MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The last time Minnesota beat the Badgers in football to take home Paul Bunyan's axe was 2003.
But with a new coach and a new outlook, the Gophers are hoping this year is theirs.
Standing in their way, however, is one of the most formidable teams in college football: an undefeated Wisconsin team--ranked No. 5 in the country--that measures among the top in nearly every metric.
Last year head coach P.J. Fleck faced the Badgers in the Cotton Bowl while he was coach at Western Michigan, and while there are certainly takeaways from that game the Gophers can use this season he says the team has also improved tremendously and doesn't make many mistakes.
"They're incredibly consistent," Fleck said. "They have a group of guys that have played together for a while now--especially on defense, they've got a dominating front four on defense."
Recovering the axe for the first time in 14 years will be a tall task for a Minnesota team still reeling from a 39-0 loss to No. 22 Northwestern Saturday, but head coach P.J. Fleck says he's confident his team will put up a fight.
"It's very obvious what we have to do to win--we have to get takeaways on defense," he said. "If we don't get takeaways on defense, it's going to be a long night."