No. 16 Wisconsin (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) at Minnesota (8-2, 4-2), 3:30 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Line: Wisconsin by 14 1/2.
Series record: Minnesota leads 58-56-8.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Paul Bunyan's Axe, the revered trophy that has been on the line every time these two teams have met since 1948. Wisconsin has won nine straight in the rivalry, but for the first time in a long time it appears as though the Golden Gophers go into the game with a fighting chance. Minnesota has four straight Big Ten wins for the first time since 1973.
Wisconsin's massive offensive line against Minnesota monster DT Ra'Shede Hageman. The Badgers are averaging more than 300 yards rushing per game, with running backs Melvin Gordon and James White speeding through holes carved by a front that averages 6-foot-6 and 321 pounds. Hageman won't be intimidated. He's listed at 6-foot-6 and 311 pounds, and his ability to slow the Badgers ground game represents the best chance the Gophers have at springing an upset.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wisconsin: LB Chris Borland. One of the best LBs in the country leads the nation with 13 forced fumbles in his career. He needs one more to tie the NCAA record. He'll be charged with stopping RB David Cobb and Minnesota's improved running game.
Minnesota: TE Maxx Williams. With leading receiver Derrick Engel expected to miss the game with a knee injury, the versatile tight end could become an even bigger part of the Gophers offense. He has six catches for 126 yards and two TDs in the last two games.
FACTS & FIGURES
During Wisconsin's nine-game winning streak in the rivalry, the Badgers have averaged 39.1 points per game to Minnesota's 15.2. ... Gordon (1,306) and White (1,156) make the Badgers the only team in the country with two 1,000-yard rushers. ... Wisconsin will shift gears this week after playing BYU and Indiana, two schools that rank in top four nationally in pace of play. BYU runs a play every 19.2 seconds while Indiana goes every 19.5. The Gophers take 30.6 seconds per play, which is the second-slowest in the country. ... A Gophers victory would give them five straight Big Ten wins for the first time since 1962.