Tanner Morgan didn’t grow up with the Minnesota-Wisconsin rivalry game. As a native of Kentucky, he didn’t quite understand the significance of Paul Bunyan’s Axe.
It didn’t take him long to learn the value of that axe, though. And now that he’s been a part of this rivalry, he understands what it means to both the state of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota.
“It’s something you learn about when you come to Minnesota. The rivalries and the tradition. I am not from here, but I know how important it is to the state and program,” Morgan told the media on Tuesday. “I am extremely proud to play in this game and for this University.”
Last year’s win for Minnesota ended a long drought without having the Axe in the Twin Cities. Wisconsin ripped off 14 straight victories in the series, winning every game from 2004-17.
Morgan led the Gophers to their first win in the rivalry in over a decade, taking down the Badgers 37-15 in Madison. And the quarterback sure enjoys seeing Paul Bunyan’s Axe every day.
“It’s cool to see it when you walk in everyday,” Morgan said.” It’s remarkable to see what it means to the state.”
This year’s game has significant meaning. Not only does the winner claim the Axe, it also wins the B1G East and gets a chance to compete for a conference title against Ohio State in Indianapolis on Dec. 7.
First things first, though. Morgan and the Gophers are focused on Wisconsin and keeping the Axe in Minneapolis.