A platypus trophy and a double-bird salute: Untold stories and favorite memories of Rivalry Week

1 week ago 11
  • ESPN.com staff

Nov 21, 2023, 07:00 AM ET

Ah, Thanksgiving weekend, erstwhile the household gathers astir the array and digs into a smorgasbord of accepted household dishes that instantly instrumentality america backmost successful clip by mode of taste, odor and the memories to which those sensations are everlastingly connected.

But it is besides Rivalry Week, erstwhile assemblage shot contests involving teams and instrumentality bases who bash not peculiarly similar each different find themselves successful the midst of a akin vacation experience. When the sights, sounds and sensory overload of being wrong a assemblage shot stadium besides unfastened the doors to the deepest recesses of our representation banks.

And past determination is that portion successful between, wherever the genuinely bizarre and hardly explainable kick-start the strangest of recollections. You know, similar that casserole your Aunt Edith uncovers that leaves the household to walk the remainder of the day wondering WTH was baked successful that CorningWare.

Or that jersey fig being worn by the feline 4 rows successful beforehand of you, successful the colors of thine enemy, that spawns stories of seething spitefulness that could lone beryllium calved successful the bizarro satellite of assemblage football.

Or Aunt Edith's crystal box.

Or erstwhile her sister, Aunt Connie, gets into the sherry and starts spinning yarns astir your parents that you've ne'er heard before. Especially that 1 astir them during Rivalry Week backmost successful the time erstwhile they helped bargain State U's mascot.

The untold stories. The ones that springiness our lives -- and assemblage shot -- a small extra. That's what we're present to stock with you. The untold stories, little-known details and forgotten tidbits that marque Rivalry Week truthful special. Slow cooked to perfection implicit each these years. Like Aunt Edith's casserole. -- Ryan McGee

Jump to a section:
Ohio State's double-bird man
Bad humor betwixt the hedges
Playing for the platypus
Deeper than hate

Buckeyes' double-bird man

Ohio State astatine Michigan, Saturday, noon ET, Fox

Marcus Hall knew each astir the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry agelong earlier helium became a subordinate of the Buckeyes.

A Cleveland native, Hall could recount the prima players, the Woody Hayes-Bo Schembechler battles, the golden pants contented and the spiciest moments, similar the combat betwixt Ohio State's David Boston and Michigan's Charles Woodson successful 1997. After signing with Ohio State, Hall couldn't hold to beryllium portion of assemblage football's highest-profile series.

Ten years ago, helium unexpectedly carved a spot successful Ohio State-Michigan lore -- with 2 fingers.

The 2013 crippled pitted the third-ranked Buckeyes, 11-0 that play and 23-0 wide nether manager Urban Meyer, against a 7-4 Michigan squad astatine Ann Arbor. Hall, a fifth-year senior, was Ohio State's starting close guard. He had started the erstwhile play against Michigan, helping the Buckeyes to a triumph that capped a cleanable archetypal play nether Meyer (the squad was ineligible for postseason play).

"I was tense arsenic heck, but playing successful that game, it's like, 'OK, I'm officially a Buckeye,'" Hall said. "That's similar your stamp."

Hall couldn't hold for his last go-round successful The Game. He remembers the travel up to Michigan and hanging retired with backmost Braxton Miller and his different adjacent friends connected the team. The pregame ambiance was "intense," arsenic the teams exchanged words successful the stadium tunnel.

After Michigan took the pb aboriginal successful the 2nd quarter, Ohio State's Dontre Wilson returned a kickoff and was tackled, lone to get up surrounded by Wolverines. Pushes and punches ensued, and wrong seconds, players from some sidelines had entered the tract arsenic flags flew.

"I thought it was a bench-clearing brawl," Hall said. "I'm like, 'I'm decidedly going connected this tract to support my guys.' I was an violative lineman. That's people what we do. I wasn't going to beryllium the lone feline not retired there."



Marcus Hall's infamous salute to Michigan fans

In 2013, Marcus Hall added to the OSU-Michigan rivalry lore by giving a double-finger salute to Michigan fans aft getting ejected from the game.

The fracas turned retired to beryllium overmuch tamer than Hall thought and was extinguished wrong seconds. But aft a agelong huddle by the officiating crew, referee Mike Cannon announced the penalties, including 3 ejections: Michigan's Royce Jenkins-Stone, Ohio State's Wilson and, the past to beryllium called, Hall.

Just similar that, Hall's vocation successful the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry was over.

"I didn't perceive anybody successful the crowd, I didn't perceive anything," Hall said. "All I was reasoning was, 'It's my elder year. I've looked guardant to my elder twelvemonth playing Michigan for truthful long.' The vigor and mentation that goes into that game, you're truthful invested successful that game. For it to extremity earlier halftime, I conscionable blew up."

As ABC cameras followed him, Hall threw his helmet down connected the Ohio State sideline, kicked a seat and past pumped his fist successful anger. Then, arsenic helium turned into the stadium tunnel, helium raised some of his mediate fingers toward the Big House crowd.

"I comparison it to, erstwhile you're fed up connected the occupation and it's clip to go, conscionable fto 'em fly," Hall said.

Hall's treble vertebrate would go the astir memorable infinitesimal from the game, which Ohio State won 42-41 aft intercepting a 2-point conversion walk effort with 32 seconds near to ward disconnected a furious Michigan rally. Other than the ejection itself, Hall said the worst portion of his time was having to stew successful the visitors locker room, which had nary TVs and lousy compartment telephone reception.

Stan Jefferson, Ohio State's manager of subordinate development, accompanied Hall and tried to calm him down. Hall kept his azygous connected until the 4th fourth earlier showering.

"My adrenaline was inactive going," helium said. "I was trying to locomotion retired the locker country and spot what was going on, but they kept directing maine backmost in. All I could perceive were the oohs and ahhs and cheers from the crowd. That conscionable had maine connected edge."

Hall tried to way the crippled connected his phone, which began buzzing with notifications arsenic soon arsenic helium got backmost to the locker room. The middle-finger infinitesimal had gone viral.

Although his parents weren't astatine Michigan Stadium, his uncle and aunt, who had ne'er seen him play and aren't large sports fans, showed up that day.

"They're the astir polite, large people, religious," Hall recalled, laughing. "After the game, I talked to them and they're similar blown away, like, 'Oh my God, we've ne'er seen you enactment similar that. Are you OK?' I had to calm them down, fto them cognize I conscionable had a moment."

Hall had ne'er been kicked retired of a crippled before. There had been immoderate fights, but mostly successful practice. He received a nationalist reprimand from the Big Ten and did not commencement successful the league title crippled the pursuing week. His parents were supportive, though they said helium had to power his anger.

The double-bird representation instantly gained traction. T-shirts were made showing Hall's gesture, but since it was the pre-NIL days, helium couldn't profit. Hall's lawyer aboriginal contacted the institution making the shirts and obtained a percent of income for Hall. Eventually, Hall made his ain shirts, implicit with his signature astatine the bottommost "to marque it much authentic." He said helium besides signed "a batch of pictures" showing his salute.

Demand was precocious initially, and Hall inactive sells rather a fewer T-shirts astir this clip each year.

"It was a large infinitesimal successful the rivalry," helium said.

Hall, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts arsenic an undrafted escaped cause and aboriginal played successful the CFL, worked successful income aft his playing career. He lives successful the Columbus area, wherever helium has worked with younker successful radical homes and is trying to go a firefighter. Hall tailgates astatine Ohio State games with erstwhile teammates similar Miller and Christian Bryant. He's considering making the travel to Ann Arbor for Saturday's showdown, 10 years aft his notable ejection.

"It wasn't the champion happening for me, but I tin beryllium humble and accidental that rivalry and everything that goes into it, it's bigger than me," Hall said. "It's been present mode earlier maine and it's going to beryllium present mode aft me. Just to person a portion successful that, I'm thankful. I started much than 30 games astatine Ohio State, but if my bequest has got to unrecorded connected done the rivalry that way, I'm chill with that." -- Adam Rittenberg

Bad humor betwixt the hedges

Georgia astatine Georgia Tech, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Given the trajectory of the Georgia and Georgia Tech shot programs the past respective years, it mightiness beryllium hard to retrieve the Bulldogs mislaid to the Yellow Jackets astatine location successful 2016, manager Kirby Smart's archetypal season.

After the Yellow Jackets rallied from a 13-point shortage successful the 2nd fractional and won 28-27 connected Qua Searcy's 6-yard tally and the ensuing extra-point footwear with 30 seconds near successful the regular-season finale, galore Tech players -- arsenic had go thing of a contented -- celebrated by taking location a souvenir from the celebrated hedges surrounding the playing tract astatine Sanford Stadium successful Athens, Georgia.

Shortly thereafter, then-Georgia diversion manager Greg McGarity and then-Tech counterpart Todd Stansbury agreed the harm needed to stop. Bulldogs players had been retaliating by taking location chunks of the natural-grass turf astatine Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium.

The rivalry, agelong known arsenic "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate," was getting a small disfigured erstwhile it came to vandalizing stadiums.

"It was backmost and distant betwixt the hedges and the turf astatine Tech," McGarity told ESPN past week. "We called each different and said the clip to deface each other's installation needs to travel to an end. We some agreed it needed to stop. Kirby was adamant that we don't bash that anymore, that's not going to happen. It didn't assistance the rivalry astatine all. All it did was adhd substance to the fire."

Tech players had been taking location parts of UGA's hedges going backmost to a 35-18 triumph implicit the Bulldogs connected Dec. 1, 1984. Yellow Jackets backmost John Dewberry, a transportation from Georgia, broke disconnected a portion of the Chinese privet hedges and clenched it betwixt his teeth for photographers.

Tech players haphazardly pruned the hedges six much times implicit the adjacent 32 seasons, including successful 2016, erstwhile the hedges were particularly damaged.

"They were mangled," said McGarity, present president and CEO of Gator Bowl Sports successful Jacksonville, Florida. "Because it was the past crippled of the season, it didn't bash imperishable damage. Those hedges turn backmost truthful fast. It was conscionable the symbolic motion of defacing them. I'm definite Tech was frustrated erstwhile Georgia players dug up immoderate of the earthy turf connected their field."

Georgia has information officers protecting the exterior of the hedges from visiting fans who mightiness privation a souvenir, but McGarity said helium didn't deliberation it was a bully thought to person officers surrounding the interior perimeter.

"You didn't privation to person a concern wherever instrumentality enforcement was getting progressive with players," McGarity said. "That would beryllium the communicative the adjacent day. We much oregon little protected the exterior from the fans. That's what we focused connected -- preventing fans from damaging the hedges due to the fact that we could power that."

Of course, beating the Yellow Jackets astatine location solves the occupation for the Bulldogs. Georgia has won 18 of the past 21 games successful the rivalry going into Saturday's crippled successful Atlanta. The Bulldogs person besides won each of their past 25 games astatine Sanford Stadium, the longest progressive location winning streak successful the SEC. -- Mark Schlabach

Playing for the platypus

Oregon State astatine Oregon, Friday, 8:30 p.m., Fox

The beforehand leafage of the Eugene Register-Guard connected Nov. 20, 1959, trumpeted 2 caller additions to the festivities surrounding the adjacent day's shot crippled betwixt Oregon and rival Oregon State. It was besides homecoming weekend, and astir 50 freshmen from what was past called Oregon State College planned a tally from Corvallis to Eugene, though it's not wide if they made the full 40-plus-mile trek.

The 2nd summation was the unveiling of a rivalry trophy.

"Other accepted assemblage rivals person 'little brownish jugs' oregon 'old oaken buckets,' but determination has ne'er been a trophy for the UO-OSC 'civil war,'" Richard Baker wrote successful the newspaper.

So, naturally, the Platypus Trophy -- "with the caput and measure of a duck and the process of a beaver" -- filled the void. Oregon pupil Warren Spady sculpted the trophy from maple, and for 3 years, it was awarded to the victor of the game: Oregon State successful 1959 and 1961; Oregon successful 1960.

And then, similar that, it was gone.

For 4 decades, the Platypus Trophy faded from nationalist consciousness. Legend has it that it was stolen successful the aboriginal '60s and reappropriated arsenic a h2o polo trophy. Spady told the Register-Guard successful 2007 that successful 1986 helium saw the trophy successful a solid lawsuit astatine Oregon's Leighton Pool, but the afloat way of its travel pursuing Oregon State's shot triumph successful 1961 is champion near to the imagination.

Presenting... The Platypus Cup 🏆

"It's this cleanable operation of fractional Beaver and fractional Duck trophy that tin correspond us." - @joey3harrington

Thoughts connected renaming the rivalry crippled to the Platypus Cup? pic.twitter.com/JvlWtfmlgn

— Talkin' Ducks (@talkinducksshow) November 23, 2021

It wasn't until 2004, acknowledgment to a file from John Canzano, penning for the Oregonian, that the trophy's beingness was thrust backmost into the nationalist eye. Like the Register-Guard communicative from 45 years earlier, Canzano's file noted the uncommon deficiency of a trophy for a assemblage shot rivalry game, lone for him to beryllium informed aft work that erstwhile upon a clip 1 did exist. And it inactive might.

So, successful the aforesaid twelvemonth "National Treasure" deed theaters, the hunt was on. The trophy was yet located successful 2005 successful a retention closet, and since 2007 has been entrusted to the winning school's alumni relation for safekeeping aft each Oregon-Oregon State shot game.

On Oregon's pupil alumni relation website, the Platypus Trophy is described arsenic "a awesome of pridefulness and a long-forgotten past for the Civil War games." The website besides says, "As each Duck knows -- Whether you unrecorded successful Eugene oregon successful New York, the Oregon State Beavers volition ever beryllium our rival."

Headed into this week's game, with Oregon acceptable to depart for the Big Ten and Oregon State near with an uncertain future, the Platypus Trophy is much typical of what assemblage shot utilized to be: a quirky, determination athletics that connected generations.

It seems those days are conscionable astir over. -- Kyle Bonagura

Deeper than hate

Georgia Southern astatine Appalachian State, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU

Georgia Southern and Appalachian State archetypal met connected a shot tract successful 1932. Or possibly it was 1934. It depends connected wherever you look. Someone forgot to constitute it down. Which is adjacent much hilarious erstwhile 1 realizes the schools were past known arsenic South Georgia Teachers College and Appalachian State Teachers College.

Today, their rivalry has go 1 of the platforms upon which the league of existent determination bile, the Sun Belt Conference, has been built.

One twelvemonth ago, GSU outlasted App State 51-48 successful a contention that produced much than 1,100 yards and a twelve pb changes. On Halloween nighttime 2019, the 4-3 Eagles stunned Eliah Drinkwitz's No. 20 and New Year's Six-dreaming Mountaineers with a 24-21 triumph successful Boone, North Carolina. There has been a quartet of games successful which the No. 1-ranked FCS squad was upset. There was GSU implicit ASU successful 2007, conscionable 7 weeks aft App State's legendary decision of Michigan. There was adjacent a crippled successful 2015 that was interrupted by a laser pointer from the stands, a occurrence alarm successful a dorm adjacent to Kidd Brewer Stadium and a stolen ambulance.

But the roots of the rubric that has been bestowed upon this bid -- "A Feeling Deeper Than Hate" -- scope backmost to Dec. 5, 1987, the schools' archetypal post-World War II meeting. It was the FCS (then I-AA) quarterfinals. The Eagles were the two-time defending nationalist champions, coached by College Football Hall of Famer Erk Russell, who earned nationalist notoriety arsenic Georgia's antiaircraft coordinator nether Vince Dooley. Erk was the godfather of the legendary Junkyard Dawgs and near Athens for Statesboro to assistance Georgia Southern restart its program. Using the encephalon wrong his celebrated bald caput (which helium routinely headbutted his helmeted players with, leaving a way of humor trickling down his look astatine kickoff), Russell won quickly, posting a brace of 13-2 seasons that led to those nattys.

When Georgia Southern arrived successful Boone for the 2nd circular of the NCAA I-AA playoffs successful 1987, the Eagles were greeted by an 11-2 Mountaineers squad helmed by aboriginal South Carolina caput manager Sparky Woods. They were besides greeted by snow. A batch of snow. And nether that pulverization was a wholly frozen playing field.

For 3 hours, some teams slipped and slid, but App State recovered amended footing astatine location and pulled disconnected a 19-0 win. App State students rubbed crystal into the coiled during the 2nd fractional erstwhile they utilized their boots and gloves to inscribe a snowy elevation overlooking 1 extremity portion with a message: CAN YOU SCORE?

A radical of aggravated Southern fans stormed the elevation and ignited a snowcapped brawl. When constabulary intervened, 1 serviceman pulled a determination worthy of the "Home Alone" Wet Bandits connected the cellar stairs, mislaid his footing and slid down the elevation to clang into a sideline fence.

It was the lone clip Russell, who added a 3rd and last nationalist rubric successful 1989, ever coached against Appalachian State. Even now, aft each these years and each the games the Eagles and Mountaineers person played, done FCS playoffs, the Southern Conference and present the FBS and the Sun Belt, App State fans inactive emotion to irk GSU loyalists by grinding up that Erk stat. Meanwhile, each fewer years Georgia Southern fans inactive record petitions to the NCAA to person that 1987 Ice Bowl reclassified arsenic a hockey game. -- Ryan McGee