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This Wolverines Gameday in History Reads Dante, Steals Little Brown Jug

This gameday in history focuses on Michigan's 31-point fourth quarter comeback against Minnesota in '03 to keep the Little Brown Jug at home in Ann Arbor. It also touches on the hellish misery of ties and how Michigan defined B1G football in 1908.

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38-35 at Minnesota in 2003

As soon as I realized this game occurred on Oct. 10, I didn't even bother digging around to see if another game deserved the 'Greatest Victory' title for this gameday in history. The improbable comeback in the '03 Michigan-Minnesota game marking the 100-year anniversary of the Little Brown Jug is one of my earliest and favorite Michigan football memories. For anybody who doesn't know about this game, set aside the next two and a half hours and watch it. But since most of us don't have that luxury of time, let's skip ahead to the start of the fourth quarter with Minnesota dominating Michigan, 28-7. Less than five minutes later, the score read 35-28 Minnesota after some rapid fire scoring.

Michigan started with a 10 play, 80-yard drive capped by a 10-yard toss from John Navarre to Chris Perry. 28-14 Minnesota, 14:24 remaining. Three plays later, Jacob Stewart picks off Asad Abdul-Khaliq for a 35-yard touchdown return. 28-21 Minnesota, 13:30 remaining. The Golden Gophers responded with five straight rushes for 76 yards and a touchdown. 35-21 Minnesota, 11:35 remaining. Five Navarre passes - two incomplete - later, and Braylon Edwards broke into the end zone after catching a 52-yard throw. 35-28 Minnesota, 10:19 remaining.

At this point, it would be somewhat reasonable to extrapolate and expect the game to end somewhere around 70-49 Michigan. The points didn't continue to tally quite that quickly for the Wolverines (or the Gophers, for that matter), but they continued their torrid fourth-quarter scoring pace by scoring again on their next possession to tie the game at 35. After forcing another Minnesota punt, Michigan regained possession with a little more than four minutes left to play. Navarre and Perry proceeded to lead the Wolverines on a methodical, grinding drive that included just a single play over ten yards. Driving down to the Minnesota 16-yard line, the Wolverines offense setup the potential game-winning field goal for Garrett Rivas with 51 seconds remaining. He booted it through the uprights, Markus Curry snagged a victory-sealing pick four plays later, and Navarre took a knee to finish Michigan's unbelievable comeback.

Watch the highlights here. Seriously, watch them.


0-0 vs. Michigan Agricultural in 1908

My hatred for ties is well-documented. When writing Inferno, Dante failed to mention the lesser-known, oft-forgotten tenth ring of hell: 'Complacency.' In Complacency, those who rested on their laurels, those who failed to strive for greatness, those who refused to go for the jugular are forced to watch sporting events end in ties for all of eternity. Here you'll find hockey coaches that played for overtime to tally a 'pity point,' Apollo Creed from Rocky IV, and Butch Jones or whoever's to blame for Tennessee's spineless playcalling to close out games this year.

Against an early iteration of the Spartans, Michigan was "lucky to escape defeat" according to the Michigan Alumnus. Had State Agricultural possessed a worthwhile kicker, the Wolverines would have lost as "[the Spartans Aggies] had a half dozen chances to make field goals but every one failed." Michigan's punter was the main reason the game ended in a scoreless tie as he "saved the game repeatedly by punting out of danger." The Wolverines may have been independent in 1908, but they still found a way to put the B1G in B1G Ten Punting Football.


38-35 at Minnesota in 2003

Brady Hoke, 4-0. Roy Roundtree. Brendan Gibbons. #M00N.

These define the last four meetings between Michigan and Northwestern. I've said it elsewhere already, but I expect something goofy to happen on Saturday. These two teams are basically the same right now, so look for something absurd to happen in order for the Wolverines to win. Some downright ludicrous ideas I've thrown around are Jake Butt throwing a touchdown pass to Jake Rudock, Jabrill Peppers returning a punt for the win as time expires, and Pat Fitzgerald being called for sideline interference on a potentially game-winning score for Northwestern which leads to them falling just short. BRING THE INSANITY.


38-35 at Minnesota in 2003

Even though it would mean three quarters of miserable football, I'll take the '03 Little Brown Jug ending every day. Especially after what we've done to Northwestern in recent history.

That does it for Oct. 10 in Wolverines history. Michigan has played 18 games on Oct. 10 outside of the '03 game in Minnesota, but really, that's the most only game worth remembering. GO BLUE!

Overall Record on Oct. 10


Game Scores

1891 vs. Ann Arbor High School, 62-0

1896 vs. Grand Rapids High School, 44-0

1903 vs. Beloit, 79-0

1908 vs. Michigan Agricultural, 0-0

1914 vs. Vanderbilt, 23-3

1917 vs. Kalamazoo Normal, 17-13

1925 vs. Indiana, 63-0

1931 vs. Chicago, 13-7

1936 vs. Indiana, 3-14

1942 vs. Iowa Pre-Flight, 14-26

1953 vs. Iowa, 14-13

1959 vs. Oregon State, 18-7

1964 at Michigan State, 17-10

1970 at Purdue, 29-0

1981 at Michigan State, 38-20

1987 at Michigan State, 11-17

1992 vs. Michigan State, 35-10

2003 at Minnesota, 38-35

2009 at Iowa, 28-30