The annual Michigan-Michigan State game gives the winner state bragging rights, an inside track to a bowl game, and last, but certainly not least, ownership of the Paul Bunyan - Governor of Michigan Trophy.
Presented for the first time in the 1953 meeting between the Wolverines and the Spartans, the Paul Bunyan Trophy is the lesser-known of Michigan's two annual trophy games, shadowed by the nationally recognized Little Brown Jug Game between Michigan and Minnesota.
The Bunyan Trophy was put into circulation by then Michigan Governor G. Mennen Williams. The prize consists of a four-foot wooden statue of the legendary Paul Bunyan astride an axe with feet planted on a map of the state of Michigan. Two flags -- one with the Michigan "M" and the other with the Michigan State "S" -- are planted on either side of Bunyan. A five-foot stand supports the statue.
Michigan State won the first of the Bunyan Trophy games with a 14-6 victory in East Lansing. Through the 2012 season, Michigan has won the trophy 35 times and MSU 23, with two ties. In the 1970s to mid-1980s, U-M beat the Spartans in 13 of the 14 annual meetings, including a Bunyan Trophy-record streak of eight straight from 1970 to 1977.
Most recently, MSU retook possession of the trophy following a 29-6 victory on Nov. 2, 2013, at Spartan Stadium.
Paul Bunyan Governor of Michigan Trophy, Year-by-Year: