Badgers fall to Minnesota 23-16

Wisconsin interim head coach Jim Leonhard, right and Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck talk on...
Wisconsin interim head coach Jim Leonhard, right and Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck talk on the field before an NCAA college football game ta Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)(Andy Manis | AP)
Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 4:00 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin will have to endure another year without the axe, falling back-to-back years to Minnesota in the Axe Game.

Headed into the axe game, the Badgers were without sophomore running back Braelon Allen who was ruled out with an ankle injury.

The Gophers without a key starter as well, senior quarterback Tanner Morgan was out with an upper body injury, so redshirt freshman Athan Kaliakmanis got the start.

After failing to convert on 3rd & 10 at Minnesota’s 22, Nate Van Zelst hit a 40-yard field goal to get the Badgers on the board 3-0 on their opening drive.

Kaliakmanis got the Gophers offense going on their first drive, finding Daniel Jackson for a six-yard touchdown to give Minnesota a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

After giving up a touchdown on the Gophers’ opening drive, UW’s defense came up with a big stop on 4th & 1 to give the Badgers another opportunity to score.

Van Zelst would have his longest field goal of the season at 43-yards, and Wisconsin would trail by one in the second quarter.

Just before the half Matthew Trickett would hit a 25-yard field goal to extend the Gophers lead 10-6 headed into the break.

Badgers get a much needed momentum swing in the second half, on 2nd & 6 Badgers run a trick play, Graham Mertz handed it off to Chez Mellusi who pitched it to Chimere Dike with the reverse and Dike took it in for nine yards for UW’s first touchdown of the game which gave them a 16-13 lead.

Gophers would tie it up with a 27-yard field goal and then take the lead on a 45-yard touchdown from Le’Meke Brockington to put Minnesota ahead 23-16.

Mertz would throw a pick on the following drive, but after a missed Minnesota field goal, the Badgers have a chance to score with less than 2:00 to go in the game.

Mertz would go down with what appeared to be a leg injury, so senior backup quarterback Chase Wolf would finish out the game. Wolf would get the Badgers to 1st and goal at Minnesota’s five, and from there the Badgers shoot themselves in the foot with a slew of penalties. At the five Riley Mahlman would draw an offensive holding penalty, followed by three false start penalties to put the Badgers at the 30. Wolf’s 4th & goal pass is overshot and Badgers lose the axe for the second straight season for the first time since 1993-1994.

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