Throughout the history of college football, teams have competed for all sorts of different titles and symbols. Most notably, we’ve seen programs like Michigan and Michigan State compete for the Paul Bunyan Trophy, or Ole Miss and Mississippi State competing for the Egg Bowl.
Despite all of these Division I schools being recognized for their seemingly silly traditions, the Slippery Rock and Clarion football programs play for their own trophy, and it’s called the Milk Jug.
“There are a lot of colleges that play for a symbol,” Slippery Rock head football coach George Mihalik said. “The players hold this trophy valuable, and this team doesn’t want to be the team that lets the Milk Jug get away from The Rock.”
Throughout the short history since the Milk Jug’s inception in 2010, The Rock has dominated the matchup.
In fact, Clarion hasn’t even hoisted the trophy once, as Slippery Rock has won every matchup with a combined score of 150-67.
The closest matchup between the two schools came during the inaugural game, as The Rock walked away with a 16-13 victory thanks to a 32-yard game-winning field goal from Rock kicker Kurt Brackman with 1:41 remaining.
The idea of the Milk Jug was brought up by former Clarion Sports Information Director Rich Herman, who wanted to implement a new tradition with a school in which Clarion has a healthy rivalry.
Herman contacted SRU Athletic Director, Paul Lueken, and Lueken was on board immediately.
“It’s something that our guys have had fun with,” Lueken said. “You’ll see in some of the pictures we take after the game that some of our guys will lift up their jerseys and have ‘Got Milk?’ written on their stomachs, and we always find that funny. It’s just a good and healthy relationship we have with Clarion.”
After the agreement was made, the two athletic departments worked together to come up with a fitting symbol. Since both universities were located in western-Pennsylvania, both sides decided they should relate the symbol to the abundance of dairy farms in area.
Clarion was able get an old milk can from a local farm, and they painted each side a different color; gold with blue ‘C’ for Clarion, and white with a green ‘S’ for Slippery Rock. At the end of each contest, the school hosting the football game presents the trophy to the winning team.
This Saturday, Lueken and Slippery Rock University President Cheryl Norton will be the presenters for SRU, and Lueken hopes that he has the pleasure of handing the Milk Jug over to Rock football once again.
Despite the Milk Jug’s lopsided history, it seems as though the Golden Eagles may have more of a chance to steal the trophy away from The Rock this season.
Clarion boasts a 7-2 record with a 4-2 conference record. Although its chances are slim, the team is still alive to win the western division. For the first time ever, the Milk Jug Battle is more than a game for a silly trophy, it’s a game for a chance to play for a championship.
“Anytime you can win a prize or reward it feels good and you want to keep it,” Mihalik said. “Our players have come to appreciate this. There’s a lot on the line for Clarion not to just get their hands on the Jug, but also make a bid for the national playoffs. We’ve been looking forward to this game for the last couple weeks, but it just wasn’t the time to talk about it. But now it’s here, and we are ready.”