Football players sound off on influence of Paul Bunyan trophy
Since 1953, the MSU-Michigan game has had more importance than in-state bragging rights and Big Ten implications.
The two teams have also been playing for the Paul Bunyan trophy, a replica of the famous woodsman that some consider to be ugly. But if you wear blue or green on Saturday, there isn't a more beautiful sight.
Just ask MSU senior offensive lineman Travis Jackson.
"I think Paul Bunyan is a beautiful man," he said. "So I'll pass that question along."
The trophy stays with the winner of the annual game for the entirety of the year. Senior safety Kurtis Drummond said the presence of the trophy raises awareness of the importance of the game and reminds players what they are playing for.
"When you see him in the locker room, you see guys paying attention," he said. "It raises enthusiasm throughout the locker room when you see a trophy like that. It kind of brings an edge to you on the practice field."
Although the two schools have been playing each other almost every year since 1910, the trophy was awarded in 1953 by then governor G. Mennen Williams as a celebration of MSU joining the Big Ten four years prior in 1949.
The trophy stands at about four feet tall, and is usually seen being carried around by players of the winning team after the game.
MSU has had a hold of Paul Bunyan for five of the past six seasons. U-M holds the all-time lead in the rivalry 68-33-5.