12:05 PM ET, November 23, 2002
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Anthony Davis ran for a career-high 301 yards and five touchdowns on 45 carries as Wisconsin won back Paul Bunyan's Axe with a 49-31 victory over Minnesota on Saturday.
Davis's five TDs tied the school record set by Billy Marek against Minnesota in 1974.
The Badgers (7-6, 2-6 Big Ten) not only got the trophy that goes to the winner of the longest-running rivalry in major college football, they became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2000.
Wisconsin also avoided a last-place finish in the conference and a second straight losing season, giving them hopes of turning around a two-year slide that began after they completed the 1999 season with a Rose Bowl victory.
Despite losing six of their last eight games, Wisconsin has the inside track to the Alamo Bowl, the No. 4 bowl in the Big Ten's pecking order.
The Gophers (7-5, 3-5), who led 31-28 early in the fourth quarter, also will get a bowl bid, even though they haven't won since October.
Wisconsin's diminutive defensive back Jim Leonhard, a 5-foot-8 walk-on, picked off two more passes, giving him a nation-leading 10. That also broke the school record of nine interceptions set by Neovia Greyer in 1970.
After Davis's 2-yard score put Wisconsin ahead 42-21, Leonhard intercepted Asad Abdul-Khaliq's 24-yard pass in the end zone with 2:27 left, wresting the ball from receiver Tony Patterson.
Davis, who also had scoring runs of 4, 1 and 25 yards, then burst through the hole for a 71-yard touchdown with 1:26 remaining.
That made him just the third back in the program's 114-year history to top 300 yards. Ron Dayne (339 against Hawaii in 1996) and Marek (304 against Minnesota in 1974) are the others.
Quarterback Brooks Bollinger added 112 yards on 18 carries for the Badgers, whose 416 yards rushing was the ninth-highest total in school history.
Abdul-Khaliq's 2-yard TD toss to Thomas Tapeh gave Minnesota a 31-28 lead with 12:30 left. But Bollinger scored on a 1-yard sneak two minutes later to give Wisconsin the lead for good.
The Badgers led 21-14 at halftime, but Terry Jackson (22 carries for 87 yards) scored his second touchdown, from 7 yards out, to tie it.
Then, Jermaine Mays, whose blocked punt led to a field goal in the first half, pushed David Braun into punter R.J. Morse, who was tackled by Renato Fitzpatrick at the Badgers 25.
That led to Nystrom's 29-yard field goal that gave the Gophers at 24-21 lead.
Davis, who sat out a game after being stabbed in his left thigh in a domestic dispute three weeks ago, put Wisconsin back on top 28-24 with a 25-yard run late in the third quarter.
Bollinger was 6-for-12 passing for 134 yards with no interceptions and one touchdown. Abdul-Khaliq completed 15 of 33 passes for 282 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Badgers lost linebacker Alex Lewis to a hip injury on their first defensive series.