1923 Illinois Fighting Illini football
1923 Fighting Illini National Champion football team.jpg
National champion (Boand, CFRA, Helms, Davis)
Co-national champion (QPRS, NCF, Sagarin-ELO)
Big Ten co-champion
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
Record8–0 (5–0 Big Ten)
Head coach
Offensive schemeSingle-wing
CaptainJames McMillen
Home stadiumIllinois Field
Memorial Stadium
Uniform
20silliniuniform.png
Seasons
← 1922
1924 →
1923 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Illinois + 5 0 0 8 0 0
Michigan + 4 0 0 8 0 0
Chicago 5 1 0 7 1 0
Minnesota 2 1 1 5 1 1
Iowa 3 3 0 5 3 0
Indiana 2 2 0 3 4 0
Wisconsin 1 3 1 3 3 1
Ohio State 1 4 0 3 4 1
Purdue 1 4 0 2 5 1
Northwestern 0 6 0 2 6 0
  • + – Conference co-champions

The 1923 Illinois Fighting Illini football team was an American football team that represented the University of Illinois during the 1923 Big Ten Conference football season. In their 11th season under head coach Robert Zuppke, the Fighting Illini compiled an 8–0 record (5–0 against Big Ten Conference opponents), tied with Michigan for the Big Ten championship, shut out five of eight opponents, and outscored their opponents by a total of 136 to 20.[1]

There was no contemporaneous system in 1923 for determining a national champion. However, Illinois was retroactively named as the national champion by the Boand System, College Football Researchers Association, Helms Athletic Foundation, and Parke H. Davis, and as a co-national champion by the Berryman QPRS system, National Championship Foundation, and Jeff Sagarin (using the ELO-Chess methodology).[2]

Halfback Red Grange, known as "The Galloping Ghost", tallied 723 rushing yards and scored 12 touchdowns in seven games. In 2008, Grange was named by ESPN as the best college football player of all time. He was also a charter member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

Grange and Guard Jim McMillen were consensus first-team picks on the 1923 All-America college football team.[3] McMillen was also the team captain.[4]

This was the first season for the Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium, where the team plays their home games to this day.

Schedule

DateOpponentSiteResultAttendanceSource
October 6Nebraska*W 24–7[5]
October 13Butler*
  • Illinois Field
  • Champaign, IL
W 21–7[6]
October 20at IowaW 9–625,000[7]
October 27vs. NorthwesternW 29–032,000[8]
November 3Chicago
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Champaign, IL
W 7–061,000[9]
November 10Wisconsin
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Champaign, IL
W 10–030,000[10]
November 17Mississippi A&M*
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Champaign, IL
W 27–025,000[11]
November 24at Ohio StateW 9–042,000[12][13]
  • *Non-conference game

Roster

Player Position Class Hometown
Steve Coutchie Quarterback Senior Harvey, Illinois
Harry 'Swede' Hall Quarterback Senior Chicago, Illinois
Red Grange Halfback Senior Wheaton, Illinois
Wally McIlwain Wingback/Halfback Sophomore Evanston, Illinois
Earl Britton Fullback/Placekicker/Punter Sophomore Elgin, Illinois
Bill Hansen Fullback Junior Brookston, Indiana
Heinie Schultz End Junior Geneseo, Illinois
Ted Richards End Junior Glencoe, Illinois
Frank Edward Rokusek End Senior Omaha, Nebraska
Clarence Arthur Muhl End Senior Oskaloosa, Iowa
Gilbert Jay Roberts Center Senior Oskaloosa, Iowa
Vee Green Center Senior Waukegan, Illinois
Roy Andrew Miller Tackle Sophomore Urbana, Illinois
Chuck Addison Brown Tackle Sophomore Cissna Park, Illinois
Richard 'Dick' Hall Tackle Senior Logansport, Indiana
John Mauer Tackle Sophomore Batavia, Illinois
Bunny Oakes Tackle Senior Maywood, Illinois
Mush Crawford Tackle Sophomore Waukegan, Illinois
Jim McMillen Right Guard Senior Grayslake, Illinois
Louis Frederick Slimmer Guard Senior Millville, New Jersey
Leonard J. Umnus Guard Junior Menominee, Michigan

Awards and honors

The following Illinois players received honors on the 1923 All-America college football team and/or the 1923 All-Big Ten Conference football team:

  • Consensus first-team All-American[3]
  • First-team All-Big Ten selection by Brown and Eckersall
  • Second-team All-American selected by Lawrence Perry[14]
  • Second-team All-Big Ten selection by Brown and Eckersall
  • Second-team All-Big Ten selection by Eckersall
  • Second-team All-Big Ten selection by Brown and third-team selection by Eckersall

References

  1. ^ "1923 Illinois Fighting Illini Schedule and Results". S/R College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  2. ^ 2020 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (PDF). Indianapolis: The National Collegiate Athletic Association. July 2020. pp. 112–114. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Football Award Winners" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2016. p. 6. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  4. ^ "Fighting Illini Football Record Book" (PDF). University of Illinois. 2015. p. 156. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  5. ^ "Illini Routs Nebraska, 24-7: Harold Grange Leads Triumph of 'Zup's' Men; Brilliant Halfback Scores 3 Touchdowns and Makes Longest Run". Decatur Herald. October 7, 1923. p. 25 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Illini Trim Butler: Orange Comes From Behind for 21-7 Win". Decatur Herald. October 14, 1923. p. 9 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Sec Taylor (October 21, 1923). "Illinois Beats Iowa, 9 to 6: Grange Plays Havoc During Final Period". The Des Moines Register. p. Sports 1, 4 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Walter Eckersall (October 28, 1923). "Illini and Maroons Gridiron Victors: Zuppke's Eleven Smashes Purple by 29-0 Margin". Chicago Sunday Tribune. p. Sports 1–2 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Irving Vaughan (November 4, 1923). "Illinois Conquers Chicago, 7-0: Grange Speed, Line Punches Daze Maroons". Chicago Sunday Tribune. pp. Sports 1, 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Illinois Continues Its Triumphal Championship March by Defeating Wisconsin, 10-0 Badgers Helpless". The Eau Claire (WI) Leader. November 11, 1923. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "Illini Trounce Mississippi by Topheavy Score: Grange Sits on Sidelines and Watches Mates Win, 27 to 0". Decatur Herald. November 18, 1923. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Illini and Michigan Title Tie: Zupmen Down Ohio for Clean Record, 9 to 0; Grange's Dashes in Final Quarter Win". Chicago Sunday Tribune. November 25, 1923. p. Sports 1–2 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "Ohio State Loses 9 to 0 in Plucky Fight with Ill.; Grange and Workman Star". The Coshocton Tribne. November 25, 1923. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ Lawrence Perry (1923-12-16). "Cornell and Michigan Get Two Places on Perry Eleven, One for Syracuse: Famed Gridiron Expert Rates Pfann, Sundstrom and MacRae Among Best". Syracuse Herald.