Wisconsin, Nebraska to play for newly announced Freedom Trophy
MADISON, Wis. — No. 25 Wisconsin and No. 11 Nebraska will play Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in the teams’ most significant Big Ten game this season. Now, the two football programs also will play for something else: a trophy.
School officials on Monday announced the Badgers and Cornhuskers would battle each season as Big Ten West division foes for the Freedom Trophy.
"Trophy games are part of the tradition of college football, and I’m thrilled that we’re going to be introducing one into our rivalry with Nebraska," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a news release. "The Freedom Trophy brings recognition to two historic football venues and it honors our nation’s veterans. It is something I know the coaches, student-athletes and fans of both programs will embrace for years to come."
The Freedom Trophy, designed and sculpted by Harry Weber of Wright City, Missouri, features a bronze football stadium with an American flag extending from the center. One half of the outside of the stadium depicts the North section of Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium (built in 1917) and the other half the East side of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium (1923). The stadium and flag sculpture sits on top of a wooden base that has dedicated space for future Wisconsin-Nebraska game scores. With the Big Ten establishing East and West divisions for football prior to this season, the Huskers and Badgers will now play each other every year as members of the West Division.
The base also contains an identical inscription on two sides that reads:
"The Freedom Trophy pays tribute to the brave men and women who have fought in our nation’s wars. The University of Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium, built on what was once a Civil War training ground, and the University of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium, dedicated in honor of our nation’s veterans, stand as proud monuments to those who have sacrificed so much in the name of freedom."
Wisconsin and Nebraska have met twice as Big Ten foes during the regular season since the Cornhuskers joined the conference in 2011. Wisconsin defeated Nebraska 48-17 at Camp Randall Stadium in 2011 and lost 30-27 at Memorial Stadium in 2012. The Badgers defeated the Cornhuskers 70-31 for the Big Ten championship later that season.
The announcement of the Freedom Trophy marks Wisconsin’s third Big Ten trophy game. Wisconsin already plays Iowa annually for the Heartland Trophy and Minnesota for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.
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