History of the Little Brown Jug


For football fans across the nation, the Little Brown Jug means the Minnesota-Michigan game.

For really good football fans, they know there’s another Little Brown Jug game, and it’s now officially 100 years old.

For 100 years, Hattiesburg and Laurel have waged an annual event for a piece of Mississippi Football History, the Little Brown Jug. Several stories have been told as to how they came up with the name. We collected some of the stories and links to the history of this icon of football in the Pine Belt.

HISTORY:

Like every good history, the beginnings are surrounded in myth. Hattiesburg and Laurel is the longest continuously-played rivalry in Mississippi, dating from 1922. When High School football was established in Mississippi, teams in the “Big Eight” conference modeled their uniforms after college teams. Laurel chose the University of Minnesota colors, hence the “Little Brown Jug” connection. When the natural rivalry began between Hattiesburg and Laurel (30 miles apart) started, the high school game took on many of the traditions of the traditional Michigan-Minnesota game, including battling for the Little Brown Jug (the Minnesota-Michigan rivalry started in 1903).

Another story is much more urbane. Two opposing fans bet a bottle of moonshine on the outcome of one of the early rivalry games.

Whichever you prefer, the connection of Hattiesburg and Laurel in football has evolved though history, from the Big Eight, the changing to the current system, integration, hurricanes, and COVID. It lives on as a symbol of the best in Mississippi High School football and is remembered throughout history in Mississippi.

Here are several selected articles on the history of the Little Brown Jug, including history, important games, and even this year’s results.

THIS YEAR’S GAME:  Laurel gets a dominant shutout win over Hattiesburg in key milestone Little Brown Jug game, enters playoffs as third seed

USA TODAY: Jug Offers Walk Through History:

HUB CITY SPOKES: The Little Brown Jug Celebrates 100 Years: Six Games That Define The History of Mississippi’s Longest Tenured Rivalry Game

WDAM: History behind the Little Brown Jug football rivalry

SCOREBOOKLIVE: Sights and sounds from Mississippi’s oldest football rivalry, the 100th Little Brown Jug game between Laurel and Hattiesburg

OUR MISSISSIPPI HOME: The 100th Game of the Rivalry Between Laurel and Hattiesburg