Halftime Report: Gophers lead Badgers 17-13

Jack Satzinger

 

After speculation all week that running back David Cobb might miss today’s unofficial Big Ten West championship game, the senior has put the Gophers on his back en route to a 17-13 halftime lead.

Cobb has rushed for 95 yards in the first half, including a 40-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to extend Minnesota’s lead to 14-3. On that run, Cobb broke former Gophers running back Laurence Maroney’s single-season rushing record.

On their opening drive, Minnesota was forced to punt. However, the Gophers special teams were able to force a fumble on the return with junior Eric Murray recovering the ball. The turnover would set up a 10-yard touchdown run for redshirt sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner to give Minnesota the early 7-0 lead.

Leidner hasn’t been too effective in the air, throwing for 28 yards, but has had success running the ball as he has 25 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

Minnesota’s defense has done a great job containing Heisman Trophy favorite Melvin Gordon. The redshirt junior running back has only 55 yards in the first half. While Gordon hasn’t had success running the ball, he does have a receiving touchdown as redshirt junior quarterback Joel Stave found him wide open in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown. Stave has thrown for 137 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

The Gophers were looking to add to their lead at the end of the half, but a poor exchange between Leidner and Cobb resulted in a Cobb fumble. Wisconsin recovered the ball and drove down the field for a last-second 38-yard field goal to cut Minnesota’s lead to 17-13. Wisconsin will start the second half with the ball.

The winner of today’s game will be crowned the Big Ten West champion and play No. 6 Ohio State next weekend for the Big Ten championship. Minnesota lost to the Buckeyes 31-24 earlier this month.