The UND football team's first association with the Potato Bowl was in 1965 when UND athletic director Len Marti, head football coach Whitey Helling, assistant coach Jerry Olson and sports information director Lee Bohnet came up with the idea.

The first Potato Bowl USA was played in 1966, when UND shut out Idaho State 41-0 in a battle for pride among potato growing regions.

But that wasn't the first game at UND's Memorial Stadium to be dubbed "The Potato Bowl."

On Aug. 11, 1952, at 8 p.m., the Green Bay Packers played an exhibition game -- with one team called the Packers and the other the Duluth Eskimos at UND's Memorial Stadium. It was billed as the first pro game in the region.

A photograph of the 1952 Potato Bowl, an exhibition game for the Green Bay Packers, runs in the Grand Forks Herald.
A photograph of the 1952 Potato Bowl, an exhibition game for the Green Bay Packers, runs in the Grand Forks Herald.

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The Eskimos beat the Packers 28-7 on a Monday night in front of an estimated 4,000 fans in a game sponsored by the Grand Forks Chiefs -- the town's minor league baseball team.

Duluth intercepted five passes and came back from an early 7-0 deficit.

Green Bay quarterback Tobin Rote, who was team captain in 1952 and 1953 and actually known more for his defensive prowess, completed nine passes for 206 yards but five interceptions. Bob Forte of the Eskimos was 10-for-17 for 176 yards.

In 1952, the Packers held training camp in Grand Rapids, Minn., while being coached for four years by Gene Ronzani.

The Eskimos were simply more Packers players. The Eskimos, at the time, were a defunct franchise but when the Packers traveled for exhibition games, they felt using a local label increased local fan interest.

That's the same reasoning for calling the Grand Forks exhibition the Potato Bowl -- to spur local interest.

When Lisle Blackbourn took over the Packers as head coach, he moved training camp back to Stevens Point, Wis., in 1954.

After the Grand Forks Potato Bowl, the Packers broke camp on Aug. 14 and headed to Milwaukee for their exhibition opener against the New York Giants.

Later in 1952, the Packers would play exhibitions in Latrobe, Pa., Kansas City and Minneapolis.

Prior to the Packers' Potato Bowl game, Green Bay played in Duluth a few days earlier on Friday, in a game called the Fish Bowl.

In that game, the Eskimos, with Forte at quarterback, beat the Packers 34-7. The Eskimos won thanks to a dominant defense, led by guard Ray Brady and two rookie inside linebackers -- Tito Carinci and Deral Teteak, as well as top receiver Bob Mann.

Mann, Teteak, Forte and Rote are members of the Packers' Hall of Fame.

A box score from the Green Bay Packers exhibition game runs in a 1952 Grand Forks Herald.
A box score from the Green Bay Packers exhibition game runs in a 1952 Grand Forks Herald.