The Battle For Paul Bunyan’s Axe

College football’s most played rivalry continues Saturday when Wisconsin (2-1 Big Ten / 5-2 overall) hosts Minnesota (0-2 / 4-2).  The rivalry dates back to 1890 and Saturday’s meeting will be the 122nd between the two schools.  The Gophers lead the all-time series 58-55-8, but the Badgers have won the last eight and are 32-21-6 against Minnesota in Madison.  Some Minnesota players have downplayed the rivalry this week, but Wisconsin senior running back Montee Ball isn’t…

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After starting the season as the back-up quarterback, red-shirt freshman Joel Stave will make his fifth straight start for Wisconsin.  Being from Greenfield, Stave knew about some of the rivalry between the Badgers and the Gophers, but did not know that it went back so far…

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Since 1948 the winner of the contest has claimed Paul Bunyan’s Axe, which was created by the University of Wisconsin’s National W Club and stands six feet tall.  The Axe has not only resided in Madison the last eight years but it has also been at practice this week.  Junior center Travis Frederick said that the Badgers have the luxury of seeing the Axe everyday…

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Frederick will not have Ricky Wagner with him on the Wisconsin offensive line.  The senior left tackle will miss the Minnesota game with a knee injury.  Junior Ryan Groy will slide from guard to tackle on the left side.  He talked about the biggest challenge of moving from guard to tackle…

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Badgers senior linebacker Mike Taylor will make his fourth and final start against the Gophers.  Past experience tells the Ashwaubenon native to expect Minnesota’s best shot…

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Saturday’s game between Wisconsin and Minnesota can be heard on 93.9 FM WDOR.  Pregame coverage begins at 9 AM.  Kickoff from Camp Randall Stadium is at 11 AM.

Notes:
Neither team is ranked in either national poll.  The Badgers did receive votes this week in both the USA Today Coaches Poll and in the AP Media Poll.

Wisconsin has won their last last two while Minnesota comes in on a two game losing streak.

The Badgers have won their last 20 games at home.  That is the second longest active home winning streak in the nation, trailing only LSU’s 21 straight wins at Tiger Stadium.  Wisconsin’s last loss at Camp Randall Stadium was to Iowa on October 17th, 2009.

Before Paul Bunyan’s Axe, Wisconsin and Minnesota played for the Slab of Bacon trophy, which was created in 1930.  That went missing in the mid-1940′s and was found in 1994 in a storage closet on the Wisconsin campus.  Mysteriously, the “lost” Slab of Bacon had every score in the series engraved on it up until 1970.

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