Michigan Jug 1920s

Wooo!  If you want your Jug History dished out slowly over 1,000s of words, read every post in Little Brown Jug Lore here.

If that’s not your speed, here’s the history of the jug CRAMMED into a 3:45 audio clip:

You can listen to all 6 years of This Week In Michigan Football History here.  And don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA 1050AM starting 4 hours before each game, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge tomorrow starting at 11:30am.


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The story of the origins of the Little Brown Jug rivalry is being retold and again this week.  I’ve maintained for the past few years that the idea that Yost wrote a letter to Minnesota asking that the jug be returned is not only silly, there’s plenty of evidence to backup that it’s just false.  To those just tuning in this week for some jug knowledge here’s the basic breakdown of what really happened, and further, why the idea that Yost wrote a letter to get the crock back is far-fetched at best.

Warning: to those who cherish the idea that Yost wrote a letter demanding the return of The Little Brown Jug and was subsequently told he’d need to “win it back”—avert your eyes.

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[A tribute the All-American who won the jug while playing for both Minnesota AND Michigan during the heights of the rivalry.]

Guest post by Mark Schlanderer

Bill Daley | Michigan / Minnesota

Michigan 1943 consensus All American fullback Bill Daley passed away on October 19, 2015 at 96 years old in Edina, Minnesota. He was a bruising and fast FB, HB and DB at 6 feet 2 inches and 206 pounds (big in those days). He led the 1943 Wolverines to Coach Fritz Crisler’s first Big Ten Conference championship and a final AP 3rd place National ranking.

Bill Daley’s college football career began with the Minnesota Gophers. In I940, he teamed with All Americans Bruce Smith and Sonny Franck in the Minnesota backfield to win the National Championship. In 1941, Daley was the Gophers team leader in rushing yards and TDs scored, while being in the backfield with the 1941 Heisman winner Bruce Smith in repeating  as National Champions. In 1942, Daley again was the team leader in rushing yards and TDs scored. During this 1940-42 three year period, the Gophers won the Brown Jug Trophy from Michigan 3 times. Daley was inducted into the Minnesota Gophers Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

After the 1942 season, Daley enlisted in the U.S. Navy due to World War II. He was assigned to the University of Michigan Naval training program and became eligible to play football for the Wolverines in 1943. It was in 1943 that Daley attained his greatest individual college football achievements.

Playing against Northwestern with All American Otto Graham at HB and a team that achieved an AP 9th place final National ranking, Daley rushed for 216 yards and scored 2 TDs on long runs of 37 and 64 yards while leading Michigan to a 21-7 win. His 216 yards rushing broke legendary Tom Harmon’s prior Michigan game record of 206 yards. Daley’s record was not broken until 1952 by Ted Kress at  218 yards, which in turn was not broken until 1967 by All American Ron Johnson.

Daley’s next notable achievement was made in the Wolverines’ following game against Notre Dame with 1943 Heisman winner Angelo Bertelli at QB and All American Creighton Miller at HB. While Notre Dame won 35-12 against Michigan and achieved a National Championship in 1943, Daley scored a TD and rushed for 135 yards in this game. It was the highest number of rushing yards achieved by any opposing player against National Champion Notre Dame in 1943.

Daley next made a notable accomplishment in 1943 by scoring 2 TDs against his former Minnesota Gophers team, which allowed Michigan to win the Brown Jug Trophy for the first time after losing it 9 straight years. Thus, Daley became the only player to ever win the Brown Jug 4 times while playing both for Minnesota (1940,41,42) and Michigan (1943). This feat is unlikely to be matched by another player again.

Daley was only able to play the first 6 of 9 games played by Michigan in 1943. He was transferred to the Columbia University Naval Officer training program after 6 games, in which he scored 9 TDs and rushed for a team leading 817 yards as the Nation’s 4th leading rusher.

At the conclusion of the 1943 season, Daley broke the NCAA career rushing record with 2,301 yards that surpassed the prior record held by 1942 Heisman winner Frank Sinkwich of Georgia. Daley’s NCAA record was later broken by Army’s legendary Heisman winner Glenn Davis in 1946.

It is remarkable that Daley’s 1943 season rushing  average of 6.81 yards per carry is still 3rd in Michigan’s all time rushing records. His 1943 rushing yards average of 136.2 per game is 5th in Michigan’s season all time records.

Daley was the only 1943 Michigan player to be awarded as consensus All American. Daley’s 1943 team mates Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch at halfback and Merv Pregulman at tackle both have been inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Honor and the College Football Hall of Fame. It is particularly notable, however, that it was Daley who was selected by legendary Henry Hatch (Michigan Equipment Manager for 43 years 1921-63) to be on Hatch’s greatest Michigan All American team of players that he had ever seen play. It is interesting that Hatch would select Daley at fullback, who had played only 6 games for Michigan, along with such Michigan legends as Tom Harmon and Harry Kipke at halfback, Benny Friedman at quarterback, Bennie Oosterbaan and Ron Kramer at end and Bob Westfall also at fullback. This selection of Daley by Hatch significantly attests to his greatness as a college football player. 

In remembrance, such a great football player for Michigan was Bill Daley.


[Ed. OK, it’s Jug Week and Saturday will mark the 112th Anniversary of the 1903 game – to the day (October 31, 1903).  This week I’ll throw up a few required reposts of Little Brown Jug Lore, along with some new material.  Below you’ll find a repost from last year, a good Jug primer.]

1933 Willie Heston with the Little Brown JugI call this “Willie” with Jug and Pigskin”

Most U-M fans (both U-Ms, I suppose) know the basic jug story. Before the 1903 game between the two schools in Minneapolis, Fielding Yost dispatched U-M equipment manager Tommy Roberts to purchase a five gallon Red Wing water jug. After the brutally fought game of the undefeated teams ended in a 6-6 tie, Minnesota’s equipment manager Oscar Munson found Michigan’s jug and decided to keep it as a souvenir. When the Wolverines returned to Minnesota in 1909 the teams agreed that the winner should take the jug—and the victor of the game has retained the precious crock ever since.

That part of the story is pretty well established. But outside of that, there are still many misconceptions about the history of the jug and the rivalry that persist today. Here’s at five common myths..along with a discussion of the reality.

The Myth: Common lore suggests that U-M bought the jug because they feared Minnesota would try to “taint” Michigan’s water supply.

The truth of how and why the famous jug ended up on the U-M sidelines in 1903 has shifted around as the decades have passed. In the early days of the Jug rivalry, it was commonly understood that Michigan brought the jug and its own, familiar water from Ann Arbor. Furthermore most believed it was Yost feared the Gophers would attempt to spike their water. Decades later Michigan’s equipment manager Tommy Roberts revealed that he simply bought the jug in Minneapolis before the game and filled it with water in Minnesota.

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[Ed. OK, it’s Jug Week and Saturday will mark the 112th Anniversary of the 1903 game – to the day (October 31, 1903).  This week I’ll throw up a few required reposts of Little Brown Jug Lore, along with some new material.  If you need your primer right away, hover over the LBJ Lore tab above and click through the chapters.  If you are new to this site, I’d say start with this new post below.  It sets the stage for the big game:]


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.

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

You need more?  Get more.  Here’s your Little Brown Jug Lore.

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Son of a BISCUIT I want these guys to turn this around.  It’s a little odd to me because I still see the pieces of a decent team but the results are a wreck.  Yesterday – with a the exception of a few breakdowns I thought the defense played pretty damn well (Jake Ryan – Manster.  Jourdan Lewis – fun to watch).  Derrick Green, when he was in there, looked like a seasoned back – he was patient and found the holes.  And once again, we outgained our opponent yet failed to score a TD.

Gardner.  I don’t know what I’d do with 98.  He’s losing confidence with every interception – he’s becoming more tentative and locking on.  That’s fine against Miami but we’re not going to out-athlete the rest of the schedule.  If you bench him now I just wonder if that’s a point of no return for his confidence.  So I guess there are a couple options?

1. Start Gardner with a limited playbook.  It sucks to say that about a 5th year senior but sorry.   Shorter passes with the occasional sideline heave to Funch, and he’s got to run more. I’d encourage the big guy to take off for 5-7 yards more with more frequency.   I feel like we’re still on that treadmill of doing what we think a Michigan team should do, as opposed to what we could do with the players (namely 98) that we have.
2. Start Morris with a limited playbook.  Mix in Gardner in the slot or in the backfield to mess with everybody and possibly get some of 98’s confidence back.

But what do I know, man?

Other question – So we have a good if not darn good defense (take stats through 4 games for what they are worth, but we’re #8 nationally), right?  Why do we keep punting in the opponent’s territory?  Hagerup’s been pretty bad, but the reason we are #123 (of 125) in net punting is that he’s become Poocherup.  Even if you take out the 66 yard punt return from the equation (after a bad punt and horrible coverage), we’d still be ranked in the 110s nationally.  Dude. 

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Congrats to Ken Magee and Jon Stevens for pulling together their outstanding book The Little Brown Jug: The Michigan-Minnesota Rivalry to be released on September 1.  I helped them out with a few things – some of the history of course and with a few photos – and from the early specs I’ve seen the book is a fantastic way to consume the history of this great rivalry.  The photos alone – over 200 inside – are off the charts.  Props to Kenny and Jon for scouring the earth to dig up many of the beauties inside.

My buddy Oscar Munson made the cover:


Here’s the official release:

The battle for the Little Brown Jug continues:
New book commemorates Michigan-Minnesota football rivalry

Though the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota may be in different divisions after this year’s game, the 110-year legacy of the Little Brown Jug lives on. In the latest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s Images of Sports series, authors Ken Magee and Jon Stevens take readers on a visual journey of this iconic rivalry’s history in The Little Brown Jug: The Michigan-Minnesota Football Rivalry.

“We hope that the readers will gain a better appreciation for these two great universities and how much of football parallels history,” Magee said, “be it the early century, roaring 20s … or many other historic moments in our past. The legacy the battle for the Little Brown Jug leaves in its wake many great men, not only on the gridiron, but in society.”

The book contains more than 200 images that have been donated from the private collections of local sports enthusiasts, photographers, and libraries. Many of the myths and stories that surround the famous trophy are examined and corrected, and various other tales are revealed for the first time. Glenn E. “Shemy” Schembechler III, son of the legendary Coach Bo Schembechler, wrote the foreword for the book.

“I hope that this book can highlight an underestimated football rivalry and tradition between two historic college football programs,” Stevens stated. The book will release in time for one of the last games the two schools will play consistently on September 27, 2014.

A portion of the profits from book sales are being donated to the Ken Magee Foundation for Cops, which benefits police officers permanently injured in the line of duty, and their families, to attend Michigan Football games, all expenses paid.

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or online.

To follow the latest on the book, follow ‘LittleBrownJug’ on Twitter here.


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