Michigan–Minnesota football rivalry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Little Brown Jug (football)" redirects here. For other uses, see Little Brown Jug.
Michigan–Minnesota football rivalry
Big Ten Conference logo.png
Michigan Wolverines Block M.png MinnesotaGoldenGophers.png
Michigan Wolverines Minnesota Golden Gophers

Total meetings 101
Series record Michigan leads 73–25–3
First meeting October 17, 1892
Minnesota 14, Michigan 6
Last meeting September 27, 2014
Minnesota 30, Michigan 14
Next meeting October 31, 2015
Longest win streak Michigan, 16 (1987–2004)
Current win streak Minnesota, 1 (2014–present)
Trophy Little Brown Jug

The Michigan–Minnesota football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines football team of the University of Michigan and Minnesota Golden Gophers football team of the University of Minnesota. The Little Brown Jug is an earthenware jug that serves as a trophy awarded to the winner of the game. It is one of the oldest and most played rivalries in American college football, dating to 1892. The Little Brown Jug is the most regularly exchanged rivalry trophy in college football, and the second oldest rivalry trophy overall, next to the 1899 Territorial Cup (which did not become a travelling/exchange trophy until 2001).[1] contested between Arizona and Arizona State (which did not become a four year college until 1925).

Both universities are founding 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, with 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. However, when the conference expanded again three years later, the teams were split into opposite divisions (Michigan in the East, Minnesota in the West). The conference stated there will be only one protected crossover matchup under the new alignment, Indiana vs. Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket, meaning the rivalry will not be contested every year.[2]

Minnesota is the current holder of the jug with a 30–14 victory on September 27, 2014. Through the end of the 2014 season, Michigan leads the series, 73–25–3.

Series history[edit]

Pre-Brown Jug[edit]

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 game[edit]

Photograph of the "Michigan Jug" (which was neither little nor brown) from the 1909 Michiganensian

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.

When Yost and the team came into Minneapolis for the 1903 game, 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.[3][4]

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.[5]

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.

Replica of the Little Brown Jug on display in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2007. The real jug is kept in storage.

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.[6] 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 games[edit]

The 2003 edition of the battle for the Little Brown Jug. This particular game was famous for being the biggest comeback in Michigan football history.[7]

"The Battle of Giants" occurred in 1940, with undefeated Minnesota facing undefeated Michigan on November 9, 1940. Minnesota won 7–6. 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.[8] 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.[8] 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.[9] This was the 100th Anniversary of the 1903 game. The Little Brown Jug was featured on the cover of the Michigan Football Media Guide.[10] 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.[7][11][12] 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. In 2013, the 2003 game was singled out as one of the biggest setbacks to the Gopher Football team rebuilding since their last Big Ten Championship in 1967.[13][14][15]

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.

Accomplishments by the two rivals[edit]

Team Michigan[16] Minnesota[17]
National titles[18][19] 11 7
Bowl appearances[20][21] 43 16
Postseason bowl record 20–23 5–11
CFP playoff appearances 0 0
Rose Bowl appearances 20 2
Rose Bowl record 8–12 1–1
Big Ten Division titles[22] 0 0
Big Ten titles 42 18
Consensus All-American Players[23][24] 78 33
Heisman Trophies[25] 3 1
All-time program record 915–328–36 668–497–44
All-time win percentage .729 .571

Game results[edit]

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.


  1. ^ Official 2007 NCAA Division I Football Records Book. National Collegiate Athletic Association. 2007. 
  2. ^ "Report: U-M, MSU to play in Big Ten 'East'". 
  3. ^ MCCOLLOUGH, J. BRADY - 1903 Team Manager Tells Tale of the 'Jug'. Michigan Daily, October 9, 2003
  4. ^ Account from Michigan Football Student Manager Tommy Roberts. The Grand Rapids Press Oct. 18, 1959
  5. ^ "History and Philosophy of Reserver Officer Training." University of Minnesota ROTC Alumni Society. http://www.umnrotcalumnisociety.org/history.php
  6. ^ Dooley, Greg. "The (True) Origins of The Little Brown Jug Rivalry". MVictors.com. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Hunt, Bob - Both teams leave 2003 game in past Michigan Daily, October 7, 2004
  8. ^ a b Neff, Craig - Bo Tries On A Tie, Gets A Boot. Sports Illustrated, November 24, 1986
  9. ^ Angel, Brett - Large crowd witnesses large Michigan comeback. Minnesota Daily, October 13, 2003
  10. ^ Michigan Football Media Guide, 2003 season
  11. ^ Hunt, Bob - Both teams leave 2003 game in past. Michigan Daily, October 8, 2004
  12. ^ Gophers allow 28-7 lead to escape Associated Press, October 10, 2003. " John Navarre directed the biggest comeback in Michigan history and put the Wolverines back into the thick of the Big Ten race."
  13. ^ Fuller, Marcus R. - Gophers football: 10 years ago, Michigan changed everything Pioneer Press, October 4, 2013
  14. ^ Reusse, Patrick - Patrick Reusse from Oct. 10, 2003: For a while, we actually believed. Star Tribune, October 2, 2013
  15. ^ Scoggins, Chip - Reliving one fateful night in Gophers football Star Tribune, October 3, 2013
  16. ^ "Michigan Wolverines Index". Sports-References.com. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "Minnesota Golden Gophers Index". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "NCAA Football Championship History". NCAA.com. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Minnesota Championships". GopherSports.com. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "Michigan Bowl History". CollegeFootballPoll.com. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "Minnesota Bowl History". CollegeFootballPoll.com. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "Divisional Rankings". ESPN.go.com. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  23. ^ "Michigan Wolverines All-America Selections". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Minnesota All-America Selections". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  25. ^ "Past Heisman Trophy Winners". NationalChamps.net. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 

Additional sources[edit]


External links[edit]