The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Wisconsin quarterback’s untimely fumble shatters Duke’s Mayo Bowl trophy

The Duke’s Mayo Bowl Trophy broke while University of Wisconsin's football team celebrated their win over Wake Forest in Charlotte on Dec. 30. (Video: Julius Davis via Storyful)
Placeholder while article actions load

A funny thing happened to the Wisconsin Badgers as they gleefully danced around the trophy they’d hoisted after winning the Duke’s Mayo Bowl Wednesday night.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz fumbled the Lenox crystal football and, because it evidently was not secured to its base, it shattered into a billion (give or take) pieces on the floor of their locker room.


“Yeah, I dropped it,” Mertz said. “That’s on me. It happened.”

Running back Julius Davis immortalized the moment on social media and tweeted to Mertz, “We got some ballhandling to do now G5.”

Wide receiver Adam Krumholz saw it from another vantage point.

Badgers players’ celebration quickly ended with wide-eyed reaction to the shards of glass strewn on the floor.

Mertz, who passed for 130 yards and ran for two touchdowns in the Badgers’ 42-28 win over Wake Forest, attempted a quick fix by taping a container of Duke’s mayonnaise to the base, adding on his Instagram video, “Y’all, I broke the trophy.” Coach Paul Chryst’s mood was forgiving, too.

“I’m not under oath, so I don’t know if I have to speak,” he joked when asked about the accident. Just wanted everyone to have a piece of that trophy.”

Wisconsin won’t be left with just an empty pedestal for its trophy case. Bowl officials promised to replace the football.

If it’s any consolation, theirs isn’t the first crystal football to meet its demise. The Coaches’ Trophy from Alabama’s 2012 BCS national championship was knocked off its pedestal when a player’s father tripped on a rug beneath the trophy, which was displayed in the Mal Moore Athletic Facility in which Nick Saban has his office, during the annual A-Day scrimmage. The trophy, made by Waterford and valued at $30,000, crashed to the floor and was later replaced.

In 2008 Orson Charles, a teen recruit visiting Florida, leaned in to take a photograph of Tim Tebow’s Heisman Trophy and knocked the crystal football to the floor. He wound up playing at Georgia.