Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, November 25, 2014

 Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles rookie defensive tackle Beau Allen brings an interesting perspective to the Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry, which will be renewed for the 124th time this Saturday in Madison.

Allen played for the Badgers, from 2010-2013, but is a native of Minnesota.

This year, the stakes will be much higher beyond Paul Bunyan?s Axe, with the winner earning the West Division title and trip to the Big Ten title game.


The Badgers have won the last 10 meetings. Minnesota?s last triumph in Madison was 1994. Since then, the Gophers? lone victories have come in 2001 and 2003 in a series Minnesota leads 59-56-8.

I caught up with the 6-2, 333-pound Allen to get his memories and point of view on the biggest battle for Paul Bunyan?s Axe in decades.

Q: What does the rivalry mean to you, being a native of Minnesota and player at Wisconsin?
A: It?s hard to describe. But the first thing that comes to my mind is the Axe. It?s without a doubt the coolest rivalry game trophy in the nation. A big, bad-ass six-foot tall axe. I don?t think there is a college kid in Madison or Minneapolis who doesn?t get excited when they see that trophy. The rivalry is well over 100 years old. You have people from Wisconsin going to Minnesota and people from Minnesota going to Wisconsin. There is a lot of history there.

Q: Any good Axe stories? You ever take it back to your apartment? Or down State Street?
A: We didn?t do any of that stuff. We kept it locked up. I wish we could have done stuff like that. The coaches wouldn?t let us do stuff like that with the Axe.

Q: If you could have taken the Axe out, what would you have done with it?
A: I don?t know. Just parade it around, I guess. It?s pretty sweet.

Q: You have been posting some photos on Twitter (@Beau_Allen) this week about the rivalry. How much reaction have you gotten?
A: I have gotten a little bit. Someone from Minnesota Tweeted at me to not come back to Minnesota. I was like, whatever. I don?t think it?s that big of a deal. The fans on both sides really get into it.

Q: Last year, Wisconsin created a flap by running through the Minnesota players who were singing their alma mater to get the Axe and simulated cutting down the goal post (see picture above). Was that a big deal?
A: Whoever wins the game typically takes the Axe and acts like they are chopping down the goal post. It?s the way it always has been. We did that last year and there was a little confrontation. We didn?t realize (Minnesota) was singing its alma mater. We do it, too, after games. We weren?t trying to cause a big drama or anything. We were just excited we had the Axe again and wanted to chop down the goal post. Whatever.

Editor's note: This year, as a result of last season's dramatic, the trophy presentation will change. Read more here.

And here's more, too.

Q: Do you recall back in 2010, when Wisconsin was up big and Bret Bielema went for two points after a touchdown late in the game?
A: (Laughs) I just remember Coach Bielema telling us he had a card that told him when to go for two points. And he was following the card. He said it was on the card, so he went for two (laughs). From our point of view, it was a funny situation. But I could see why that would upset the other team.

Q: Have you talked to some of the guys on Wisconsin this year?
A: Yes. I didn?t redshirt, so the class I came in with is mostly still there as seniors-roommates and close buddies. They all understand how cool this rivalry is.

Q: Can you believe Minnesota hasn?t won in Wisconsin since 1994?
A: I didn?t realize that.

Q: How come Wisconsin has been able to dominate lately?
A: I??m not sure. I can?t really pinpoint it on one thing. It always has been a good game. A hard-fought game. I think about last year?s meeting. It was about five degrees. I don?t think we gave up a score on defense. Every year is a battle. I know we have won 10 in a row vs. Minnesota. That?s pretty cool.

One thing we do which I liked is once we were in Axe Week, throughout our facility and locker room, weight room, meeting room, they just loop over the old games. I think that is cool. You get to see buddies you played with. You can relive the past games.

Q: Where will you watch the game?
A: We play on Thursday in Dallas, so I will go back to my parent?s home in Minnetonka and watch the game. I will watch with my family.

Q: How come you aren?t going to the game in Madison?
A: I just wanna go home and see my parents and brother and sister. I thought about going to Madison, but I couldn?t really make it work, which is too bad.

Q: How many friendly bets do you have out on the game?
A: I?m still working on that. It?s still early in the week. It probably will be just friendly stuff with people back at home. Nothing crazy.

Q: Why did you leave Minnesota to attend Wisconsin?
A: I have family ties at Wisconsin. My uncle played football there. My parents went to Wisconsin. My dad was a cheerleader for the football team. My grandpa was an All-American swimmer at Wisconsin. It seemed like a good fit to me.

Q: Did you consider at all going to Minnesota?
A: I did. They recruited me and I took an official visit there when Tim Brewster was coach. They were a final-three school, but I went with Wisconsin.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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