The Michigan-Minnesota football match-up didn't begin with the Little Brown Jug. Their first meeting came in 1892 and the two teams played six games (Michigan going 4-2) before the Jug became the rivalry's trophy. The story of how the Little Brown Jug became the first trophy in FBS football starts in 1903. The Wolverines entered Minneapolis that year on a 29-game unbeaten streak and the Minnesota Golden Gophers showed up with a 10-0 record on the season. Doubtful that the Golden Gophers would provide the Wolverines with clean water, Fielding Yost had a team manager - Tommy Roberts - purchase a five-gallon jug for the team to bring their own water. Minnesota stifled Michigan that day, holding them to one touchdown, and tied the game at six with two minutes remaining. In the excitement of the moment, the Minnesota fans rushed the field and the game was called with time remaining. Michigan left the jug behind in the bedlam and Minnesota's equipment manager - Oscar Munson - retrieved it. To celebrate the game, Minnesota's athletic director at the time - L.J. Cooke - painted on the side of the jug: "Michigan Jug - Captured by Oscar, October 31, 1903" with the score "Minnesota 6 - Michigan 6." Stories differ as to why the teams chose to play for the Jug in their next meeting in 1909. Some say Yost wrote to Minnesota asking for the Jug back, and Cooke challenged him to come get it. Others say that the two sides agreed to play for the Jug to help strengthen the rivalry.
Regardless of its creation, the battle over the Little Brown Jug celebrates its 94th anniversary this October 5th in the Michigan's Homecoming game. Throughout the rivalry, Michigan's had the upper hand, going 72-24-3 overall against Minnesota, and 68-22-3 in the Jug games. Since 1968, Michigan has only lost the Little Brown Jug three times in 41 games. But even though Ann Arbor houses the Jug more often than Minneapolis, the Golden Gophers had some dominant stretches in the rivalry: from '34 to '42, Minnesota won nine straight games, and from '60 to '67, Minnesota won 6 of the 8 games played. Currently, the Little Brown Jug resides in Schembechler Hall, with Michigan on a five-game winning streak since 2006.
November 15th, 1986, Michigan 17 - Minnesota 20
In 1986, Minnesota was in the middle of its '70s and '80s doldrums, coming into the Michigan game at 5-4. On the other side, Michigan was near the top of college football: undefeated at 9-0, ranked #2 in the nation, and coming off a season in which they won the Fiesta bowl and finished #2 overall. Needless to say, Michigan was expected to win, having won 17 of their last 18 meetings with only one victory being decided by single digits. The game shouldn't have been close, but thanks to what Minnesota's Head Coach John Gutekunst called "gutter points," Minnesota stole the game and the Little Brown Jug from the Wolverines. Michigan turned the ball over five times, which resulted in 17 of Minnesota's 20 points. Michigan's defense gave up a 31-yard run late in the 4th quarter, which set up the game-winning field goal as time expired. A win would have given Bo more victories than any other Michigan coach, a feat he would reach the following week against Ohio. It's nice breaking those kinds of records against Ohio, but would've rather crushed Minnesota and tacked on an extra one in Columbus. Even with the loss, Michigan ended up with a share of the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl, where they lost to Arizona State. Minnesota would go on to lose in the Liberty Bowl, but their triumphant, upset victory over Michigan crushed the Wolverines National Championship dreams and brought the Little Brown Jug back to Minneapolis for the first time since '77.
October 8th, 2005, Michigan 20 - Minnesota 23
The 2005 version of the Little Brown Jug rivalry game ended a lot like 1986. After sharing the Big Ten title and going to the Rose Bowl the previous season, the Wolverines took a step back in 2005, posting a disappointing 7-5 record and losing in the Alamo Bowl to future Big Ten member Nebraska. However, Michigan played close games all season. They never lost by more than a touchdown and their first five games were decided in the last 24 seconds of the game or overtime. For Minnesota, 2005 saw a team in the middle of a semi-resurgence of Golden Gophers football. From 1999 to 2005, Minnesota was bowl eligible all but one year, notable considering they had been bowl eligible only five times since a National Championship in 1960.
One of those games decided in the last 24 seconds for Michigan was for the Little Brown Jug. The game was a back-and-forth affair, and while Michigan never trailed, every time the Wolverines took a lead, Minnesota battled right back. M
The Wolverines were deep into the successful Lloyd Carr-era when
In the first half,
The Wolverines started the 4th quarter with a quick touchdown pass, followed by a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown on