Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
For the second straight year, Minnesota invested a tremendous amount of emotion into its rivalry game against Wisconsin. And for the second straight year, the Gophers came up three points short on the scoreboard.
“It’s hard to put into words the disappointment we feel right now," Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster said in the wake of his team's 31-28 loss.
The key for the Gophers is not letting their disappointment linger. There are consequences if they don't, and the players know all too well what those consequences are.
Last year, Minnesota followed the Wisconsin setback with a meltdown against Iowa, which cruised to a 55-0 victory in the final game at the Metrodome. The Gophers committed three turnovers, generated only seven rush yards and moved the chains only six times in the game.
As Minnesota prepares to host Purdue on Saturday (ESPN2, noon ET), Brewster is guarding against a hangover. With upcoming road trips to Penn State and Ohio State, Minnesota needs a win to stay on track for a bowl appearance.
"I'm a positive guy, I believe positive things happening for your football team," Brewster said. "[The Wisconsin game] was a missed opportunity for us, but we move forward. After we beat Northwestern, it was one win in the Big Ten. We lost a game to Wisconsin, that's one loss."
Minnesota boasts more experience than any other Big Ten team, and senior wide receiver Eric Decker isn't concerned about any lingering effects from the Wisconsin loss.
"We have enough upperclassmen and leadership to be able to put that in the past and prepare for Purdue," Decker said. "This is a big game for us and all of us feel like this is a must-win."