Gophers face battered Badgers at Dome

David McCoy

Minnesota football fans are sure to remember (and try to forget) the Gophers’ 44-14 loss Oct. 1 at Penn State.

As bad a performance as that was for Minnesota’s defense, just imagine giving up 41 points in the second half alone.

Now you’re a Wisconsin football fan.

The Badgers lost 51-48 to Northwestern after giving up a 17-10 halftime lead Saturday.

“A lot of it was communication,” Badgers coach Barry Alvarez said. “That’s something that we’ll have to correct. You’ve got a totally different game plan this week and a different type of team that you’re defending.”

No. 22 Minnesota (5-1, 2-1) will hope to put off improvement in Wisconsin’s defending for at least another week when it hoststhe 23rd-ranked Badgers at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Metrodome.

The Badgers (5-1, 2-1) gave up an incredible total of 674 yards to the Wildcats, showing obvious weaknesses in a defensive unit that lost all but four starters on defense, including all-Big Ten players Erasmus James, Anttaj Hawthorne and Jim Leonhard.

Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton ran for 244 yards and three touchdowns, perhaps foreshadowing a highly favorable matchup for Gophers running back Laurence Maroney.

So while Minnesota quarterback Bryan Cupito’s status for Saturday’s game is still in question, all signs point to a shootout.

As porous as the Badgers’ defense has been, Wisconsin’s offense has been just as explosive.

Quarterback John Stocco, a Richfield native, was 24 of 31 for 326 yards and four touchdowns against Northwestern.

“They are scoring at an alarming rate,” Gophers coach Glen Mason said. “I don’t know what offenses do that without an awfully good quarterback. I’m really impressed with what he’s done.”