the little brown jug

this weekend is the annual battle between michigan and minnesota for “the little brown jug”, which is the oldest trophy in division 1a college athletics. the picture here to the left is the actually jug that was originally played for. but poor minnesota has not really seen the trophy other than it sitting over on michigan’s sideline since 1986. and michigan is 68-23-3 against them since the trophy was introduced. which a very interesting story and i will post it here for you….


Michigan-Minnesota: The Little Brown Jug Series

According to the 2004 NCAA records book, there are 57 trophy games involving Division I-A teams. They all owe their creation to the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, some misgivings about water and a 30-cent, putty-colored jug.

Michigan had won 28 straight games as it headed to Minneapolis for a battle with Minnesota in 1903. The Golden Gophers came into the game 10-0 on the season, with a crowd of 20,000 to root the home team on. Having doubts that Minnesota would provide pure water to the Michigan bench, head coach Fielding Yost ordered a manager, Tommy Roberts, to purchase a receptacle for drinking water which would be free from suspicion. Roberts purchased a five-gallon jug from a variety store in Minneapolis, and Michigan and Minnesota prepared to duel.

The Wolverines took a 6-0 lead in the first half, but the Gophers rallied to tie the game on a touchdown with two minutes remaining. When Minnesota blasted over the goal line, the fans, some sitting in trees and atop telephone poles, rushed the field in excitement. The pandemonium that ensued led to the game being called with time still left on the clock.

In their haste to leave and catch the train back to Chicago, the Michigan players dressed quickly and departed the stadium, leaving the jug behind. Minnesota equipment manager Oscar Munson found the jug the following morning and brought it to Director of Athletics L.J. Cooke. In remembrance of the exceptional tie, they decided to hold on to the jug and adorned it by painting, “Michigan Jug – Captured by Oscar, October 31, 1903,” and the score “Minnesota 6, Michigan 6” on the side of the jug.

When Yost sent a letter requesting the return of the jug, Cooke wrote back, “If you want it, you’ll have to come up and win it.” Due to the brutality of the 1903 game, the two teams did not meet again until 1909, when Michigan did win the jug, 15-6.

again…. GO BLUE!!!!!!!!

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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