GoAUpher: Bumped for all the historical type knowledge.
Gophers trainer Oscar Munson with Floyd and unknown player 1937. via collections.mnhs.org
This Saturday will be the 107th matchup between The University of Minnesota and the University of Iowa. You know most of the story about why this is a trophy game but it's worth telling the whole tale. This matchup has been a fixture on every Gopher schedule since 1930. Why, you ask, didn't these two teams play that year? Because 1929 was the beginning of all the hate.
In 1929 an elaborate Iowa alumni slush fund was created to pay recruits and athletes at their provincial little school. Because of this Minnesota's representative to the conference James Page lobbied for Iowa's dismissal from the Big Ten. He succeeded. YEAH YOU READ THAT RIGHT MINNESOTA SNITCHED ON IOWA AND GOT THEM BOOTED FROM THE BIG TEN.
They were only out of the conference for a few months in the winter of 1929/1930. However the Big Ten further punished the Hawkeyes by only letting them play one conference team that season, against Purdue. (Side note: how hilarious is it that playing Purdue was some kind of punishment in 1930?) Thus Minnesota missed playing Iowa in 1930. Ratting on Iowa made the games more intense leading up to the 1934 contest which officially started the Gopher/Hawkeye rivalry.
The 1934 Gopher/Hawkeye game would be the boiling point leading to the Floyd of Rosedale. Minnesota won 48-12 (on their way to winning their first of 3 consecutive national titles) Stan Kostka the hard hitting Gopher is credited with having a great game, scoring 3 touchdowns and injuring several Hawkeye players. Newspaper accounts tallied the injuries inflicted by Kostka: a broken vertebra, a bruise that developed into a clot, and two players being knocked out, one of those players was Iowa star Ozzie Simmons.
On the left is Minnesota Gov. Olson and on the right Iowa Gov Herring, 1935. via collections.mnhs.org
The next part of the story is pretty well known. Iowa Governor Clyde Herring was quoted before the 1935 matchup, "if the officials stand for any rough tactics like Minnesota used last year I'm sure the crowd won't." Worried the Gopher football team would be mobbed in Iowa City, Minnesota's Governor, Floyd B. Olson offered to bet Herring a prize hog. Olson won himself a pig. Floyd Olson held a news conference with the best Iowa hog and then gave the pig away to a 14 year old boy who as a prize in an essay writing competition.
Iowa Gov. Herring officially giving Floyd to Gov. Floyd, 1934. via collections.mnhs.org
One other small part of the story that is often lost is the original Floyd the Gopher players brought with them to Iowa City back in 1935. I'll link to the Daily article about it and let the current owner of the wooden pig tell that story. I've spoken with Mr. Patrin several times but unfortunately have not been able to get a photograph of this wooden pig.
The rivalry may have played its biggest game November 5th, 1960. Iowa, number 3 in the country, traveled to Dinkytown to play the unbeaten top ranked Gophers. Minnesota won the game 27-10 and would go on to play in the Rose Bowl. It would be the only loss of the season for Iowa. The game was so big Pat Reusse even has fond memories of it.
So there you have it. Minnesota has gotten Iowa kicked out of the Big Ten, injured Iowa's star players, taken their best pig, and won arguably the biggest game in the rivalries history (including winning 61 of the total 106 contests). If I didn't hate Iowa I'd understand why they hated us.