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Losing streak to Badgers hits a dirty dozen as Gophers fall 31-21

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Wisconsin 31

Minnesota 21

There may be lifelong Minnesotans in junior high school who have never resided in the same state as Paul Bunyan's axe. The traveling trophy visited Minneapolis briefly on Saturday but is returning to Madison for a 12th straight year, after the University of Wisconsin downed Minnesota 31-21 Saturday in the 125th edition of college football's longest-played rivalry.

1) Badgers run wild

Wisconsin's running game was not exactly on a hot streak coming into Saturday's game. Behind an injury-depleted offensive line, they'd stumbled to -26 yards in their previous game. They sure turned things around against the Gophers, though, rushing for 199 yards by halftime and finishing with 257. Dare Ogunbowale ran for a career-high 155 yards and a touchdown.

2) Turnovers

The turnover battle opened in Minnesota's favor when the Badgers' first play of the game resulted in an interception that Briean Boddy-Calhoun returned for a touchdown. Things turned south after that, though. Quarterback Mitch Leidner threw three interceptions and fumbled once. K J Maye also fumbled.

3) Goldy not likely to need bowling shoes

Minnesota finishes the regular season with a 5-7 record. Inflation in the number of bowl games means a whopping 80 teams will be needed to fill all the slots this year. So some teams with losing records may find themselves invited to post-season contests. But even if it does come to that, bowl organizers would have a long list of 5-7 teams from which to choose and most analysts doubt the Gophers will be asked to play another game.

Tweet of the Night

The last time the Badgers defended the axe in TCF Bank Stadium, Wisconsin players ruffled some of the local feathers by using the axe to mimic chopping down the goalpost in front of the Minnesota student section.

Minnesota's marching band wanted no encore of that scene, so its members occupied some choice real estate in a preemptive strike.

Next up

Well, there's spring practice ... and training camp in August ... then the Gophers open the 2016 season at home on Thursday night, Sep. 1 against Oregon State.

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