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Madison, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - With a spot in the Big Ten Conference Championship Game on the line, the 22nd-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers and 14th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers meet in the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon. The winner of his bout will play in the leagues title tilt as the West Divisions representative. East Division champion Ohio State has already secured its place. Minnesota has quietly made a name for itself this season, as coach Jerry Kills club sprinted out to an 8-3 record, and with its 5-2 league ledger, is just a game back of the Badgers, who come in at 9-2 overall and 6-1 in conference. With wins over Michigan, Northwestern and Purdue to open conference play, the Golden Gophers were high on the fact that they could actually challenge for the division title, but losses in their next three games raised some doubt. Fortunately, UM responded by battling back to knock off nationally-ranked Nebraska, on the road no less, last Saturday, 28-24, to set up this weeks showdown with Wisconsin. The Badgers have enjoyed another stellar campaign, but they put themselves in this precarious position after suffering a 20-14 loss at Northwestern back on Oct. 4. They bounced back to post six straight victories, with the latest being a 26-24 decision at Iowa last Saturday. With a win in this contest, Wisconsin will play in the Big Ten Championship Game for the third time since its inception in 2011. The Badgers won the first two in defeating Michigan State (42-39, 2011) and Nebraska (70-31, 2012), respectively. Minnesota leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, 59-56-8, but the Badgers have closed the gap by winning the last 10 meetings, including a 20-7 decision in Minneapolis last season. This game boasts a pair of punishing rushing attacks, although Wisconsins has certainly been more productive. Still, the Gophers have a talented back on which to rely, as David Cobb has picked up 1,430 yards while scoring 12 TDs in helping the team average 228.9 ypg on the ground. With Cobb handling much of the heavy lifting, QB Mitch Leidner (1,445 yards, 10 TDs, eight INTs) hasnt had to do a whole lot, other than run the offense as efficiently as possible. Maxx Williams is the leading receiver, but with only 28 grabs for 418 yards, although he has caught seven TD passes. As for the Minnesota defense, it has performed admirably in permitting just 22.5 ppg, which ties it with Ohio State for the fifth-lowest scoring yield on average in the Big Ten. The Gophers are among the league leaders in turnover margin (+11). Damien Wilson is the teams top tackler with 103, which is 35 more than his closest teammate. Leidner simply wouldnt led the Golden Gophers quit last weekend at Nebraska. Trailing 21-7 at halftime, the visitors stormed back to earn the thrilling victory, as UMs signal caller rushed for a game-high 111 yards and two TDs. His passing exploits (8-of-17, 135 yards, two sacks) left quite a bit to be desired, but with the ground game doing its thing, he didnt need to air it out much. Cobb generated 80 yards and a score on 15 carries before exiting with a hamstring injury, while Williams and KJ Maye combined for five catches and 95 yards. The Minnesota defense did a solid job of keeping Nebraskas Ameer Abdullah from single-handedly taking control of the game as it held the talented RB to 98 yards and a TD on 20 totes. In all, the Cornhuskers finished with 397 total yards, but lost a pair of fumbles, suffered four sacks and lost the time of possession battle by nearly 10 minutes. DeVondre Campbell paced the Gophers with 11 tackles. Coach Kill praised the attitude his team displayed as last weeks game wore on, and how it was a reflection of the spirit in which the Gophers have attacked the season. They are mentally tough, we talk about mental toughness throughout the season and to be physically tough. Today our kids were mentally tough and just hung in there and played hard. The nations leading rusher wears a Wisconsin uniform, as Melvin Gordon has enjoyed a record-setting campaign. Gordon, a bona fide Heisman contender, set the new FBS single-game rushing record on Nov. 15 against Nebraska with 408 yards, but that benchmark lasted all of one week, as Oklahoma freshman Samaje Perine topped it by 19 yards last Saturday against Kansas. While Gordon is disappointed to lose the record so soon, he wont let it deter him from the task at hand. In fact, he followed his record-setting performance with another outstanding effort in last Saturdays narrow win at Iowa, as he rushed for 200 yards and a pair of TDs to become the 17th player in FBS history to reach 2,000 rushing yards in a season. He reached the mark faster than anyone in FBS history, doing so on 241 carries, and his effort also tied former UW star Ron Daynes Big Ten single-season rushing record (2,109 yards). Wisconsin almost blew a 16-point lead to the Hawkeyes, but with Gordon towing the line, it held on for the narrow win. The yardage totals in the game were almost dead even (405 for UW, 412 for UI), but of course the rushing yards were skewed heavily in favor of the visitors (266-101). Joel Stave was efficient in hitting 11-of-14 passes for 139 yards, but he is rarely asked to do more than steer the ship, so to speak. The UW passing attack is an afterthought for the most part, as it accounts for only 141.7 ypg. Stave and Tanner McEvoy have taken the majority of the snaps, combining for just over 1,500 yards, 11 TDs and 10 INTs. Alex Erickson leads the receivers with 39 catches for 491 yards, and he has three TD receptions. With pass plays being few and far between, its no wonder Wisconsin leads the league in fewest sacks allowed (eight). The Badgers rank second nationally in scoring defense (16.1 ppg) and third in total defense (259.3 ypg). Their effort against the run yields fewer than 100 yards per contest, while they lead the Big Ten in pass defense (162.2 ypg). Michael Caputo heads the team in tackles with 81, and he recorded 11 stops, both forced and recovered a fumble, and broke up a pass against Iowa. Like Kill for Minnesota, Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen heaped praise on his team for standing tall in the face of some adversity last weekend. Im so proud of these kids and the way they kept fighting. All three phases contributed which was great to see, but just the fight when things dont go your way you have a lead that you feel pretty good about and all of a sudden its right back in. Denis Savard Jersey . Hazard lasted just 18 minutes in Tuesdays contest before being substituted with the calf problem, and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes he will be without his star winger for at least the next two weeks. Martin Havlat Jersey . - Maxence Parrot of Bromont, Que. http://www.officialblackhawksauthority. ... -c-19/.She struggled with a hacking cough, she was sick, and she twice celebrated too early, but she held her composure in a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory on Saturday.On her third match point, she let her racket go before hearing a let call to what she thought was an ace. Bobby Orr Jersey . It will then be back to business once the puck drops as the two clubs battle for key points in their respective playoff races. Watch the game live on TSN Canadiens and listen on TSN Radio 690 starting at 7:30pm et. Stan Mikita Jersey .K. Subban and Matt Duchene will be the two skaters sitting out the teams opening game. GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 3 Florida has won with defence most of the season. The Gators showed Saturday they can pull out games on the other end of the court, too. Scottie Wilbekin scored 16 points, leading all five starters in double figures, and Florida beat Alabama 78-69 for its 15th straight victory. The Gators handled the Tide for the second time in 16 days and extended a school record for consecutive home wins to 29. "If you play defence the way we did tonight, youre not going to win," coach Billy Donovan said. "Thank God we had some offence today that helped us." Florida (21-2, 10-0 Southeastern Conference) shot a blistering 62 per cent from the field and finished with a season-high 22 assists. The Gators trailed by seven late in the first half before taking over the game in the paint and in transition. That opened things up on the perimeter for Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II. Wilbekin was 3-for-5 shooting from behind the arc, making all three in the second half. Frazier was 3 for 8 from the 3-point range. Frazier finished with 14 points, joining Wilbekin, Casey Prather (15), Will Yeguete (12) and Patric Young (11) in double figures. It was the first time all five of Floridas starters topped 10 points since Nov. 21 against Middle Tennessee. "We have a balanced team, and anyone can beat you on any given night," Prather said. Prather, the teams leading scorer, failed to reach double figures the last two games while dealing with a sprained left ankle. He returned to form against Alabama even though Donovan wasnt sure he would play a few hours before the tip. Donovan gave Prather the option of playing or resting, and he chose to give it a go. "Its got nothing to do with him not being a tough kid or he cant play through pain," Donovan said. "It gets more into the fact that he doesnt feel confidence-wise that hes capable of doing the things he knows he can do. When he gets to that place, he really gets mentally taken out because he knows he cant do certain things. "When he knows he can do things physically, it adds to his confidence.dddddddddddd When he cant move like he wants to move, I think he knows hes putting our team in jeopardy, and that eats him alive and kills him." Trevor Releford led the Tide (9-14, 3-7) with 25 points on 7-for-10 shooting. He was 4 for 6 from behind the 3-point line and perfect on seven free throws. Releford scored 16 points in the first half, carrying Alabama for much of the afternoon. His 3-pointer put the Tide up 28-21, silencing the sold-out OConnell Center. Alabama shot 61 per cent in the opening half and went 5 for 7 from behind the arc, giving the defensive-minded Donovan plenty to talk about at halftime. The Gators responded with an effective press, made 3-pointers and a heavy dose of post play that seemingly wore down the Tide. "Theyre at their best when theyre in transition," Tide coach Anthony Grant said. "From an offensive standpoint, they took us out of some things that we were able to get there in the first half." Florida went on a 25-8 run that turned a deficit into a double-digit lead. The Tide ended up losing its four straight and sixth in the last seven games. "This program cant do anything but go up," Releford said. "Its just a process. Right now were losing a game, but I feel as a team were getting better and Coach is helping us with that." Chris Walker, Floridas highly touted freshman who became eligible this week, played just 4 minutes in his second collegiate game. He finished with four points, two fouls and a rebound. Donovan said he hopes to get Walker more playing time. For as dominant as Florida has been recently, the teams toughest test comes next week. The Gators play at Tennessee on Tuesday night and then at No. 18 Kentucky on Saturday. Those games could go a long way to determining how Florida finishes in the conference and what kind of seed it gets in next months NCAA tournament. "I dont think we played great," Yeguete said. "We got it done, but we didnt play great. We know weve got to do a better job if we want to win in Knoxville on Tuesday." ' ' '


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