10. November 2006 · Comments Off on Golden Gophers Grift Growler · Categories: Archive 2005, Big Ten, Little Brown Jug

Little Brown Jug disappears after defensive breakdown
Third and nine, deep in Michigan’s end. The Golden Gophers had run on first and second downs, seemingly content to run out the malfunctioning game clock. Certainly they wouldn’t put the ball on the arm of a back-up quarterback, and would take their chances in overtime. Lloyd Carr acknowledged all of this after the game.

Instead of stopping Gary “Love Muscle” Russell, the solid sophomore running back slipped around the right side, up Minnesota’s sideline to the Michigan 13 yard line. Bye, bye Jug. How could this possibly happen?

Here’s a few takes on this disaster:
– Rushing Gained, Allowed. Michigan only managed 94 rushing yards. The Gophers surrendered 364 to Penn State last week. This wasn’t the fault of Mike Hart, who went over 100. He ran hard; he didn’t have the holes.
– King a Homer. Despite Rivas’s tough day, he did drill a 47-yarder in the second quarter. Michigan Stadium public address announcer Howard King had a tough day as well, messing up some calls. On Rivas’s field goal, as the ball was in there air, you could hear King mutter “Come On” urging the ball through the uprights. Assume King forgot to turn off the microphone, but it is nice to know that his heart is in the right place. King was returning to the mic for the first time this year after surgery.
– Get out the Digital Cam!. Minnesota’s web site has a tired old photo of the jug (on the ‘Minnesota’ side). You know they been dying to get a better photo of that thing. Who knows when this picture was taken, and then scanned in.

– A Jug will be Raised. On the subject of photos of the jug, we were well-positioned in section 22 for a nice photo of M hoisting the pottery after the glorious win, which of course was not to be. I promised a few folks a nice photo of a jug-raising, so I’ll deliver you this: to the left, my daughter lifting the Little Milk Jug of Mediocrity above her.
– Twinkle Mr. Russell’s eye. I’m not positive, but I don’t think Gary Russell wasn’t born last time the Jug was in the Gophers’ hands.
– Flag Planting. Following Michigan State’s lead, Laurence Maroney decided to plant the Minnesota flag in the middle of the field after the game. I say, Who cares?
– Jug Dash. Speaking of after the game. It was interesting watching just about the entire Minnesota team streak across the field looking for the jug. There was a little confusion as they tried to locate the jug. Michigan’s equipment manager Jon Falk handed it over to the lucky guy that found the prize.
– Gopher Fans?. I told Lew after the game, I’m not sure I remember a weaker turn-out by opposing fans in a Big Ten game. Maybe the Minnesota fans just blended in, maybe there are less tickets available due to homecoming, but there were just not that many fans on hand to witnesses this great victory for the Gophers.
– Penn State Undefeated. Penn State comes to town next week, the only undefeated Big Ten team. Michigan is down but maybe not out, at least in terms of a share of a title. The bigger problem for Michigan is finding a way to put teams away. This game was a mess.
– Home Sweet Home? So much for the home field advantage at Michigan. After not losing since 2002, and prior to the season not losing on the new field turf, now Michigan has dropped their only two major games at home next year and Penn State looks sharp. Watch out!
– 11/15/86 Do you recall the last time Minnesota carried the jug home? It was November 15, 1986. The Wolverines, led by All-American quarterback Jim Harbaugh, were undefeated heading into the final home game of the season. Blue was ranked 2nd in the country and looking ahead to a possible national championship for coach Bo. The Golden Gophers shocked the Wolverines 20-17 in front of 104,864 cold and bitter M fans, and then took the Little Brown Jug home to Minnesota. The stunning upset remains one of the biggest games in Minnesota football history; to Michigan it is just another hiccup that denied Bo Schembechler a national title.