The Nickel Trophy is the traveling trophy formerly awarded annually to the winner of the NDSU vs UND football game. Because NDSU moved their athletics to Division I with football in FCS (formerly known as Division I-AA), the series has been on hold. UND is the current holder of the Nickel Trophy, following the last game between the two teams on October 18, 2003, where the Fighting Sioux won in Grand forks 28-21.
UND leads the all time series between the two schools 62-45-3. UND also has won the Nickel Trophy the most times, with 35 wins to 30 for NDSU.
- Trophy holder: UND won 28-21 on Oct. 18, 2003, in Grand Forks
- Current streak: UND has won the last 3 nickel trophy competitions
- Nickel-winning record: UND leads 35-30
- All-time UND vs NDSU record: UND leads 62-45-3
The Nickel Trophy, 250 times larger than a regular five-cent piece and weighing 75 pounds, was inaugurated in 1938 and is presented each fall to the winner of the North Dakota-North Dakota State football battle. Two inches thick and 22 inches in diameter, it is an exact replica of the once-minted U.S. coin. It has been the object of many intercampus raids, recoveries, and more thefts. The late Robert Kunkel, a UND alumnus and Chicago advertising executive, was the originator of the trophy. Blue Key, an honorary service fraternity on each campus, awards the nickel trophy. UND and NDSU have each enjoyed a 12-game winning stretch.
What happens when the Sioux meet the Bison twice in a season? This first occurred in 1945 when the Sioux won the their first contest against the Bison and lost the second. Since both were regular season matchups, the Sioux held the trophy for only 7 days, after which they lost to the Bison in a Fargo rematch and surrendered the trophy.
In 1992, UND would have faced NDSU in the playoffs if both had won their first round contests. UND lost, so no formal decision was made; however, the consensus opinion was that the regular season victor, NDSU, would have kept the trophy.
In 1994, the Sioux faced the Bison in the playoffs for the first time and the NDSU Blue Key club agreed before the contest that the trophy should stay with the winner of the regular season matchup. UND went on to win that post-season matchup. In recognition that playoff meetings were becoming more likely, the Blue Key club amended its constitution to clarify that the nickel trophy should be awarded to the winner of the regular season contest.
The situation occurred again the very next season, 1995, when the Sioux had again won the regular season matchup and faced the Bison in the playoffs. The precedent established, the nickel trophy stayed with the Sioux despite their post-season loss to NDSU.
Nickel Trophy Games