This edition of #TWIMFbH first goes back to a dark day in recent lore, the 1973 Big Ten AD vote that sent the Buckeyes, not your beloved Meechigan men to the Rose Bowl.  But then we shoot back to 1950 to one of the wildest games in college football history – to be forever known as The Snow Bowl.  Go Blue!


Here’s the clip:

TWIMFbH is sponsored by Hillside Terrace of Ann Arbor.  This segment can be heard on the Keybank Countdown to Kickoff and you can listen live on 1050AM in Ann Arbor & on around the world.  This segment plays approximately 2 hours before kickoff each week – specifically around 10am Saturday morning before THE GAME.

You can hear the archive of This Week in Michigan Football History clips here.    If you have suggestions for future games hit me on Twitter @MVictors.  Go Blue!

/script …after the jump

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[Ed. Bumped for Beat Ohio week.]

by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

On November 24,1973 the Ohio State Buckeyes performed one of the most heinous acts in any rivalry, in any sport – they went after the sacred GO BLUE M CLUB SUPPORTS YOU banner.
If you aren’t aware of this, or have been living under a rock, I have created a YouTube Video that documents this act, one which legendary broadcaster Bob Ufer decried that the Buckeyes “will meet a dastardly fate here for that!”

When the Buckeyes returned in 1975 word was that Woody wanted to do it again, but this time the Michigan Students were ready.  The Buckeyes decided that discretion was the better part of valor, so no dastardly shenanigans ensued.

Recently, I was doing some work for the Ufer Family and I stumbled across a video that was labeled “1973 OSU Banner.”   Curious to see what it was, I popped in the videotape only to see that it was NOT the 1973 OSU Banner Incident.  The short clip is what I call, ‘1977 OSU Banner Incident Part 2.’   As I watched the tape I noticed that a few Michigan Students wearing their M varsity jackets were indeed fending off Woody and his Buckeyes.  There were some serious haymakers being thrown as things got downright ugly. Ohio State players and coaches got involved, even the fat-man himself, old Dr. Strange Hayes, was part of the melee.  Check it out!

The more I looked at the video, the more fixated I became on one student who seemed to be exhibiting some very sound blocking fundamentals and technique. At the end of the video, I got the somewhat blurry money-shot of the courageous M Man. Much like the old Bigfoot Bluff Creek video footage from the 1970s, the image was grainy but I could make out some defining features and characteristics of the subject.

Light brown, mullet length hair. Possibly a goatee with a mustache. Tough looking dude for sure…

..could it be this guy?

Dave Gallagher

It couldn’t be?!   That’s former M man All-American Dave Gallagher who graduated in 1973 and who I believed was playing in the NFL in 1977.   Or was he?

When I double-checked his NFL stats, I noticed that there was a one-year hiatus in his career…in 1977!

I recently tracked down Dr. Gallagher and asked him if he indeed was the Buckeye Banner basher dude.

His response?  “Yes I was,” he told me as I could hear him proudly smile over the phone.

My suspicions confirmed, I needed to find out more.   Not only was it Gallagher, former Michigan teammates Doug Troszak and Tom Drake also donned their M Jackets to thwart Woody and company one more time.

“I bought tickets and I told them (Troszak & Drake) that we were going to defend the banner,” the 1973 co-captain told me.
“We stood in front of the banner as a warning to Woody and them,” he recalled.

But the Ohio State players and coaches paid no heed to #71’s warning as they headed right for the M Club banner that fateful day in 1977.

Push came to shove and next thing you know, even Woody started throwing some punches himself!

Don’t believe it? See for yourself:

Woody Hayes banner incident 1977Photo Credit: Alan Bilinsky (Michigan Daily) via U-M Bentley Historical Library

Here’s the caption from the Daily:


Yup – that’s Woody Hayes already grabbing Gallagher with his right hand and clenching his left fist about to show the former Michigan Captain how much the old man still had in his left hook.

Now remember, all this happened before the Wolverines took the field! After cooler heads finally prevailed, Gallagher emerged with a bloody nose and ready to grab his #71 jersey one last time!

The first Michigan coach to see what was going on was Freshman Coach Dennis Brown. He relayed what had just transpired to the maize and blue waiting in the locker room and you can only imagine how fired up they were to take the field in 1977!

Michigan took down Woody and his Scarlet and Gray Test-tubes that day, 14-6, to win the Big Ten Title in 1977, but Dave Gallagher got one more souvenir from his last skirmish with the Scarlet & Gray.

“At the end of the year, the Michigan Football team held a players-only banquet and I was the only non-player invited to the event. The 1977 team gave me a plaque commemorating my involvement in defending the banner that year.”

Where Ufer Laid Woody Hayes Away
Woody says, “Don’t give this to Bo!”
Woody’s message for you Poindexters


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Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is a Schembechler-era savant and once again this season he’ll be diligently handing out his postgame helmet stickers after each game. Sap has pored over hours and hours of U-M games over several decades, and in these posts he’s able to tie the present to the past.  I encourage you to subscribe to Dr. Sap on YouTube, or follow Sap on Twitter.


OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – It’s always difficult awarding champions after a loss because, for the most part, no one typically will have played a perfect game. Mistakes were made all over the field, in all phases of the game. Having said all that, I’m awarding my decals to those players whom I feel demonstrated the ability to be game-breakers. I call that out because in order to beat Ohio State next week, players will need to step up and make plays.

On offense that guy is Chris Evans. He seems to finally be healthy and quite possibly THE ONLY healthy runningback right now. He was close to going all the way against Wisconsin on a couple of plays, on Saturday. He can hit the home run and/or leap over defenders in a single bound as he did last week against Maryland. Hopefully #12 can channel his inner Clarke Kent because the offense could sure use something “super” right now. In my opinion, Evans gives this offense its best chance to score against the Bucks next week. I say put him everywhere: tailback, wildcat QB, wingback, slotback, H-Back…any back – just get the ball to #12!

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – On the defensive side of the ball, Khaleke Hudson is still THE GUY who can give the D its best chance to not only prevent points from being scored, but also being responsible for scoring points. He had another great game in a losing cause against the Badgers, but he is a game-changer. In order to beat OSU next week, at least one TD will need to be scored by the defense. Look for #7 to do that next Saturday.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – It was quite apparent early on that the game in Madison was going to be all about field position. That put a big burden on punter, Brad Robbins. He was up to the task on Saturday as he consistently pinned the Badgers deep in their own territory. Hitting the coffin-corner on his punts like he did against Wisconsin is critical when playing the field-position game. When opponents start drives inside their own 20-yard line, the playbook shrinks in size and the defense can pin their collective ears back and bring the heat. It rattled the Badger QB on several occasions and it will need to happen next week against that-team-from-down-south.

COACHING CHAMPION – From one doctor to another, I gotta tip my hat & credit Dr. Blitz for all the schemes and stunts he employed against Wisconsin. His defense was the reason Michigan was in the game for as long as they were on Saturday. The last time I saw a Michigan Defense be so dominant and almost win games on its own was in 1997. Hopefully Don Brown and his dudes have something special planned for the Buckeyes.

UNIFORM CHAMPION – I don’t know about you, but I thought the Michigan helmets looked pretty darn good with all those helmet stickers on them Saturday. The decals didn’t look too big, there didn’t seem to be too many stickers on the helmets, and more importantly, no stickers were being placed between the stripes. So ya, I like the look, and I think they finally got it right!

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Week by Week Champions (O = Offense, D = Defense, T = Special Teams, C = Coaching, U = Uniform, E = Editor’s pick)
Week 1 vs. Florida:  Ty Issac (O), Devin Bush (D), Quinn Nordin (T), Don Brown, Greg Mattison (C), all-maize unis (U), Camaron Cheeseman (E)
Week 2 vs. Cincinnati:  Ty Issac (O), Tyree Kinnel (D), Grant Perry (T), Greg Mattison (C), refined helmet decals (U).
Week 3 vs. Air Force:  N/A (O), Chase Winovich (D), Quinn Nordin & Donovan Peoples-Jones (T), Jim Harbaugh (C), full on maize and blue uniforms (U)
Week 4 vs. Purdue: John O’Korn (O), Devin Bush (D), Brad Robbins (T), Don Brown (C), white-arm-sleeves-on-shins (U)
Week 5 vs. Michigan State: N/A
Week 6 vs. Indiana: Karan Higdon (O), Maurice Hurst (D) and (T), Tim Drevno (C)
Week 7 vs. Penn State:  N/A
Week 8 vs. Rutgers:  Brandon Peters (O), Maurice Hurst (D), Garrett Moores (T), Jimmy Harbaugh (C), Helmet sticker numbers (U)
Week 9 vs. Minnesota: Karan Higdon & Chris Evans (O), Khaleke Hudson (D), Donovan Peoples-Jones (T), Tim Drevno (C), Jordan Skullcap (U), -1 decal –> Chase Winovich (E)
Week 10 vs. Maryland: N/A
Week 11 vs. Wisconsin: 
Week 12 vs. Ohio State:


This edition of #TWIMFbH goes back to the Wisconsin game in 1905.   The Yostmen were still dominating on the field, and indeed putting up a point-a-minute.  But this was also scary time on the field for players, and in this game, it got downright scary off the field approximately 2,000 fans at Ferry Field.

When stands don't stand (1905) | photo via U-M Bentley Historical Library

When stands don’t stand (1905) | photo via U-M Bentley Historical Library


Here’s the clip:

TWIMFbH is sponsored by Hillside Terrace of Ann Arbor.  This segment can be heard on the Keybank Countdown to Kickoff and you can listen live on 1050AM in Ann Arbor & on around the world.  This segment plays approximately 2 hours before kickoff each week.

1905 Michigan Wisconsin ticket

Creepy cartoon!

You can hear the archive of This Week in Michigan Football History clips here.    If you have suggestions for future games hit me on Twitter @MVictors.  Go Blue!

/script …after the jump

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Chicago Daily Tribune, Nov 17, 1937

Eighty years ago today on November 13, 1937, this Western Union telegram landed in Ann Arbor (a copy was later obtained by the Michigan Daily and plastered on the front page):

In the fall of 1937 things were a bit dicey for the football program.  Since the 1933 national championship, coach Harry Kipke’s crew had just a handful of wins on the the field.   And in November 1937 the university launched a well-publicized investigation of the program, suspecting that football players were being “subsidized.”  Kipke was sitting atop a flaming hot seat.

As the drama unfolded, eyes turned to Michigan freshman Tom Harmon.   Despite the struggles on the field (..but perhaps due to some of the questionable behavior off the field) Kipke landed the multi-sport high school superstar from Gary, IN.   In the fall of ‘37 he suited up for the freshman football team as was required back then.   Harmon’s athletic exploits in high school made him widely known in the sporting world and even as a freshman, having yet to take a snap on the varsity squad, a Chicago Tribune headline dubbed frosh Harmon a “star”.

Suddenly Harmon found himself involved in the off-field drama.  He was named in the investigation as one of the freshman football student-athletes who were allegedly illegally compensated, and soon word spread across the land that Harmon might entertain changing scenery.

Several schools were interested in Harmon’s services, most publicly Tulane.  A telegram sent by the then-southeastern Conference school was obtained and published by The Michigan Daily.  In the wired note, Tulane assistant coach Bill Bevan told Harmon, “Our offer still stands. [You] Can still enter this semester.”

trib Chicago Daily Tribune, Nov 17, 1937

When asked what exactly that “offer” was, Bevan explained it was, “an athletic scholarship,” which he added was, “perfectly legal in the Southeastern conference.”  Note that Michigan didn’t offer athletic scholarships at the time.   If Tulane sounds like a strange destination for a Midwestern kid, Harmon’s brother Gene played basketball for the Green Wave so there was a connection.

One of the potential destinations for Harmon was rumored to be Yale, but when word spread that the people in New Haven may have offered Harmon some sort of financial assistance, the school fired back hard.   They denied the claims & made it known that Harmon had applied to attend Yale in January 1937—at least kind of.    After requesting admission and financial aid, Yale sent the necessary forms.  In his only letter to the school he wrote that his credentials for admission to the Ivy League college were: “Four years of football, four years of basketball, two years of track.”

No mention his of skills with the ladies.

Old 98 of course decided to stay in Ann Arbor.  Kipke was found guilty of subsidizing players (among other things) and was fired in December 1937.  Harmon wasn’t penalized in the aftermath and would thrive during his three varsity-eligible years under new coach Fritz Crisler.   His exploits peaked in 1940 when he dodged at least one drunk fan and later accepted the Heisman Trophy.

The Drunk and Old 98
Tommy’s the BMOC
Harmon and Old Number..Six?
Tom Harmon says ‘Vote Heston’
Harmon Jitterbugs with Joan & Jinx
Harmon Goes for the Gusto

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Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is a Schembechler-era savant and once again this season he’ll be diligently handing out his postgame helmet stickers after each game. Sap has pored over hours and hours of U-M games over several decades, and in these posts he’s able to tie the present to the past.  I encourage you to subscribe to Dr. Sap on YouTube, or follow Sap on Twitter.

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – I get the fact that Minnesota is a team in transition with first year coach, PJ Fleck, but that shouldn’t take a way from the accomplishments of Karan Higdon and Chris Evans. Those two guys look much like Jamie Morris and Thomas Wilcher in stature, but they ran like the record-setting duo of Gordon Bell and Rob Lytle back in 1975. Much like #5 and #41 ran for 100 yards each in two consecutive games, so have Higdon and Evans. I recognize the last two opponents have not exactly been upper echelon teams, but cracking the century mark in two straight games is noteworthy. I just loved how they hit the home run and showed you that they could go the distance on any play. This offense is gonna need that type of running and game-breaking ability these next three weeks.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – As I was watching Khaleke Hudson wreak havoc all over the Gopher offense Saturday night, it struck me how much this game has changed. A few years ago, you had big guys like Mark Messner making plays off the edge. No more. Speed is all over the field now, on both sides of the ball. Last year it was Jabrill Peppers making plays from every spot on the field, and now this year it appears that Hudson has a good grasp on that Viper position. Could his game be peaking at the right time? I sure hope so! Plays like that will be needed in the next three weeks.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Sometimes you don’t need to hit the home run to be a Champion. Donovan Peoples-Jones did just that, last night. All that mattered from his return game was that he not turn over the ball. On a cold and soggy night, sure-handedness mattered most, not flashy runs. DPJ had a few solid punt returns, but was more impressive was the fact that he demonstrated ball-security first with no turnovers.

COACHING CHAMPION – Offensive coordinator and interior o-ine Coach Tim Drevno gets kudos for a couple of things: 1) Calling a good mix of runs and passes that were executed with little or no negative plays early when the game was close. (2) Having a short leash with some of the O-Linemen when Missed Assignments caused plays to break down. Playing Time is the biggest factor a coach has over his players. MA’s will greatly hamper your PT in a hurry. Hopefully the short leash will get their attention and reduce the numbers of MA’s going forward.

UNIFORM CHAMPION – Not sure that it qualifies as part of the uniform, but I dig the Jordan skullcap that Higdon was sporting in the post-game interview on the field with FOX. Reminded me of when Braylon Edwards made those popular about 10 or so years ago.

MVICTORS.COM EDITOR’S UN-CHAMPION:  On Monday I delivered a lecture on The Little Brown Jug in Bruce Madej’s course ‘The History of College Athletics’.   Attending that class were several fine young minds including a few fellers on the football squad, notably one cat with Thor-like flowing blond locks.

I told those guys that if fortune shined upon us and U-M retained the jug, that they had to keep two hands on that damn thing.  Or else.

Fast forward to Saturday and then, Sunday morning.


So memo to Chase Winovich.  You are now minus 1 virtual decal and perhaps more significantly, you just made my list*

Week by Week Champions (O = Offense, D = Defense, T = Special Teams, C = Coaching, U = Uniform, E = Editor’s pick)
Week 1 vs. Florida:  Ty Issac (O), Devin Bush (D), Quinn Nordin (T), Don Brown, Greg Mattison (C), all-maize unis (U), Camaron Cheeseman (E)
Week 2 vs. Cincinnati:  Ty Issac (O), Tyree Kinnel (D), Grant Perry (T), Greg Mattison (C), refined helmet decals (U).
Week 3 vs. Air Force:  N/A (O), Chase Winovich (D), Quinn Nordin & Donovan Peoples-Jones (T), Jim Harbaugh (C), full on maize and blue uniforms (U)
Week 4 vs. Purdue: John O’Korn (O), Devin Bush (D), Brad Robbins (T), Don Brown (C), white-arm-sleeves-on-shins (U)
Week 5 vs. Michigan State: N/A
Week 6 vs. Indiana: Karan Higdon (O), Maurice Hurst (D) and (T), Tim Drevno (C)
Week 7 vs. Penn State:  N/A
Week 8 vs. Rutgers: Brandon Peters (O), Maurice Hurst (D), Garrett Moores (T), Jim Harbaugh (C), Helmet Sticker Number (U)
Week 9 vs. Minnesota:



*my list of guys I’m going to find when they are a lot older, smaller, slower and weaker.

[Ed. Mandatory reading for Jug Week. This post discusses whether the original jug that Michigan bought (likely on October 30, 1903) and Oscar Munson found (on November 1 or 2, 1903, is the same jug that will be on the field this Saturday night.  If you haven’t read it I think you’ll like it.]

One of the critical questions I asked when I started research was this: Is the jug that Michigan equipment manager Jon Falk has tucked away the same crock that was purchased by U-M student manager Tommy Roberts in Minneapolis back in 1903 and returned to Fielding Yost in 1909?

I knew a key to resolving this was determining what exactly occurred during the period the jug was missing in the 1930s, which I covered in Part I of this series.  The net of that research is that the folks who would best know (people like Yost, Minnesota’s Oscar Munson) believed that the jug that was found in some bushes on East University Ave in 1933 was indeed the real deal.

This is a helpful data point but hardly answers the question of whether the jug survived all these years.

Did it Break?
If the jug were replaced along the way, it would either have been the result of a theft (like that in the 1930s) or if it were broken and replaced.   Falk told me of one frightening incident when it almost went the way of Humpty Dumpty. It seems after one Michigan victory in the mid-80s the jug was resting on a table in the equipment room.   His daughter Katie, about four years old at the time, decided to climb up for a better view. “She jumped up on the table and it teeter-tottered,” Falk recalled with a smile. “We ran over and caught it before it fell off the table, and we still tease her about that.”   That was the closest call on Falk’s watch.

The only potential major incident of damage involves an something I raised this in Part V of the series, when the Minnesota Daily in 1929 included this blurb, suggesting something happened when the jug traveled to Minnesota in 1924:

As I mentioned in that post, I tried to dig into this a little further but I wasn’t able to validate this alleged damage in any of the papers in 1924.  Game accounts from the 1924 game do not mention any sign of a broken or dinged jug and in fact, some written game summaries note that the jug was on display on the sideline during the ‘24 game, apparently in good health.

IF the jug needed to be fixed, Red Wing would likely be the place to do it or <gulp> replace it.  But beyond finding no other evidence that this occurred, the story above claims the jug (with unspecified damage) was repaired and put back into service.  Talking to folks that would know, depending the extent of the damage it’s possible to repair a jug, seal it and repaint it with little evidence (you wouldn’t have “glazed” it which implies a refiring which would have likely 86’d the jug).   I found no visual evidence of damage on the existing crock.

In 1960 Oscar Munson, the Minnesota custodian who found the Michigan jug in 1903, told a reporter that Yost had indeed replaced the jug a some point along the way.  The timing is unclear, but Munson claimed, “Yost came and got it after they won, but it got broke at Michigan and Yost bought another for $35 in Red Wing.”

In a 1979 special edition of Michigan Replay, Bo’s second wife Millie Schembechler discussed the memorabilia exhibit she helped assemble for the 100-year anniversary celebration of the football program.  When discussing the jug, she said that today’s jug was not the original–that the 1903 crock was broken at some point.

Expert Witnesses
Given the drama that went on in the 1930s and possibly in the 1920s, it is tough to what to believe. To solve the question of authenticity I moved beyond the news clippings and started snooping around.

I sought out the men that have protected the jug over the years: the equipment managers. Michigan’s Jon Falk has cared for the trophy for most of the past thirty-six years thanks to the Wolverines’ dominance on the field over this stretch. Falk was hired by Bo Schembechler in 1974 and probably knows more about the jug than anyone.  Along with sharing a few great stories, Falk told me that his understanding is that the jug he’s got tucked away is indeed the original.

Bob Hurst began his tenure with the Michigan athletic department after returning from WWII. He worked directly with legendary equipment manager Henry ‘Hank’ Hatch, who performed the duty from 1919 to 1964. Hurst, who lives in Florida today, told me over the phone that he was always told this was the genuine jug.

On the other sideline, I spoke with longtime Gopher equipment manager Dick Mattson who served the school from 1963 to 2008. While Minnesota has only held the prize three times since 1968, he didn’t hesitate when I asked him about the authenticity. “It’s the original jug,” Mattson insisted.   And we know that back in 1935 Oscar Munson (the man who found the jug in 1903) following the disappearance in the 1930s told reporters, “It’s the original jug, all right, and I’m the only one who knows.”

But other folks well-versed in the Michigan traditions expressed doubt. Bruce Madej, the longtime Wolverine sports media relations director told me, “We’re just not sure.”

Greg Kinney, curator of the athletic archives housed at Michigan’s terrific Bentley Library, has seen various photos and stories on the jug over the years, but wasn’t certain when I approach him with the question.   Former Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr, who enjoyed retelling the origins of the jug rivalry before the Minnesota game each season, told me he always believed today’s trophy wasn’t the original jug.

Visual Comparisons
Given the range of opinions from the experts I decided I needed to dig a bit deeper. Thankfully a request to inspect today’s jug was granted and I visited Jon Falk on campus in the spring of 2009.  Falk shared some great stories of jug lore and I took a bunch of photos of the jug.

Using a graphics editor, I was able to compare my new photos with the white ‘Oscar’ jug (dating to the start of the rivalry) by applying a degree of transparency and overlaying the images. The match was nearly precise:


The ‘Oscar’ jug seemed slightly shorter (less than an inch) although the spout, handle and shoulder seemed to be dead on. I realized that photo comparisons are helpful but I’ve learned that perspectives can change drastically depending on the angle of the camera and of course with any distortion in the images (especially a photo over 100 years old).

Closer inspection of my photos showed that the worn-down handle and chips in the paint on revealed a pale tone similar to that of the Oscar jug:

Little Brown Jug Closeup

The visual signs, at least to a novice, seemed to lean toward authenticity. If today’s jug were replaced at some point one would wonder the lengths someone would have to go through to swap the original jug with such a close visual match, seemingly made of the same material.

While the photo comparisons were compelling I needed an expert’s perspective.

A Master Potter’s Perspective
The Ann Arbor area is blessed with many artisans and after asking around I was given the name of Ryan Forrey, the Master Potter at The Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village.

Forrey holds a Bachelors of Fine Art from the New York State College of Ceramics and has worked at The Henry Ford since 1996. He has traveled the world studying his craft in other cultures and his pottery can be seen in collections from United States to China.

While inspecting several photos of the jug from over the years, Forrey paid particular attention to the handle, a distinctive element of handmade jugs. The handles are formed by pulling a piece of clay between the potter’s fingers before attaching it to the shoulder, and the shape and style of the handles between the photos seemed to match in Forrey’s opinion.

While the photos were helpful, alone they weren’t enough for Forrey to offer a firm opinion on the matter.  Among other things, he wanted to confirm that the color on the sides of the jug wasn’t a glaze, which would suggest the jug was specifically made for the teams (and not painted over).  He needed to see and hold the jug.

The Return Visit
Several weeks later Forrey and I were greeted by Jon Falk inside Schembechler Hall. The jug was waiting for us a top a table in the equipment room, released from its protective trunk.


Forrey quickly pointed out several critical features.  First, the color on the trophy was indeed paint.  Next, beneath the Minnesota logo ‘M’, he spotted a flaw or notch that seems to be evident on the ‘Oscar’ jug. It’s difficult to confirm through a 100+ year-old photograph, but the shape and location of the imperfection seem to match dead on.


Finally, Forrey pointed out a glaring feature of today’s jug, something that I didn’t notice on my first trip. The outline of an alternatively-styled Minnesota ‘M’ logo can be seen beneath the layers of paint:


Forrey had seen enough. From comparison of the photos, to the distinct match of the shape of the handle, to the notch that appeared to be on early photo of the crock, he was convinced that the jug we viewed was indeed the original.

The Old Gopher ‘M’
Days after our visit I became more and more intrigued about the pointy Minnesota ‘M’ Forrey spotted beneath the paint. After digging through articles and photos from the 1920s, I found two instances of an alternately styled logo. The program to the 1923 game held in Ann Arbor thankfully depicts a drawing on the cover featuring the Gopher side of the jug. Later I uncovered a photo from 1927 of Minnesota captain Herb Joesting cradling the crock, with the Gopher side facing the camera.  Each image presents a pointy M that matches the style evident beneath the current coat of paint:

While I was fairly satisfied by Forrey’s conclusion, the art on the 1923 game program and the Joesting photo (matched up against the current embossed paint evidence) suggests that the jug likely dates the jug at least to the early 1920s.

Recapping the evidence:

  • The Minnesota Daily note claiming it was repaired in Red Wing 1924.
  • Oscar Munson’s claim in 1960 that the jug was swapped out for a replacement Red Wing jug at some point.
  • Accounts from three living equipment managers, in particular Bob Hurst who served with Henry Hatch, who in turn served the university starting in 1919. Each told me they believe the jug is the original.
  • Newspaper articles noting that Oscar Munson and Fielding Yost both validated that the jug that reappeared in 1933 was the authentic article.
  • The nearly precise image overlay of today’s jug against the photo of the ‘Oscar jug’.
  • The opinion of Ryan Forrey, Master Potter of the Henry Ford Museum, who told me, “I’d be shocked if this isn’t the original jug.”
  • The flaw at the bottom of the Minnesota side that appears on the original jug.
  • Finally, the outline of the older style Minnesota ‘M’ logo beneath the current paint that likely dates the jug at least the early 1920s.

After weighing the evidence I’m comfortable concluding that the trophy tucked away in Ann Arbor today dates at least to the mid-1920s.    Is it the same Little Brown Jug that was left behind in 1903 and handed back to Fielding Yost over a century ago in 1909?   In my opinion, the evidence points to a strong possibility that today’s jug is indeed the real deal – but I’m not completely convinced.

Read the rest of the Little Brown Jug Lore Series

It’s Little Brown Jug Week.

Much has been written on these pages about what happened in the days, years and decades following the famous 1903 Michigan-Minnesota game.  Here are a few nuggets that describe what was going on just before the game, thanks to a few newspaper clippings uncovered by Stagg vs. Yost author John Kryk.

Scheduled Game time: 2:15pm October 31, 1903
Series Record: Up to this point Michigan led 4-2.  (Minnesota won the first two meetings in 1892 & 1893, Michigan took the next four 1895, 1896, 1898, 1902)
Hype: Billed as one of the biggest games in Western football in years, Minnesota came in undefeated 10-0, and outscored opponents 506-6.  Yost hadn’t lost a game since he stepped foot in Ann Arbor in 1901, and to this point in 1903 the team was 7-0, outscoring opponents 437-0.
Tale of the Tape: From the October 30, 1903 Minnesota Journal, a comparison of the line-ups with Michigan having the 20 pound weight advantage:

Tale of the Tape

Speaking of the Armory – We know now that Minnesota equipment man Oscar Munson found Michigan’s water jug inside the Armory a day or 2 after the game, and, we know that Athletic Director L.J. Cooke suspended the jug above his office in the Armory from 1903 to 1909:

Armory and Jug

Quoting Coach Yost:  Before the game a Minnesota man asked him, “Are you going to beat us?”  “Well, that’s what we came up here for,” replied Yost.  “It will be a great game, and probably a close game.  Minnesota has been playing better football than any team in the west this year…if we win this, we win the championship.”

Travel and Lodging: The travel contingent arrived on the morning of Friday, October 30th and included 21 players (the first and second teams) along with Yost, his staff, AD Charles Baird, trainer Keene Fitzpatrick.  They had breakfast at “Schiek’s” before then headed to their quarters at Lake Minnetonka at around 9:30am.

They stayed at the Ice Yacht clubhouse – and check this out – I found this shot of the Michigan squad outside the building in 1903 via the Hennepin County Library – sweet!:

1903 Ice Yacht Clubhouse And if my eyes don’t deceive, that appears to be Yost wearing some sort of hat with a Block M on it – whoa:

Yost with Block M hat

While the close-up is grainy, I’m guessing what you have there is an M flanked by 03 and 04, denoting the school year and thus the academic and athletic calendar.

One other thing.  Notably missing from this photo is equipment man Tommy Roberts, the man who the story goes actually bought the jug for Yost.  Here he is in the 1903 team photo:

It’s not far fetched to speculate that Roberts is missing from the photo because he was off buying the jug.  Mull on that.

Wagering and the man from Fargo: By all accounts many a bet were laid down on this big game – $75,000 by some accounts.  Michigan by and large seemed to be favored.  Putting the match up aside, since Yost’s arrival in 1901 only one team – Wisconsin in 1902 – had even stayed within a few touchdowns of his Wolverines.  The Minneapolis Journal shared this detail and story of one bigshot who felt good about the Gophers:


There are too many pikers everywhere if you ask me.

Minnesota’s Final Practice: According to the Minnesota Journal the Gophers “took her final hard practice yesterday (10/29) afternoon.  Unusual precautions were taken to preserve secrecy.  A double force of guards watched the  gates and patrolled the stands, while others kept watch from the top of the brick walls surrounding Northrop field.”’

Michigan’s Final Practice: “Michigan spent the day quietly at Lake Minnetonka.  The men were given their last signal drill, and listened for an hour while Coach Yost outlined the details of the plan of attack.”

Tickets: They were likely between $2-$3 (based on Midwest tickets from the era). They were color-coded to indicate where to enter:

  • Red – East (on Harvard Street)
  • Green – Southwest (corner of the field, near the railroad tracks)
  • Yellow – North (at University and 18th avenues)
  • Blue – – Northwest (on Church Street, near the Armory).  That’s where the holder of this beauty entered the field:

1903 Minnesota-Michigan Ticket Stub

Gameday Weather:  According to a Minneapolis Journal report, “The weather was almost ideal with scarcely a breath of wind and the field was hard and in as perfect shape as could be desired.”

Crowd: It was estimated later that over 20,000 were on prem, including around 400 in the Michigan section.  By all accounts it was packed.  “Nearly an hour before the game was called the seats allotted for general admission were filled and the crowd was packed six deep outside the wire fence.  The grand stand filled up rapidly and it seemed probable that hundreds would be turned away.”  The Pioneer Press noted, “The telegraph poles and trees are full of spectators..” …which we know from this famous photo of the game:

Northrup Field 1903

Tauntings: The Minnesota band entered the field before the game led by a donkey, and, ahem, “the animal wore trousers of Michigan colors.”  [They didn’t get those pants from Moe’s.]  When the Michigan second team players arrived they were greeted with a rousing chorus of “Poor old Mich” by the Gopher Fans.

Arrivals: The Wolverine team entered the field around 2:07pm.  The Gophers at 2:20pm.

Coin Toss: 2:25pm, Minnesota won the toss.

Kickoff: At 2:28pm: Michigan kicked off to Minnesota’ Sig Harris who fumbled the ball.  Minnesota started at their own 15 yard line.  Then this:

1903 Michigan Minnesota play chart

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