Thousands of Badger fans were rewarded with a victory after they flocked to Gopher territory this weekend, showing their support in the fabled battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe while reporting less hostile treatment from Gophers than Badgers are known to dole out at Camp Randall.
Badgers showed up in full force to the University of Minnesota’s brand new TCF Bank stadium Saturday. Associate Athletics Director for Facilities at the UM Scott Ellis estimated Badger fans made up 10 to 15 percent of those in attendance, meaning there were somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 fans sporting Badger red.
Because the UM requires a Minnesota student ID to get into the student section, Andy Seeley, associate director of athletics communications at the UM, did not think too many Badger fans were able to enter the student section, though he said he saw some spatters of red here and there.
Mike Osberg, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin last spring and now attends graduate school at the UM, was one Badger fan that was able to brave the Gophers’ student section.
Sporting red in a sea of maroon and gold drew anticipated ridicule and jeers, Osberg said, though he thought it was a relatively respectful and good-spirited rivalry experience overall.
“I did get hit with plenty of flying debris during the game, but I understand that the same thing would happen at Camp Randall too,” Osberg said.
Despite their best efforts, many Badger fans were unable to penetrate the ranks of the Gopher student section, according to Ellis, who said they confiscated a “stack” of Minnesota student IDs from people who did not match the picture; something they have not had problems with at the previous two games at TCF Bank stadium this year.
Greta Mattison, a UW sophomore who snuck into the student section using a friend’s ID, said she was disappointed with the low level of harassment she received, though she was repeatedly called a “dumb bitch” by a group of girls standing behind her.
“It was kind of a joke,” Mattison said. “I expected it would be way worse because there wouldn’t be as many Badger fans in the student section. I was definitely disappointed. I really like that aspect of the rivalry. I was hoping it would be a little more exciting.”
With few finger-pointing chants of “asshole,” and not much targeted jeering at all, Mattison said the experience was nothing like what she has seen for visiting fans at Camp Randall.
Osberg agreed the level of “crap” Badger fans received in Minnesota was nowhere near what he saw visiting fans receive at Camp Randall during his time as a Badger, though he attributed some of this to the newness of the stadium.
“It’s always intense,” UW Director of Athletics Communications Justin Doherty said. “It’s two states that border each other with a long history of rivalry. … It just makes for a natural rivalry. I thought it was intense as usual, the game was intense as usual, it was a lot of fun.”