Skip to main content

Paul Bunyan's axe to be absent from sideline for Minnesota-Wisconsin game


Tradition will have a new twist on Saturday when the Gophers meet up with Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium.

Wisconsin head football coach Gary Anderson announced a new policy on Monday regarding Paul Bunyan's Axe, which the two teams play for every year.

Yahoo! Sports notes that traditionally the axe is kept on the sideline of the team who won it the previous season. The winning team is allowed to grab the axe and then pretend to chop down the goalposts in celebration.

But at the conclusion of last year's game at TCF Bank Stadium a brief skirmish ensued after the Badgers won the axe for a 10th straight time.

Caution: This video contains profanity.

247 Sports highlights Anderson's statement to reporters after last year's skirmish.

"Last year was unfortunate to me. Minnesota is going to want to be as respectful as we're going to want to be, I can promise you that. I don't think coach Kill and I liked the way it went down a year ago. I don't think it's good for college football, our kids. I'm pointing the plan at myself as the head coach. Our kids handled it far from perfect."

Anderson said in a statement Monday the policy mirrors one that was put in place prior to their game with Nebraska for the Freedom Trophy.

"It is important for us to maintain the traditions of our trophy games while also doing what we feel is in the best interest of our student-athletes." said Anderson.

Tensions could be running a little high on Saturday, anyway. There's a lot more than just The Axe on the line on Saturday. Wisconsin is 9-2 and Minnesota is 8-3. Saturday's winning team will be the champions of the Big Ten's western division and will move on to face Ohio State in the conference title game.

Not everyone is a fan of the new policy keeping Paul's Axe off the sideline.

"I don't like that," said Wisconsin's junior running back Melvin Gordon to FOX Sports Net Wisconsin. "From history, they run over. You see the videos, they run over, they take the axe. That's kind of what makes the game fun. It hurts when they do take it. I think that's just what makes the game fun when you're able to chop down the goal posts."

Next Up

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

Snowmobiler goes through the ice on lake near Duluth

Ice thickness varies greatly throughout Minnesota right now.

snow, measuring snow, snow totals

Here's how much snow fell during the weekend winter winter storm

The Highway 2 corridor in north-central Minnesota was the bullseye.

Minneapolis Fire Department

Roof collapses on 3 firefighters in south Minneapolis

The fire happened at a resident east of Lake Nokomis on Sunday.

Joleigha Johnson

42-year-old Minnesota woman missing since December 1

She drives a white 2009 Chevrolet Impala.

icy roads, bad roads

20-year-old killed in crash on icy highway during Sunday snowstorm

More than a foot of snow had fallen in the area where the crash occurred.

Mike Zimmer

Vikings fans clamor for change after latest bad loss under Mike Zimmer

The "fire Mike Zimmer" tweets are raging on Twitter again.

Tony Oliva

Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat are finally heading to Cooperstown

The Twins legends were elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame on Sunday night.

Tanner Morgan

Report: Gophers to play in Guaranteed Rate Bowl

The Gophers will reportedly head to Phoenix to take on West Virginia.

Adam Thielen

Winless Lions beat Vikings on final play of game

Adam Thielen also left early with an ankle injury

Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers improve to 7-0 on Willis' late 3-pointer

The Gophers earned back-to-back road victories for the first time since January 2017.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Woman in critical condition after being shot in the head in St. Paul

Officers responded to the incident at around 2:45 a.m. Saturday.