When the clock expired on Michigan’s 32-23 win over rival Michigan State on Saturday, the Wolverines quickly realized something was missing.
They had come to Spartan Stadium for the Paul Bunyan Trophy, but Paul was nowhere to be found.
Actually, he had already been moved from the Spartans locker room to the Michigan locker room — watch below — but the Wolverines players wanted a victory lap with the 4-foot-tall statue on the field.
— Justin Rose (@JRoseWXYZ) October 29, 2016
“Me and Delano (Hill) wanted to go on the field so we could run around and get a little victory lap,” Wolverines cornerback Jourdan Lewis told the Detroit Free Press after the game. “But hey, we got it back, I’m excited to get it back home.”
Per Detroit Free Press reporter Mark Snyder, the trophy is traditionally held in the winning team’s locker room and, when it changes hands, the exchange happens as it did Saturday. However, Michigan State has broken that tradition in recent years and taken the trophy onto the field.
Paul Bunyan is historically a locker room trophy so it's usually exchanged in private. MSU took it to field a few years but that's unusual.
— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) October 30, 2016
And even though they didn’t get their turn to show off the trophy on the field, Michigan players had plenty of time to cherish the Paul Bunyan figure.
— Michigan Recruiting (@UMJumpmanFB) October 30, 2016
Some say Paul is home… I say my brother is home pic.twitter.com/pYjA0nJNjA
— Erik Magnuson (@erikmagnuson78) October 29, 2016
We have someone new riding the bus home with us! Welcome home Paul! pic.twitter.com/6ZLr9BL9k6
— Chris Partridge (@CoachCPartridge) October 29, 2016
Once Michigan returned to Ann Arbor, Paul Bunyan took his place in the Wolverines’ trophy case for the first time in four years.
Michigan will hope he stays there for awhile, only leaving to be placed in the victors’ locker room when the Wolverines play at Spartan Stadium. And who knows, maybe he’ll see the field next fall.