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Michigan–Minnesota football rivalry

Sport(s)Football
Total meetings99
Series recordMichigan leads 72–24–3
First meetingOctober 17, 1892
Minnesota 14, Michigan 6
Last meetingNovember 3, 2012
Michigan 35, Minnesota 13
Next meetingOctober 5, 2013
Largest winMichigan, 58–0 (2011)
Longest win streakMichigan, 16 (1987–2004)
Current win streakMichigan, 5 (2006–present)
TrophyLittle Brown Jug

The Michigan–Minnesota football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team of the University of Minnesota and Michigan Wolverines football team of the University of Michigan. The Little Brown Jug is an earthenware jug that serves as a trophy awarded to the winner of the game. It is not the oldest rivalry trophy (Officially 1901), but one of the oldest rivalries, in American college football; The oldest rivalry trophy is "The Territorial Trophy" between Arizona and Arizona State (1899) [1] Canada's Yates Cup is the oldest trophy in North America. While some historians and the NCAA state that the oldest rivalry with a trophy is between what is now Arizona and Arizona State, the Territorial Cup did not start changing hands until 2001, as it was a one-time award after their first series in 1899.[2]

Both universities are members of the Big Ten Conference. As a result of the Big Ten not playing a complete round-robin schedule, Michigan and Minnesota occasionally did not play. In 2011, however, with the University of Nebraska joining the Big Ten as its twelfth member and the conference's initiation of divisional play, Michigan and Minnesota were both placed in the Big Ten's Legends division under the new two-division alignment. As everyone in the division plays each other on a yearly basis, this series is scheduled not to have any interruption going forward. Michigan is the current holder of the jug with a 35–13 victory on November 3, 2012. Through the end of the 2012 season, Michigan leads in the Little Brown Jug games, 68–22–3, and the overall series, 72–24–3.

Series historyEdit

Pre-Brown JugEdit

The teams met for the first time in 1892 in Minneapolis, with Minnesota prevailing 14-6. Michigan and Minnesota played five more games over the next decade, Michigan winning four of those five.

1903 gameEdit

File:Michigan Jug.png

The earthenware jug, originally used by Michigan coach Fielding H. Yost, is painted with the victories of each team. The name most likely originates in the 1869 song of the same name by Joseph Winner.

After Yost took over coaching the Wolverines in 1901, the team went on to win 28 straight games. In the meantime, Minnesota assembled one of the best teams in school history, so Gopher fans were excited about possibly ending the Wolverines' streak.

As Yost and the team came into Minneapolis, student manager Thomas B. Roberts was told to purchase something to carry water. Yost was somewhat concerned that Gopher fans might contaminate his water supply. Roberts purchased a five-gallon jug for 30¢ from a local variety store.

Twenty thousand fans watched the matchup between the two teams in an overflowing Northrop Field. Minnesota held the fabled "point-a-minute" squad to just one touchdown, but hadn't yet managed to score a touchdown of their own. Finally, late in the second half, the Gophers reached the endzone to tie the game at 6. As clouds from an impending storm hung overhead, pandemonium struck when Minnesota fans stormed the field in celebration. Eventually the game had to be called with two minutes remaining. The Wolverines walked off the field, leaving the jug behind in the locker room of the University of Minnesota Armory.[3]

The next day custodian Oscar Munson brought the jug to L. J. Cooke, head of the Minnesota athletics department, and declared in a thick Scandinavian accent: "Yost left his yug." Exactly how Munson came to possess the jug is a bit of a mystery. Some accounts say that Munson purposely stole the jug in the chaos that ended the game, although most believe it was accidentally left behind. Thomas Roberts, writing in 1956, stated that the jug had served its purpose, so he intentionally left it sitting on the field.

File:LittleBrownJug.jpg

Still, Cooke and Munson were excited to have this little bit of memorabilia, proceeding to paint it brown (it had originally been putty-colored and currently is painted half blue, which is Michigan's color) and commemorate the day by writing "Michigan Jug –; Captured by Oscar, October 31, 1903" on the side along with the score "Michigan 6, Minnesota 6". Of course, in the spirit of the moment, Minnesota's score was written many times larger than that of Michigan.

When the two schools met in football again in 1909, Cooke and the Minnesota team captain decided that playing for the jug "might be material to build up a fine tradition between the two institutions." When presented with this idea, Yost and Michigan's captain agreed, and the jug thus became the traveling trophy it is today.[4] Michigan took home the jug in 1909 and 1910. Minnesota and Michigan met up again in 1919 after Michigan rejoined the Big Ten Conference, marking the first year that Minnesota won the jug outright.

Other notable gamesEdit

File:Minnesota Gophers.jpg

"The Battle of Giants" occurred in 1940, with undefeated Minnesota facing undefeated Michigan on November 9, 1940. Minnesota won 7–6.[5] Minnesota went on to go 8–0 and win the national championship. In 1977, Minnesota stunned #1 Michigan 16–0, it was the only loss of the regular season for the Wolverines as they advanced to the 1978 Rose Bowl.

In 1986, Minnesota was regarded as an easy victory for #2 Michigan as a 25-point underdog.[6] With two minutes to go and the game tied at 17, Minnesota quarterback Rickey Foggie scrambled to put Chip Lohmiller in position to kick the winning field goal.[6] The Gophers took home the Little Brown Jug from Michigan for the first time since 1977. Similarly, it was Michigan's only loss in the regular season on their way to the 1987 Rose Bowl.

The 2003 game was one of the most highly anticipated Michigan–Minnesota matchups in years.[7] Minnesota was ranked #17 and Michigan was ranked #20 with the game at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Down 28–7, Michigan put together a comeback in the fourth quarter to win 38–35.[8] Michigan advanced to the 2004 Rose Bowl. The next season, in another highly anticipated game, #14 Michigan came back again in the fourth quarter to defeat #13 Minnesota 27–24. Michigan advanced to the 2005 Rose Bowl.

Michigan has mostly dominated the series, particularly in the last four decades during which Minnesota has only held the jug three times. On October 8, 2005, Minnesota claimed the jug for the first time since 1986, defeating Michigan 23–20 on a last second field goal in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines grabbed the trophy right back the next year on September 30, with a 28–14 victory in Minneapolis.

Michigan won all 11 meetings with Minnesota at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which the Gophers shared with the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings from 1982 through 2008. The Wolverines made their first visit to TCF Bank Stadium in 2012.

Game resultsEdit

Year Minnesota Michigan Location

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Year Minnesota Michigan Location

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Year Minnesota Michigan Location

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Current series: Michigan leads 72–24–3

Note: Michigan and Minnesota played twice in 1926 (on October 16 in Ann Arbor and on November 20 in Minneapolis) due to conference scheduling issues for Minnesota. The two teams did not meet in 1928.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Michigan drops Minnesota for 12th straight win in Metrodome, Associated Press, November 8, 2008, Accessed November 24, 2008.
  2. Official 2007 NCAA Division I Football Records Book. National Collegiate Athletic Association. 2007. http://www.ncaa.org/library/records/football/football_records_book/2007/2007_d1_football_records_book.pdf.
  3. "History and Philosophy of Reserver Officer Training." University of Minnesota ROTC Alumni Society. http://www.umnrotcalumnisociety.org/history.php
  4. Dooley, Greg. "Louis “Doc” Cooke, Fielding Yost and True the Origins of Michigan-Minnesota Little Brown Jug Rivalry". MVictors.com. http://mvictors.com/?p=10084. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  5. Jenkins, Dan - This Year's Game Of The Decade. Sports Illustrated, November 22, 1971
  6. 6.0 6.1 Neff, Craig - Bo Tries On A Tie, Gets A Boot. Sports Illustrated, November 24, 1986
  7. Angel, Brett - Large crowd witnesses large Michigan comeback. Minnesota Daily, October 13, 2003
  8. Hunt, Bob - Both teams leave 2003 game in past. Michigan Daily, October 8, 2004

Additional sourcesEdit

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit

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