Following Michigan’s 12-11 win over the University of
Chicago for the 1898 conference championship, many Maize and Blue
faithful held a raucous celebration in the streets of Chicago.
Louis Elbel left the party for a relative’s house in the
weakening sunlight when he thought of the melody to the
“Victors.” He began working on the fight song that
night and then finished it on the train ride home to Ann Arbor.
The Winged Helmet
When Fritz Crisler became Michigan’s head coach in 1938,
he brought over the helmet design that he had initially employed as
a coach at Princeton. Before Crisler’s winged look, the
Wolverines sported all-black helmets. Crisler liked the change in
style but also thought it would help quarterbacks locate their
The Little Brown Jug
The oldest trophy in college football came to be in 1903.
Michigan coach Fielding Yost was worried that Minnesota would sully
Michigan’s water during the game in Minneapolis, so he
ordered his manager to buy a receptacle that could hold pure
drinking water. Minnesota tied the game at six late in the fourth
quarter and fans stormed the field, so the game was called with
time still left on the clock. The Wolverines hurried to get out of
the stadium and accidentally left the jug behind. Yost sent a
letter to Minnesota requesting the jug’s return, but
Minnesota Director of Athletics L.J. Cooke wrote back, “If
you want it, you’ll have to come up and win it.” Six
years later, the teams played again and the Wolverines won 15-6.
The teams have met every year since 1929.