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This Week at The Wolverine Den
Minnesota at Michigan
September 27, 2014 - 3:30 p.m. ET
In 1903, Michigan had won 28 straight games and two straight National Championships. They were 7-0 for the season and had outscored their opponents 437-0. Minnesota had a pretty good team in 1903 – they were 10-0 coming into the game against Michigan and had outscored their opponents 506-6. It was the first “battle of the century.”
The fervor of the Minnesota fans prompted Michigan coach Fielding H. Yost to send out an assistant to buy a water jug. Yost didn’t believe that the Minnesota folks would provide his team with fresh water during the game – so he brought his own. The “jug” was purchased for 30 cents at a Minneapolis general store. The heavyweights battled on the gridiron that day, October 31, 1903. Michigan scored its only touchdown in the first half. Minnesota scored with only two minutes remaining to tie the score. With snowstorm clouds looming, the fans rushed the field to celebrate the Minnesota touchdown. The game was eventually called with 2 minutes remaining and was declared a tie. In their haste to leave, Michigan left their water jug. It was found by equipment manager Oscar Munson, who gave it to Minnesota AD LJ Cooke. When Yost wrote a letter to Cooke asking for the return of the jug, Cooke responded, “If you want it, you’ll have to come up and win it.” Minnesota painted on the jug “Michigan Jug – captured by Oscar, October 31, 1903.” On the side of the Jug, they wrote, “Minnesota 6, Michigan 6.”
BACK TO THE BASICS
TWD-Style Hot Dogs
The battle for the jug was not contested again until 1909 when Michigan went back to Minnesota for the first time since 1903 and won the jug back. Since then, Michigan has won the “Little Brown Jug” 69 times. Minnesota has won the jug 22 times and there have been 2 ties. The Jug was the first rivalry trophy in college football.
This year’s game features the 3-1 Golden Gophers against the 2-2 Wolverines.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
While Devin Gardner has struggled at times this year, he still ranks #2 on the all time Michigan list for pass efficiency and is one of only 8 Michigan QBs to pass for over 5000 yards in their career. Who are the other 7 QBs that have passed for over 5000 in their Michigan career?
Bonus Trivia: What current Michigan athletic team is ranked #1 in the nation?
Minnesota’s offense has produced only 336 yards per game – and against very weak competition. Starting QB Mitch Leidner didn’t play last week so RS Freshman Chris Streveler stepped in. He contributed 161 yards rushing while RB Davd Cobb had his 2nd 200-yard rushing game on the season. Cobb is 9th nationally in rushing. The Golden Gophers are averaging under 100 yards passing per game so far in 2014.
On defense, the linebackers are the key. Damien Wilson leads the Big Ten in tackles. DL Theiren Cockran and Alex Keith are both run stoppers. The secondary is led by Briean Boddy-Calhoun. The Gopher defense is good, but not great. They have been helped by forcing 12 turnovers this year, 2nd best in the nation and leading the Big Ten in takeaways.
The special teams have been a bright spot for Minnesota his season. Punter Peter Martell is leading the Big Ten in punting with a 46.2 yard average. Return man Marcus Jones has both a punt and a kick return for touchdowns in his career.
Michigan needs to get back to playing fundamental football. Minnesota is one-dimensional. The keys to victory are simple - Stop the run and don’t turn the ball over. Minnesota threw only one pass in its win last week over San Jose St. This game can change the entire season by either getting the team back on track or continuing the sub-par performances.
Michigan has won 38 of the 41 games played against Minnesota since the start of the Bo era. Minnesota’s only wins were in 1977, 1986 and 2005. Minnesota’s last Big Ten title was in 1967 while Michigan is looking to win its first title since 2004.
Michigan leads the overall series 73-24-3.
The Wolverines are a 11˝ point favorite. The jug stays with the Wolverines!
Great Moments in Wolverines - Gophers History
- Elvis Grbac threw for 9 TDs in his three games against Minnesota.
- John Navarre lead the comeback win in 2003 with 353 passing yards – most in the decisive 4th quarter where Michigan erased a 21-point deficit.
- Leroy Hoard scored all three Michigan TDs in the 22-7 win in 1988.
- Michigan put up 604 total yards, lead by 283 passing yards from Jim Harbaugh, to win 48-7 in 1985.
- Michigan had 490 rushing yards – 129 yards and 4 TDs by Rob Lytle and 110 yards by Rick Leach – to win 45-0 in 1975.
- Michigan beat Minnesota 3-0 in the final game of 1932. The win propelled the Wolverines to win the National Championship.
- In the 2011 game, Vincent Smith ran for a TD, caught a TD and threw for a TD as Michigan won 58-0. It was the largest margin of victory in the long history between Michigan and Minnesota.