win regular season with a 31-17 thumping of Minnesota by shutting out the Gophers in the second half.
Corey Clement scored two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the Gophers were crumbling. Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner was picked off four times in the loss and he completed just nine of 26 pass attempts for 158 yards. Leidner also led the Gophers on the ground with 46 yards and a touchdown. Leidner played well in the first half but could not make a big play in the second half. The Badgers had to replace Alex Hornibrook with Bart Houston after Hornibrook got knocked out with a rough hit. Houston did his part, completing eight of 14 attempts for 123 yards. Wisconsin also rolled up 210 yards of rushing offense.
Wisconsin will head to Indianapolis next week to play in the Big Ten Championship Game to play Penn State, who clinched the Big Ten East with a win over Michigan State and an Ohio State victory over Michigan earlier in the day. The Badgers are making their fourth trip to the Big Ten championship game, and will do so under a third different coach in Paul Chryst. Bret Bielema coached the Badgers to two Big Ten Leaders Division championships in 2011 and 2012 and Gary Andersen took the Badgers to the championship game with the West Division title in 2014. Wisconsin is 2-1 in Big Ten title games. The Badgers are also on the bubble for the College Football Playoff as they head to Indy.
Minnesota will await a bowl invitation with possibilities including the Holiday Bowl or Music City Bowl as most likely destinations.