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Montevideo American-News
Mud-covered Mugs and Brown Jugs
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Sept. 10, 2013 5:20 p.m.


Folks, including me, talking about John U. Bacon’s book Fourth and Long have focused on the “serious” stuff like in there, like the discussion of the state of college football and the Brandon’s handling of the athletic department and struggle of Penn State’s seniors to hold its team together.   But much of the book takes a lighter look at many of the elements off the field that we all know, especially in these parts, help form the true soul of this sport.   Two of those elements he discusses in Fourth have special place in my heart: the Little Brown Jug (Chapter 18) and the Mudbowl (Chap 19).
I played in the Mudbowl but didn’t do much beyond delivering a late hit/cheapshot that triggered a bench-clearing brawl.  In future blogger-like fashion I slipped out of the melee because I have sensitive fingers and wrists, man.  Bacs described the battle in the slop (two decades removed from my triumph in the early 1990s) and he has it about right:

The play wasn’t pretty, but it was fierce, with almost every down resulting in at least one player getting jammed face-first into the swamp, followed by a five-man shoving match, which usually ended with at least one more player eating mud.  If you could claim anything was “beautiful” about a game that was literally the ugliest ever played, it’s that they were playing this hard for nothing more than bragging rights.  No money, no fame, just pride—which might explain why neither side backed down an inch.

Red Wing Pottery in Red Wing, Minnesota, the original makers of the classic rivalry trophy, has agreed to issue an exclusive run of commemorative stoneware jugs. Past and present Red Wing stoneware is regarded as highly collectible and these hand-made pieces will be no exception. The Red Wing kilns no longer fire five-gallon jugs so they will turn out a limited number of one and two-gallon jugs for us. Every specially made piece will bear a mark in honor of the 110 year history of The Jug and the 100th meeting between Michigan and Minnesota. Act quickly and you can pick up one of the first six jugs, in person, at the MGoPatio reception. (A single two-gallon jug and five one-gallon jugs are currently in production at the famed Minnesota pottery.) These distinctly marked six will stand out as some of the rarest stoneware items related to The Jug.

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