how old is the paul bunyan trophy: According to the University of Michigan, it was first presented in 1953 in the game between the Wolverines and Spartans. Michigan Gov. G. Mennen Williams put the trophy into circulation. It’s four feet tall and made of wood, showing Paul Bunyan with an axe and feet planted on the state of Michigan.

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The Michigan–Michigan State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State University Spartans. The teams first played in 1898 and have met 113 times. The winner of each year’s game receives the Paul Bunyan – Governor of Michigan Trophy, a four-foot wooden statue of a lumberjack that was first presented in 1953 to commemorate Michigan State’s beginning football competition as a member of the Big Ten Conference.

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Michigan leads the series with an overall record of 71–38–5, though the series has seen several ebbs and flows during which one team or the other has experienced periods of dominance. In the earliest years of the rivalry from 1898 to 1933, Michigan was the dominant program with a record of 23–2–3. The Spartans’ first victories were in 1913 and 1915 under head coach John Macklin. Prior to 1958, 44 of the 50 games were played on Michigan’s home field. The teams began alternating home fields in 1958.

The Spartans had four consecutive victories from 1934 to 1937 under head coach Charlie Bachman. With the arrival of Fritz Crisler as Michigan’s head coach in 1938, the Wolverines then won 12 consecutive games. During the 1950s and 1960s, under head coaches Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty, the Spartans had their most prolonged period of success against the Wolverines, compiling a record of 14–4–2.

The pendulum shifted back to the Wolverines under Bo Schembechler and his successors, as Michigan won 30 of 38 contests from 1970 to 2007. After Mike Hart’s statement in 2007 referring to the Spartans as the Wolverines’ “little brother”, the Spartans reasserted themselves under head coach Mark Dantonio, winning seven of eight games from 2008 to 2015. From 2016 to 2019, Michigan won three out of four, but the Spartans won the 2020 and 2021 games under new head coach Mel Tucker.