November 22, 2017 04:22 PM
Whether it's snapping a thirteen-game losing streak to a rival, knocking the rival out of the National Championship picture or just claiming the programs's most important rivalry trophy - the Gophers have more than enough of motivation to try to shock the world against Wisconsin on Saturday.
Most years, taking possession of Paul Bunyan's axe - the massive token that goes to the winner of each year's installment - is enough of a stake to energize both sides of the rivalry.
This year, the axe is only part of the buzz.
Click the video box on this page to see Gophers quarterback Demry Croft as well as seniors Jon Celestin, Nate Wozniak and Andrew Stelter discuss the upcoming game against archrival Wisconsin
The Badgers arrive at TCF Bank Stadium with a 13-game unbeaten streak against the Gophers. The rivalry has immensely slanted Wisconsin's way since the Gophers last won back-to-back games against the Badgers in 1993 and 1994. In addition to thirteen straight, Wisconsin has won 14 of the last 15 against the Gophers, and 20 of the 22 games dating back to '94.
On top of that, the stakes couldn't be higher for Wisconsin in this year's renewal of the rivalry. The Badgers are undefeated this season, and ranked 5th in this week's College Football Playoff rankings. Clemson and Miami are both ahead of Wisconsin, but are likely to meet in the ACC Championship game. It means a Wisconsin win over the Gophers then a win in the Big Ten Championship game would almost certainly put Wisconsin into the four-team National Championship Playoff bracket.
All that together, plus the fact the Gophers earn a bowl bid if they can manage an upset win, and there's more than enough fuel on both sides of the game to give this year's installment of the rivalry plenty of buzz.
Updated: November 22, 2017 04:22 PM
Created: November 22, 2017 04:19 PM
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