Bunyan's Axe goes to Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- As Rhys Lloyd prepared for his game-winning

field goal, Minnesota coach Glen Mason offered a final piece of


"Don't forget to get the Axe," Mason said, referring to Paul

Bunyan's Axe, which sat on Wisconsin's sideline.

Lloyd's 35-yard kick gave the Gophers (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) a 37-34 win

over the rival Badgers on Saturday. And Lloyd didn't forget the

Axe. The kicker led a stampede of Gophers to the Wisconsin

sideline, grabbed the trophy and paraded it around the Metrodome


"I'm just glad he didn't go for the Axe before he kicked the

ball," Mason joked.

Marion Barber III had 139 yards rushing and a touchdown, and

Laurence Maroney added 135 yards and a score for the Gophers (9-2,

5-2 Big Ten), who overcame a career day by Wisconsin quarterback

Jim Sorgi.

Minnesota has won three straight games for its first nine-win

season since 1905, when it won 10 games.

Backup quarterback Benji Kamrath went 6-for-10 for 93 yards in

place of Asad Abdul-Khaliq, who left with an injured shoulder just

before halftime.

Sorgi, who returned to the lineup after minor left knee surgery,

threw for a career-high 305 yards and four touchdowns. Sorgi sat

out Wisconsin's loss at Northwestern two weeks ago, which knocked

the Badgers (6-4, 3-3) out of the Top 25.

He rallied the Badgers, who were playing without star running

back Anthony Davis, from an early 24-6 deficit, but couldn't

prevent his team from losing its third straight.

"Sorgi had a really gutty performance," Badgers coach Barry

Alvarez said. "I know he was getting hit a lot when he released

the ball. He really toughed it out."

The Gophers also noticed Sorgi's toughness. Minnesota linebacker

Ben West said he had several hits on the quarterback.

"I swear he was down, but he got right back up," West said.

The Badgers made it 34-all on Sorgi's 26-yard TD pass to Owen

Daniels with 7:15 left to play.

But on the ensuing drive, Kamrath, a fifth-year senior,

completed a crucial 22-yard pass to Aaron Hosack on third-and-9

from the Minnesota 33. Barber had 11- and 13-yard runs to the

Badgers 21. Maroney added a 3-yard run to the 18, and Minnesota ran

the clock to one second to set up Lloyd's winning kick.

"(Mason) was saying, 'If you make this, you get all the pizza

you can eat.' And I was like, 'Fair enough," Lloyd said.

The Badgers watched from the sideline as the Gophers carried the

Axe away.

"Our trophy case will be empty all year," Wisconsin's Darius

Jones said. "That will sit nasty in our mouths."

Sorgi opened the second half with a 17-yard TD pass to Lee Evans

to pull the Badgers to 24-20.

Lloyd added a 34-yard field goal, but Wisconsin tied it on the

ensuing possession after a costly pass-interference penalty by the

Gophers' Ukee Dozier on fourth down.

Two plays later, Sorgi found Darrin Charles for a 12-yard TD

pass to make it 27-all.

Minnesota took a 34-27 lead on Barber's 11-yard run at the 11:13

mark of the fourth.

Barber, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the season, and

Maroney ran for more than 100 yards for the third straight game.

Barber has 1,134 for the Gophers.

Wisconsin entered holding Big Ten opponents to an average of

97.8 yards rushing per game. But Minnesota came in as the

second-best rushing offense in the nation and gained 336 on the


"I was surprised they ran on us like that," Alvarez said.

"But they do it well."

It only took 56 seconds for Minnesota's vaunted running game to

score a touchdown. On the third play of the opening drive,

Abdul-Khaliq pitched the ball to Maroney, who scampered down the

right sideline 30 yards to the end zone to give the Gophers a 7-0


Lloyd kicked a 34-yard field goal to make it 10-0 at the 7:56


Abdul-Khaliq gave the Gophers a 17-3 lead on his fourth rushing

touchdown of the season.

After another Wisconsin field goal, Minnesota took a 24-6 lead

on Thomas Tapeh's 6-yard run with 2:01 to play in the second


The Badgers finally found the end zone with 1:25 left in the

first half when Sorgi found Daniels from 27 yards out to pull

Wisconsin to 24-13.