Rapid reaction: Wisconsin outlasts Minnesota in overtime with game-winning field goal
Final score: Wisconsin 20, Minnesota 17
Brief recap: This game started off slow, but ramped up as the evening went on. Tied 7-7 at the half, both offenses figured some things out after halftime and were able to get on the board more often. After a chaotic sequence at the end of regulation, the game went into overtime. Minnesota got the ball first, but its possession ended with a missed field goal. The Badgers didn’t miss their chance, winning the game with a field goal from Collin Larsh a few players later.
Key player: Wisconsin running back Garrett Groshek more than doubled his season yardage total for the game. Entering this game, he had 105 yards all season. But against the Gophers, he managed 154 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. His day included a 41-yard touchdown run that put the Badgers on the board in the second quarter.
Key moment: Late in the third quarter, Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz suffered an injury as he was fighting for more yardage near the goal line. Mertz had to come out of the game, ceding the role to backup Chase Wolf. That worked out fine for the Badgers, as Wolf threw a clutch TD under pressure on the next play. Mertz didn’t return, but Wisconsin’s offense was still able to get the job done with Wolf under center.
What it means for Wisconsin: This win gets the Badgers to a .500 record on the season. Like many programs across the country, Wisconsin’s year was derailed by COVID-19. After a strong start with big wins over Illinois and Michigan, the Badgers’ offense sputtered and never really recovered without receivers Kendric Pryor and Danny Davis. This win gives them a bit of momentum heading into a hopefully-normal 2021 season.
What it means for Minnesota: The Gophers fell below expectation this season, but it’s understandable given the circumstances. Minnesota ends the year at 3-4 and gained valuable experience for several key players who should be back next season.