Rivalry hardware at stake in Illinois’ next three games

By Jason Grodsky

Over the course of the next three weekends the Illinois football team will not only be trying to play the role of spoiler against Big Ten rivals Ohio State, Purdue and Northwestern, but the Illini will also be playing for bragging rights and three traditional trophies.

Illinois will be playing for the right to bring home the Illibuck, the Purdue Cannon and the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk. The last time the Illini won any of the three trophies was in 2002, claiming the Purdue Cannon and the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk. The last time Illinois had all three trophies was the year before, when the Illini won the 2001 Big Ten title and played in the Sugar Bowl.


The Illibuck trophy was introduced in 1925 to the winner of the Illinois-Ohio State football game. The original Illibuck was an actual turtle that traveled back and forth between Champaign-Urbana and Columbus, but the turtle died in the spring of 1927 and was replaced with a wooden replica. At halftime of the Illinois-Ohio State game, members of two junior honorary societies, Bucket and Dipper of Ohio State and Sachem of Illinois, meet to present the Illibuck trophy to last year’s winning school. The last time Illinois won the Illibuck trophy was in 2001, when the Illini upended the Buckeyes 34-22 in Columbus on Nov. 17, 2001. Ohio State currently holds a 55-22-2 record over the Illini in the battle for the Illibuck.

Purdue Cannon:

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The Purdue Cannon first made its appearance on the Illinois campus in 1905 when a group of Purdue students brought the cannon to Champaign-Urbana with intentions of firing it after a Boilermaker victory over the Illini. After the game, Illinois student Quincy Hall found the Purdue Cannon hidden near the Illinois Field. With help from a group of Delta Upsilon brothers, Hall took possession of the Purdue Cannon until 1943 when they donated it as a symbol of the rivalry between Illinois and Purdue. During the season, either the Tomahawk Service and Leadership honorary of Purdue or the Illini Pride of Illinois keep the trophy intact when the respective school has won it. The last time Illinois won the Purdue Cannon trophy was four years ago when the Illini downed the Boilermakers 38-31 in overtime at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 12, 2002. Purdue currently holds a 28-25-2 advantage over the Illini in games played for the Purdue Cannon.

Sweet Sioux Tomahawk:

The trophy awarded to the winner of Illinois and Northwestern’s annual football game originally was not a tomahawk, it was an actual wooden Indian named “Sweet Sioux.” The original Sweet Sioux trophy was introduced in 1945 after the staff members of the two schools student newspapers came up with the idea for it. But in September, 1946, “Sweet Sioux” was stolen at a showcase at Northwestern. In 1947, a Tomahawk Trophy was brought in to replace the wooden Indian and has been used ever since. The original “Sweet Sioux” trophy was created in 1948, but was retired due to its size. Illinois last claimed the tomahawk when they beat the Wildcats 31-24 in Evanston on Nov. 23, 2002. Illinois currently holds a 31-26-2 edge over the Wildcats in games played for the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk.