Michigan's road to the BIG title game
It wasn't even brown:
The jug's big history
By ALEXA DETTELBACH
Daily Sports Editor
Everyone has heard the
criticism the Big Ten conference
has received over the first month
of the college football season.
No. 22 Ohio State lost starting
quarterback Braxton Miller in the
preseason. No. 9 Michigan State
and No.19 Wisconsin had difficult
Pac-12 and SEC matchups,
respectively, in week two.
Despite Michigan's early
struggles, the East division is still
up for the taking - and Michigan
coach Brady Hoke won't let you
But the Wolverines (2-2)
toughest games will come on the
road against the Buckeyes and
Spartans. Under Hoke's tenure,
yet to beat either
team away The
from Michigan 1
For now, it's
still a possibility. the to
Here's a look at
Michigan's path -
to the Big Ten
Championship, and how it stands
up against the competition:
vs. Minnesota (3-1): The
Golden Gophers rely on a power-
running game that averages 5.1
yards per carry to move their
offense. Last week against San
Jose State, Minnesota backup
quarterback Chris Streveler only
completed one pass for a Golden
Gophers' passing attack that
ranks last in the conference, but
ran for 161 yards and a score in
his first career start. Minnesota
coach Jerry Kill was "cautiously
optimistic" Wednesday that
starter Mitch Leidner will be back
against the Wolverines. But the
Golden Gophers look to running
back David Cobb to keep them in
games. The senior has run for 539
yards and four touchdowns on 92
carries through four games.-
On the other side of the ball,
Michigan's offense should find
some successagainst Minnesota's
defense, which allows 383.3 yards
per game. But that same unit has
forced 13 turnovers, which could
be problematic for a Wolverine
offense that has already allowed
at Rutgers (0-1 Big Ten, 3-1
overall): Michigan's first road
night game this season didn't go
so well, but maybe it will find
more success in New Jersey.
Rutgers' Athletic Department is
planning a "black-out" against
the Wolverines and expects the
prime-time matchup to draw
the biggest crowd of the season.
But the Scarlet Knights have
struggled with injuries, the worst
one coming last week in their win
over Navy, when starting running
back Paul James tore his anterior
Senior quarterback Gary Nova
has had an up-and-down season
thus far, with the low point
coming in a five interception,
13-10 loss to the Nittany Lions.
His favorite target is junior
Leonte Carroo, the Big Ten's
East Knights sport
is up for best defensive
end duo in
aking David Milewski
Turay. The two
for a conference-best seven sacks,
and Michigan's work-in-progress
offensive line will have its hands
full containing them. To the
average fan, this game should be
a cakewalk for the Wolverines,
but playing Rutgers, at night and
on the road is the quintessential
trap game. Look out for this one.
vs. Penn State (1-0, 4-0): The
Nittany Lions have stormed back
into the Big Ten championship
conversation after the NCAA
lifted sanctions. From 2011 And
it came at a perfect time, as Penn
State is the only undefeated team
in the East division. Quarterback
Christian Hackenberg and first-
year coach James Franklin have
turned the Nittany Lions into a
While Hackenberg makes
Penn State's passing attack
eighth in the nation, its run game
was ineffective until last week
against UMass. But even after
exploding for 228 yards against
the Minutemen, the Nittany
Lions average a meek 3.3 yards
per carry. Michigan's dominant
front seven could stifle an already
struggling ground game.,
On defense, Penn State has
been dominant, leading the nation
in rush defense and allowing just
49.5 yards per game. The Nittany
Lions also rank sixth in scoring
defense, holding teams to just 11
points pergame.While Michigan's
home night game should draw a
crowd of over 110,000, it's also the,
Wolverines' most difficult home
matchup. It will have been five
years, 11 months and 24 days since
it last triumphed over Penn State.
at Michigan State (2-1):
With Ohio State a shell of itself
without Miller, the Spartans are
Michigan's biggest road test this
season. Connor Cook resumes
his place behind center, but like
last season, it's Michigan State's
defense that tells the tale. The
Spartans held Eastern Michigan
to one yard of total offense in the
first half of their Sep.20 matchup.
While Michigan State's loss to
No. 2 Oregon in week two skewed
its defensive numbers, nobody is
underestimating this unit.
Offensively, the Spartans rank
first in the conference in scoring,
largely thanks to its 73-point
performance against the Eagles.
They've beaten opponents by an
average of 48.5 points in their two
wins. Cook leads a Michigan State
offense that relies on the passing
attack over the ground game, so
the Wolverine secondary will
need to play a big role if it wants
to pull the upset.
vs.Indiana (2-1): The Hoosiers
rank second in the Big Ten in
total offense, and last season,
they showed the Wolverines just
how explosive their offense can
be in a 63-47 shootout. Much of
Indiana's offense comes on the
ground, averaging 310.1 yards
per game, but that plays into
Michigan's defensive strengths.
Defensively, the Hoosiers
second-to-last in the conference
in pass defense. Through four
weeks, Indiana has the Big Ten's
most impressive win, a 31-27
performance on the road over
then-ranked No. 18 Missouri last
at Northwestern (1-2): After
an impressive start in 2013,
the Wildcats are on a slide that
stretches back to last year. This
season has been a struggle for
Northwestern, which lost its
first two games of the season
before getting a win against
Western Illinois. But the easy
The Michigan footbaN team'sgoal of winning the Big Ten is still attainable.
part of the Wildcats' schedule
is over, and now they face Penn
State, Wisconsin and Nebraska in
three of their first four weeks of
Offensively, Northwestern is
last in the Big Ten in scoring, and
second to last in total offense.
The Wildcats have also struggied
on defense, allowing 397 yards
per game and eight touchdowns.
Last year, it took Michigan three
overtime periods to beat the
Wildcats, and if the Wolverines
are still struggling by this Nov. 8
matchup, it could be an ugly game
for the conference.
vs. Maryland (3-): In
Michigan's last home game of the
season, it can expect the Terps to
ride sixth-year quarterback C.J.
Brown and explosive receiver
Stefon Diggs. Brown has remedial
arm strength, but can beat
defenses with his legs. Diggs is
Maryland's biggest weapon and
averages 12.4 yards per catch.
Maryland's defense, which is
ranked worst in the conference,
is a different story. The unit
struggles on both rush and
pass defense allowing 199.2 and
287 yards, respectively. The
latter figure is the worst in the
at Ohio State (2-1): Michigan
fans know how close the
Wolverines came to pulling the
upset over a top-5 Buckeyes squad
last season. With J.T. Barrett
leading Ohio State instead of
Miller, Urban Meyer's team has
started off differently.
By the time the Wolverines
make it to Columbus, the
freshman will have a full season
of experience under center,
which could change things. That
being said, Ohio State has a rough
offensive line that has given up
eight sacks in three games (seven
in its loss to Virginia Tech).
Defensively, the Buckeyes'
biggest weakness is their run
defense, which ranks 13th in
the conference, allowing 180.7
yards per game. Their pass
defense, though, is the best in
the Big Ten and has recorded five
Michigan-Ohio State matchups
are always entertaining, but with
Hoke fighting for a job, this could
be the Wolverines' last chance
to give it everything they've
got before change envelops the
' By ALEJANDRO ZUNIGA
This is the trophy game that
started them all.
And, unlike the Heroes Trophy
(Iowa vs. Nebraska, if anyone's
curious), this one wasn't crafted
by a graphic design company, nor
was its beginning marked with a
No, this one began organically
in 1903, and it has endured ever
That October, legendary
Michigan coach Fielding H. Yost's
squad ventured west for what'
was billed as the biggest game
in years against Minnesota. The
Wolverines had never lost under
Yost, and, at that point in the
1903 season, were undefeated and
hadn't conceded a point.
Concerned that the Gophers
might taint the water supply to
gain a competitive advantage,
Yost instructed student manager
Tommy Roberts to travel into
Minneapolis and purchase a jug
for the game.
Roberts spent 30 cents on the
container, which at five gallons
wasn't exactly little and hadn't yet
been painted brown.
That afternoon, Greatc r
Northrop Field was packed
to capacity in exnctation of
the clash. Fans wha couldn't
purchase tickets even took to
climbing trees and telephone
poles to watch the game.
Clean water or not, Yost's
Wolverines were statistically
dominated by Minnesota. But
the Golden Gophers still trailed
throughout much of the game,
and ultimately scored a game-
tying touchdown with about two
Then all hell broke loose. The
fans stormed the field, the referees
deemed it impossible to resume
play before sundown, and the
game ended early in a 6-6 tie.
"Minnesota supreme in
Western football," blared the
headline in the next day's Sunday
Tribune. "Yost and Michigan
In their haste to leave Greater
Northrop Field, Yost's squad had
left the water jug in the visitors'
locker room. The morning after
the game, custodian Oscar
Munson found it and brought it to
Minnesota Athletic Director Dr.
Louis J. Cooke, who had it hung it
in his office.
But before then, Cooke and
Munson inscribed it: "Michigan
jug. Captured by Oscar, October
31, 1903." Then, they wrote the
final score: "Minnesota 6," in large
letters, and in much smaller type,
The teams didn't meet again
until 1909, but the incident wasn't
forgotten. Ina pep rally before the
game, Minnesota's captain told
Michigan's players that they could
earn their jugback with a win.
The Wolverines agreed, and
they won, 15-6, finally returning
their container to Ann Arbor.
Upon reclaiming it from the
Golden Gophers in 1920, Michigan
painted the schools' block 'M's'
onto the trophy and created
columns so that each years' result
could be recorded. Including a
victory in 1920, Michigan won 12
of the next 14 matchups.
The rest of the rivalry has
proceeded in much the same
fashion. The Wolverines lead the
series, 73-24, with three ties.
So if Michigan wins Saturday
and parades the jug to the student
section, or if the Gophers win
and snatch the trophy from the
Wolverine sideline, take note. It's
another chapter in a story 111 years
in the making.
For more, the Daily recommends
The Little Brown Jug: The Michigan-
Minnesota Football Rivalry by Ken
Magee and Jon M. Stevens. The
book is available at local retailers,
online and at arcadiaretailers.com.
BY THE NUMBERS
Consecutivevictoriestfor Michigan in
The Michiganfootball team reclaimed the Little Brown Jug fron Minnesota in 1909 and has dominated the rivalry ever since.
Run defense wlbe crucial
By MAX COHEN back. After finding few holes last
Doily Sports Editor season, Green has found his groove
with improved vision and blocking
The Daily breaks down in front of him. He didn't have a
Michigan's contest with the particularly standout performance
Golden Gophers. against Utah, rushing for 59
yards on 14 carries, but consistent
Michigan pass offense vs. contributioncan stillbeexpected.
Minnesotapass defense Last week, the Golden
You're in luck if you've been Gophers allowed just 68 rushing
living under a rock for the past yards to San Jose State. It was
few months and don't know who a rebound performance after
the Wolverines' quarterback is, the Horned Frogs gashed
because neither does anyone else. Minnesota's run defense for
Michigan coach Brady Hoke said 169 yards the previous week,
he won't reveal whether fifth- averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
year senior Devin Gardner or Edge:Michigan
sophomore Shane Morris will be
his team's quarterback until game Minnesota pass offense vs.
time Saturday. Michigan pass defense
Both quarterbacks struggled Like the Wolverines, the
last weekend, each throwing Golden Gophers' quarterback
inaccurate passes and combining situation is also unsettled, but for
for four interceptions. Morris different reasons. Starter Mitch
replaced Gardner in the fourth Leidner missed last weekend's
quarter, and the quarterbacks game with a sprained medial
combined to complete 18 of collateral ligament in his left
39 attempted passes. Neither knee. Wednesday, Minnesota
quarterback could get the coach Jerry Kill said he was
Wolverines into the red zone. "cautiously optimistic" that
The Golden Gophers' pass Leidner would play.
defense had mixed results Without Leidner, the Golden
facing its only major-conference Gophers' passing game was
opponent in TCU two weeks nearly non-existent. Backup
ago, surrendering 258 passing Chris Streveler threw as many
yards and two touchdowns while interceptions as completions in his
creatingoneinterception.Withthe seven pass attempts= one.
Wolverines' quarterback situation Edge:Michigan
up in the air, this matchup is too.
Edge:Push Minnesota rush offense vs.
Michigan rush offense vs. The Golden Gophers' offense
Minnesota rush defense relies heavily upon their ground
Hoke said this week that he game. Last weekend, Minnesota
considers sophomore Derrick ran the ball 58 times with Leidner
Green to be his featured running out ofthe lineup.
Running back David Cobb leads
the rushing attack. Against San
Jose State, he gashed the Spartans
for 207 yards on 34 carries. It
was his second game rushing for
more than 200 yards this season.
Against Middle Tennessee State
on Sept. 6, he ran for 220 yards.
In four games, he has 539 rushing
yards and four touchdowns.
Still, Cobb didn't perform as
well against TCU, the team's best
opponent. In that game, he rushed
for 41yards on15 carries. Michigan '0
could pose a similar challenge.
Run defense has arguably been
the Wolverines' biggest strength
this season. Michigan has given
up fewer than 100 yards rushing in
three consecutive games, allowing
few long runs in the process.
The Wolverines' punt return
team was in disarray last weekend
in the second quarter against the
Utes when it had 10 players on the
field and allowed a punt return
On a positive note for Michigan,
its kicking game has improved
since senior Matt Wile missed
three field goals in the season's
first two games.
Minnesota kicker Ryan Santoso
has encountered his share of
struggles as well, converting only
one of three field goal attempts this
And as always, junior Dennis
Norfleet will be an asset to the
Wolverines in the return game.
Prediction: Michigan 27,
Consecutive victories for Minnesota over
2 1 FootballSaturday, September 26, 2014
TheMichiganDaily, www.michigandaily.com 3