Paul Bunyan Trophy

Paul Bunyan Trophy
Paul Bunyan Trophy
The Paul Bunyan Trophy on display at Michigan State, the trophy's home since 2008
Teams Michigan Wolverines
Michigan State Spartans
Overall Series Michigan leads, 67–32–5
Trophy Originated 1953
Trophy Series Michigan leads, 34–23–2
Current Holder Michigan State

Michigan logo Michigan State logo
Michigan (34)
1954 1955 1964
1968 1970 1971
1972 1973 1974
1975 1976 1977
1979 1980 1981
1982 1983 1985
1986 1988 1989
1991 1992 1994
1996 1997 1998
2000 2002 2003
2004 2005 2006
Michigan State (23)
1953 1956 1957
1959 1960 1961
1962 1965 1966
1967 1969 1978
1984 1987 1990
1993 1995 1999
2001 2008 2009
2010 2011
Ties (2)
1958 1963

The Paul Bunyan–Governor of Michigan Trophy is a college rivalry trophy awarded to the winner of the annual American football game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines. The winner retains possession of the trophy until the next year's game. The trophy has been retained by Michigan State since 2008.[1][2]

The naming of the trophy after the mythical giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan reflects Michigan's history as a major lumber-producing state. The trophy was first presented in 1953 (Michigan State's first year as a full Big Ten member) by then-governor G. Mennen Williams, and is a four-foot-high wooden statue on a five-foot-high base.



Gov. G. Mennen Williams on hand in East Lansing to present the trophy in 1953

The overall series record for the rivalry is 67–32–5 for Michigan. The series record for the Paul Bunyan Trophy is 34–22–2 for Michigan as the trophy was not added to the rivalry game until Michigan State became a full member in the Big Ten in 1953 at which point Michigan already held a 33–9–3 edge. At the start of the trophy game series Michigan State held a nearly two decade long period of dominance. From 1950 to 1969 MSU went 14–4–2 against the Wolverines. After the hiring of Bo Schembechler in 1969 though, Michigan dominated the series for the next four decades going 30–8 from 1970 to 2007. Michigan holds the longest winning streak at eight (1970–77) and Michigan State holds a current winning streak of four (2008–11) in Paul Bunyan Trophy series history.

Notable Trophy games


"Number One vs. No One" was the tag line spouted by the Michigan faithful. The 1990 game was held in Ann Arbor and Michigan came into the game ranked #1 in the country. With only a a few seconds remaining Michigan scored a TD making the score 28-27 MSU. Michigan coach Gary Moeller elected to line up for a two point conversion and go for the win. Desmond Howard lined for a pass and was defended by Spartan Eddie Brown. While going out for the pass Desmond stumbled, appeared to have caught the ball for a moment before dropping it as he fell to the turf. It was a controversial play as some Michigan fans feel Howard was interfered with by Brown on the play. No penalty was called. The game ended with a Spartan 28-27 victory.


In 2001, the game ended on a last-second play where Michigan State quarterback Jeff Smoker threw a touchdown pass to T. J. Duckett to win the game. The game became known as "Clockgate". The Wolverines had contended that the clock had run out of time before the last play of the game took place. Video evidence was later examined by several media stations and the Big Ten Conference commissioner of referees declared that the clock call was correct. This incident led to a conference rule change that control of the game clock would be held by a game official instead of a school representative. [3]


The 2004 edition of the rivalry game ended with Michigan defeating Michigan State, 45–37, in the first triple overtime game at Michigan Stadium.[4] Michigan was down 27–10 with 8:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines managed to tie the game up, 27–27, by the end of the fourth quarter. Michigan proceeded to dispatch Michigan State in three overtimes. Braylon Edwards led the Wolverines in receiving with 11 receptions for 189 yards and three touchdowns, while Mike Hart carried the ball 33 times for 224 yards.[5]


In 2005, the game once again went into overtime. Again, Michigan emerged victorious, winning 34–31.[6] Michigan twice held leads of 14 points, but Michigan State was able to tie the game 31–31 before heading into overtime. Michigan State had the first possession of overtime, but Michigan State kicker John Goss's field goal attempt was wide right. Afterward, Michigan kicker Garrett Rivas made a 35-yard field goal to win the game. In his second game playing against the Spartans, Mike Hart rushed for over 200 yards, gaining 218 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries.


The 2007 game marked Michigan's sixth straight win over Michigan State. The Wolverines once again narrowly won with a comeback in the fourth quarter, winning 28–24.[7] Michigan quarterback Chad Henne led two touchdown drives in the final 7:35 of the fourth quarter of the game, completing touchdown passes to Greg Mathews and Mario Manningham, to lead the Wolverines back from a 24–14 deficit. Henne finished the game with 18 completions for 211 yards and four touchdowns, while Mario Manningham had eight receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns.[8] After the game, Michigan running back Mike Hart called Michigan State Michigan's "little brother." "I was just laughing,” Hart said of Michigan State taking the lead. “I thought it was funny. They got excited. Sometimes you get your little brother excited when you’re playing basketball, and you let him get the lead, and then you come back and take it back."


The game on October 25, 2008, in Ann Arbor, was the first UM–MSU game for new Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez who, like his four immediate predecessors, lost his first meeting with MSU. Early in the game, Michigan scored on a pass to running back Brandon Minor, who was only able to get one foot on a pylon. The pass was initially called incomplete, but the play was reviewed and ruled a touchdown. The commissioner of the Big Ten later said the call was wrong.[9] The two teams traded touchdowns for most of the game until MSU broke free in the fourth quarter. The Spartans won the game handily, 35–21. [10]


The next contest took place on October 3, 2009, in East Lansing. The undefeated, 25th-ranked, Wolverines were expected to defeat the 1–3 Spartans, but Michigan State took the lead in the first quarter and held it for much of the game, extending the lead to 20–6 with a touchdown 13 seconds into the fourth quarter. However, Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier rallied to tie it up 20–20 with a touchdown pass to Roy Roundtree with two seconds remaining. In overtime, Michigan State cornerback Chris L. Rucker intercepted a tipped pass from Tate Forcier. On MSU's possession, running back Larry Caper scored on a 24-yard touchdown run. It marked the first time Michigan State had won in back-to-back years since winning three straight from 1965 to 1967. [11]


The next game took place in Ann Arbor on October 9, 2010. At one point in the second quarter Michigan led the Spartans 10–7, but the Spartans began a rally and led 17–10 at the half. In the third quarter the Spartans went up 31–10 until the early fourth quarter when Michigan was able to score another touchdown. This game marked the third Spartan victory in a row, including two at Ann Arbor; this was the first time since 1965–1967 that the Spartans had won three consecutive contests against their in-state rival. This game was the first since MSU's victory at home against Notre Dame earlier in the season that coach Mark Dantonio was able to coach the entire game due to a heart attack suffered soon after the ND game. Many MSU players and staff cited his return as a major factor in defeating UM so decisively. [12]


On a windy day in East Lansing, Denard Robinson led the Wolverines to a touchdown on the opening drive. Michigan State answered back with a Edwin Baker touchdown. After two quarters, they were tied 7-7. After a couple of Kirk Cousin touchdowns, the Wolverines answered back with a few turnovers and got within seven. But Robinson threw a pick six and it proved too much of an insurmountable lead for the Wolverines to come back. Final score was 28-14, Michigan State. Michigan State won for the fourth straight year.

Game results

Year Michigan Michigan State Location
1953 Michigan 6 Michigan State (#4) 14 East Lansing, MI
1954 Michigan (#20) 33 Michigan State 7 Ann Arbor, MI
1955 Michigan (#2) 14 Michigan State (#20) 7 Ann Arbor, MI
1956 Michigan (#4) 0 Michigan State (#2) 9 Ann Arbor, MI
1957 Michigan (#5) 6 Michigan State (#2) 35 Ann Arbor, MI
1958 Michigan (#15) 12 Michigan State 12 East Lansing, MI
1959 Michigan 8 Michigan State 34 Ann Arbor, MI
1960 Michigan 17 Michigan State (#13) 24 East Lansing, MI
1961 Michigan (#5) 0 Michigan State (#2) 28 Ann Arbor, MI
1962 Michigan 0 Michigan State 28 East Lansing, MI
1963 Michigan 7 Michigan State 7 Ann Arbor, MI
1964 Michigan (#4) 17 Michigan State (#9) 10 East Lansing, MI
1965 Michigan 7 Michigan State (#4) 24 Ann Arbor, MI
1966 Michigan 7 Michigan State (#1) 20 East Lansing, MI
1967 Michigan 0 Michigan State 34 Ann Arbor, MI
1968 Michigan 28 Michigan State (#12) 14 Ann Arbor, MI
1969 Michigan (#13) 12 Michigan State 23 East Lansing, MI
1970 Michigan (#6) 34 Michigan State 20 Ann Arbor, MI
1971 Michigan (#2) 24 Michigan State 13 East Lansing, MI
1972 Michigan (#5) 10 Michigan State 0 Ann Arbor, MI
1973 Michigan (#4) 21 Michigan State 0 East Lansing, MI
Year Michigan Michigan State Location
1974 Michigan (#3) 21 Michigan State 7 Ann Arbor, MI
1975 Michigan (#12) 16 Michigan State (#15) 6 East Lansing, MI
1976 Michigan (#1) 42 Michigan State 10 Ann Arbor, MI
1977 Michigan (#2) 24 Michigan State 14 East Lansing, MI
1978 Michigan (#4) 15 Michigan State 24 Ann Arbor, MI
1979 Michigan (#11) 21 Michigan State (#16) 7 East Lansing, MI
1980 Michigan 27 Michigan State 23 Ann Arbor, MI
1981 Michigan (#6) 38 Michigan State 20 East Lansing, MI
1982 Michigan 31 Michigan State 17 Ann Arbor, MI
1983 Michigan (#13) 42 Michigan State 0 East Lansing, MI
1984 Michigan (#11) 7 Michigan State 19 Ann Arbor, MI
1985 Michigan (#3) 31 Michigan State 0 East Lansing, MI
1986 Michigan (#3) 27 Michigan State 6 Ann Arbor, MI
1987 Michigan (#12) 11 Michigan State 17 East Lansing, MI
1988 Michigan (#17) 17 Michigan State 3 Ann Arbor, MI
1989 Michigan (#5) 10 Michigan State (#19) 7 East Lansing, MI
1990 Michigan (#1) 27 Michigan State 28 Ann Arbor, MI
1991 Michigan (#5) 45 Michigan State 28 East Lansing, MI
1992 Michigan (#3) 35 Michigan State 10 Ann Arbor, MI
1993 Michigan (#9) 7 Michigan State 17 East Lansing, MI
1994 Michigan (#8) 40 Michigan State 20 Ann Arbor, MI
Year Michigan Michigan State Location
1995 Michigan (#7) 25 Michigan State 28 East Lansing, MI
1996 Michigan (#9) 45 Michigan State 29 Ann Arbor, MI
1997 Michigan (#5) 23 Michigan State (#14) 7 East Lansing, MI
1998 Michigan 29 Michigan State 17 Ann Arbor, MI
1999 Michigan (#3) 31 Michigan State (#11) 34 East Lansing, MI
2000 Michigan (#16) 14 Michigan State 0 Ann Arbor, MI
2001 Michigan (#6) 24 Michigan State 26 East Lansing, MI
2002 Michigan (#15) 49 Michigan State 3 Ann Arbor, MI
2003 Michigan (#13) 27 Michigan State (#9) 20 East Lansing, MI
2004 Michigan (#14) 45 Michigan State 37 Ann Arbor, MI
2005 Michigan 34 Michigan State (#11) 31 East Lansing, MI
2006 Michigan 31 Michigan State 13 Ann Arbor, MI
2007 Michigan (#14) 28 Michigan State 24 East Lansing, MI
2008 Michigan 21 Michigan State 35 Ann Arbor, MI
2009 Michigan (#22) 20 Michigan State 26 East Lansing, MI
2010 Michigan (#18) 17 Michigan State (#17) 34 Ann Arbor, MI
2011 Michigan (#11) 14 Michigan State (#23) 28 East Lansing, MI
Current series: Michigan leads, 34-23-2[13]

See also


External links

Media related to Paul Bunyan Trophy at Wikimedia Commons

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