Barberoney might not set record after all

Marion Barber III is still 85 yards shy of 1,000 with one regular season game to go.

Dan Miller

MADISON, Wis. – After their worst rushing game of the season, the Gophers’ nationally seventh-ranked ground attack is in jeopardy of not reaching an expected and unprecedented mark this season.

Marion Barber III still needs 85 yards rushing against Iowa next week to reach 1,000 yards and for Minnesota to set an NCAA record with two backs having consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

Minnesota ran the ball only 18 times for 73 yards Saturday against Wisconsin – 174 yards below its average.

Laurence Maroney and Barber rushed for only 57 and 34 yards, respectively, and Gophers quarterback Bryan Cupito and receiver Jakari Wallace combined for -18 yards.

“They weren’t giving us the chances to run,” Cupito said. “I’m not surprised that we passed more because we were behind.”

Minnesota passed the ball 33 times and only held possession for 15:29 of the 60 minutes.

“It’s hard to run the ball when you are playing from behind like we were,” Gophers coach Glen Mason said.

James: limited, effective

After spraining his ankle against Purdue on Oct. 16, Wisconsin defensive lineman Erasmus James saw limited action against Minnesota.

James was given a new brace for his ankle this week and played in some passing situations in the first half. But he didn’t play after halftime.

“(James) thought he could play in passing situations and help us,” Badgers coach Barry Alvarez said. “But at the half, we shut it down. We got a few plays out of it, but then that was it.”

The Badgers, leading handily at halftime, didn’t want to risk aggravating James’ ankle injury.

James knocked down Cupito once but had no sacks.

“I thought I was pretty effective when I was in,” James said. “But as the points went up, I thought I didn’t really need to play anymore, and I should just get another week’s worth of rest.”

Record crowd

The 83,069 fans in attendance Saturday constituted the biggest crowd ever at Camp Randall Stadium.

With more renovations added to the stadium before this season, Wisconsin has averaged a school-record 82,368 fans this year.

Lloyd boots well

Rhys Lloyd was a bright spot in Saturday’s loss, averaging 43.8 yards on five punts, including a 58-yarder and one inside the Badgers’ 15-yard line.

With Lloyd significantly improving in traditional punting this season, he has gotten away from the soccer-style roll out punts he did last season and earlier this year.