Gophers reclaim Paul Bunyan’s Axe
It took 15 years, but the University of Minnesota is now in possession of Paul Bunyan’s Axe—one of college football’s most iconic traveling trophies and a symbol of the most-played rivalry in the sport.
The Gophers traveled to Camp Randall Stadium (where they hadn’t won since 1994) on Nov. 24 and outplayed the Wisconsin Badgers, parlaying four turnovers and a methodical, time-consuming rushing attack to a 37-15 upset.
With the victory, Minnesota evened its season record at 6-6 (3-6 in the Big Ten) and became bowl eligible in Coach P.J. Fleck’s second season. It was also Fleck’s first conference road victory, and evened the score in the all-time series between the two teams, 60-60-8.
The Gophers surged to a 17-0 first-half lead on Demetrius Douglas’ 69-yard punt return for a touchdown. Leading 17-7 to start the second half, the Gophers expanded the cushion to 37-7 before Wisconsin scored a late touchdown. Freshman running back Mohamed Ibrahim led the way, rushing for 121 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries.
Update: On Dec. 2 Minnesota accepted an invitation to play Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. The kickoff is set for 4:15 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPN.