How It Started

Sept. 27, 2011

One headline in the November 1, 1903 Sunday edition of the Minneapolis Tribune declared, "VICTORY, THOUGH THE SCORE IS TIED." Further down toward the fold it blared, "YOST AND MICHIGAN PRACTICALLY BEATEN."

It was that fierce battle, played Saturday October 31, 1903, that spawned the greatest of the college football rivalry games. Michigan's student manager Tommy Roberts purchased a five gallon jug that was left behind in the aftermath of this epic clash that served as first, a Gopher souvenir, and later as the trophy that's been presented to the winner since 1909.

The team exchanged touchdowns, then worth 5 points each, in the second half. The great Wolverine back Willie Heston found the end zone first midway through the half. The Gophers tied the score in the final minutes of the game and added the extra point to secure the tie. Depending on who you read, the game was either called with "a few seconds" remaining on the clock (Tribune), or two minutes left to go (Detroit Free Press) after thousands of Gopher fans stormed the field to celebrate the game-tying tally.

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