Wisconsin destroys opponent, and trophy, in Duke’s Mayo Bowl

NCAA Football: Duke's Mayo Bowl-Wake Forest vs Wisconsin
Dec 30, 2020; Charlotte, NC, USA; Wisconsin Badgers hold up the winning trophy after beating Wake Forest at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

January 4, 2021

(Reuters) – The University of Wisconsin destroyed Wake Forest on Wednesday 42-28 to clinch the Duke’s Mayo Bowl trophy, but then accidentially destroyed the crystal trophy.

Quarterback Graham Mertz finished 11 of 17 for 130 yards and three touchdowns to win the Division-I college football bowl game in Charlotte, North Carolina, but suffered a critical fumble in the locker room, explaining to reporters that he was responsible for the demise of the football-shaped trophy topper.

“I dropped it, that’s on me,” Mertz told reporters, showing off the “boo-boo” suffered to his thumb. “Will be the last trophy I’ll ever drop – I guarantee you that.”

NBC affiliate reporter George Balekji tweeted out photos https://twitter.com/GeorgeBalekji/status/1344387928471052288 of the irrevocably shattered trophy, upon which Wisconsin safety Eric Burrell commented: “2020 we are DONE with you!!!”

But while he may be frustrated by the blunder, Mertz can comfort himself with the knowledge that he’s far from the first athlete to mishandle a trophy.

Maria Sharapova hoisted the U.S. Open silver with a bit too much vigor in 2006, sending the lid flying, and in 2011 Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos dropped the Spanish Cup prize from the top of a double-decker bus during a celebratory parade.

The bus then ran over the trophy.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Michael Perry)