Rivalry Trophies on the Line in Week 10

Oct 1, 2011; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverine players hold up the Little Brown Jug after the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

The week typically associated with rivalry games is still almost a month away, but Week 10 features numerous rivalry trophies on the line.

Michigan-Minnesota: Little Brown Jug

Michigan visited Minnesota in 1903 for the two universities’ first gridiron meeting. Legendary head coach Fielding Yost brought a brown jug to drink water on the sidelines. Michigan’s official athletic site, MGoBlue.com, reports Minnesota scored a late touchdown to tie the Wolverines at 6. Here’s what followed:

When they blasted over the goal line, the fans rushed the field in excitement. The ensuing pandemonium led to the game being called with time still remaining on the clock.

In their haste to leave and catch the train back to Chicago, Michigan left the jug behind. Minnesota equipment manager Oscar Munson found it the following morning and brought it to Director of Athletics L.J. Cooke. In remembrance of the game, they decided to give it a paint job, scribing, “Michigan Jug – Captured by Oscar, October 31, 1903,” on one side. On the opposite face they spelled out the score, “Minnesota 6, Michigan 6,” making the Minnesota “6″ three times larger than the Michigan score.

The Golden Gopher equipment manager who held Yost’s jug hostage was Munson, not Muntz — as in Nelson, who sang “Little Brown Jug” on an episode of The Simpsons. Michigan would get its shot at recouping the jug in 1909, the first official installment of the rivalry series.

Akron-Kent State: Battle for the Wagon Wheel

Ohio-based MAC rivals Akron and Kent State are on opposite ends of the conference: Akron is showing renewed fight under Terry Bowden, but still in the MAC cellar, while Kent State is likely bound for its first bowl in 1972. The Zips can steal something meaningful from the Golden Flashes today though, should they hop away with the Wagon Wheel en tow.

Kent State University says the Wagon Wheel was first contested in 1946, but its legacy goes back much further:

As the most accepted legend has it, the wheel came off of a wagon owned by John R. Buchtel when it was stuck in the mud during a search for the site of a new college in the spring of 1870. While the incident took place near what is now Kent State University, Buchtel settled on a site in Akron. Buchtel College eventually became the University of Akron.

Illinois-Ohio State: Illi-Buck

Oct 15, 2011; Champaign, IL, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes fans celebrate with the Illini-Buck trophy during the fourth quarter of the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes won 17-7. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE


The Big Ten has numerous trophy games, and Illinois vs. Ohio State is one of the less prominent despite playing for one of the cooler trophies. Minnesota and Iowa play for a pig: the Floyd of Rosedale; Illinois and Ohio State play for a turtle, the Illi-Buck. TourTheTen.com explains where the trophy originated:

The tradition started in 1925 when junior honorary Bucket and Dipper at OSU and sophomore and junior honorary Atius-Sachem at the University of Illinois, got together to celebrate the game winner. “Illy” Illibuck, as he is nicknamed, was originally a live turtle, but following his death in 1927, has since been a wooden replica with scores of each year’s game carved on its back. Each fall, “The Illibuck Pass” takes place when members of Bucket and Dipper and Atius-Sachem meet on the field to pass the trophy to the victor of the previous year’s game.

Perhaps the Illibuck inspired Grantland.com to list this clunker in its top 10 games? Nah.

Whittier-Occidental: Battle for the Shoes

Chris Fowler shouted out this Div. III rivalry of two L.A.-area universities on Saturday’s College GameDay, and I’m glad he did. Though Occidental recruited a high school me to play basketball (here’s where I’m obligated to remind you D-III does not award scholarships), I had no clue that the school’s football program played for one of the more interest prizes: a pair of bronze shoes.

Perhaps your mother bronzed your baby shoes. Well, it’s a bit like that. Occidental students stole the cleats of Whittier All-American Myron Claxton in 1939, which led to him playing in work boots. The result?

Even so, Claxton led the Poets to a 36-0 victory as they went on to win the SCIAC title that year.

Following the game Claxton, who was the final draft pick of the Giants in the 1940 NFL draft, went over to the Oxy sideline and retrieved his shoes, “bringing them home”. Seven years later members of the Franklin Society, which Claxton was a member, had the shoes bronzed and the teams have played for the coveted “Shoes” trophy ever since.

Since the introduction of the trophy the teams are tied with a 33-33 record.

Topics: Football, Kent State Golden Flashes, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Ohio State Buckeyes

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