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Battle for the Axe to be played Saturday

Wisconsin punter Connor Allen (90) holds up Paul Bunyan's Axe during the post game celebration...
Wisconsin punter Connor Allen (90) holds up Paul Bunyan's Axe during the post game celebration after Wisconsin beat Minnesota 38-17 in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)(Stacy Bengs | AP)
Published: Dec. 13, 2020 at 2:58 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Big Ten announced its championship week matchups as Wisconsin will host Minnesota for a rescheduled Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.

Originally scheduled to be played on November 28, Minnesota had to shutdown its football program on the Tuesday leading up to the game due to a COVID outbreak. The Gophers originally announced the game would not be rescheduled which would have been the first time since 1906 the longtime rivalry would not have been played.

The Badgers will host Minnesota for a 3 PM C.T. kickoff on the Big Ten network. Wisconsin regained the Axe with a 38-17 victory in Minnesota last year. UW has won 15 of the last 16 matchups between the two teams. Saturday will be the 130th meeting between the two teams, the longest running rivalry in FBS history.

Wisconsin leads the all-time series 61-60-8 and the teams have traded road wins in the last two matchups.

Minnesota’s 2018 win was its first in the series since 2003 and first in Madison since 1994. The teams play for Paul Bunyan’s Axe after previously playing for the Slab of Bacon.

The Big Ten’s original plan for championship week was a slate of Big Ten West and East crossover matchups based on divisional standings to be played on Friday and Saturday surrounding the conference’s championship game in Indianapolis.

Wisconsin hosting Minnesota is not the only matchup to break that arbitrary rule. Indiana will host Purdue where neither team matches up in the standings, but rescheduled the Old Oaken Bucket game which was originally called off due to both programs dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Nebraska-Rutgers, Illinois-Penn State and Michigan-Iowa are all crossovers with respective standings negated for matchups. Michigan State-Maryland is the only other divisional game with both teams being in the Big Ten East.

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