The 1943 college football season was the 75th season of intercollegiate football in the United States. Competition included schools from the Big Ten Conference, the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC), the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Big Six Conference, the Southwestern Conference, and numerous smaller conferences and independent programs. The season was played during World War II.

The teams ranked highest in the final Associated Press poll in December 1942 were:

  1. 1943 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team - The Fighting Irish compiled a 9–1 and were ranked No. 1 in the final AP poll. They lost their final game of the season, a Chicago contest against No. 6 Great Lakes Navy. Along the way, however, the Fighting Irish had played one of the toughest college schedules ever, beating two No. 2 ranked teams (Michigan and Iowa Pre-Flight) and two No. 3 ranked teams (Navy and Army).
  2. 1943 Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks football team - In 1943, voting in the AP poll included "service teams" drawn from military flight schools and training centers. Led by head coach Don Faurot, the Seahawks compiled a 9–1 record, outscored opponents by a total of 277 to 98, and ranked highest among the service teams. They led the nation with 324.4 rushing yards per game.
  3. 1943 Michigan Wolverines football team - Led by head coach Fritz Crisler, the Wolverines compiled an 8–1 record, tied for the Big Ten championship, and outscored opponents by a total of 302 to 73. Their only loss was to No. 1 Notre Dame. The Wolverines led the Big Ten (and ranked fifth nationally) with an average of 363.2 yards per game of total offense. They also led the Big Ten (and ranked 10th nationally) giving up 164.1 yards per game in total defense. Bill Daley rushed for 817 yards and led the nation with an average of 6.81 yards per carry.
  4. 1943 Navy Midshipmen football team - The Midshipmen compiled a 6–0–1 record and outscored opponents by a total of 236 to 88. They ranked eighth nationally in total defense, giving up only 161.2 yards per game.
  5. 1943 Purdue Boilermakers football team - The Boilermakers compiled a 9–0 record, tied with Michigan for the Big Ten championship, and outscored opponents by a total of 214 to 55. Guard Alex Agase was a consensus All-American. Fullback Tony Butkovich led the Big Ten (and ranked third nationally) with 833 rushing yards; he was later killed at the Battle of Okinawa.

Quarterback Angelo Bertelli of Notre Dame won the Heisman Trophy, and halfback Bob O'Dell of Penn won the Maxwell Award. The statistical leaders for 1943 included Robert Hoernschemeyer of Indiana with 1,648 yards of total offense, Creighton Miller of Notre Dame with 911 rushing yards, Paul Rickards of Pittsburgh with 997 passing yards, Marion Flanagan of Texas A&M with 403 receiving yards, and Steve Van Buren of LSU with 98 points scored.

A number of universities suspended their football programs for the 1943 season, including Alabama, Auburn, Boston College, Duquesne, Florida, Fordham, Harvard, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oregon State, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Washington State, and William & Mary.

Conference and program changes

School 1942 Conference 1943 Conference
Creighton Bluejays Missouri Valley Dropped Program
Manhattan Jaspers Independent Dropped Program
Washington University in St. Louis Bears Missouri Valley Independent

September

On September 17, Georgia beat Presbyterian College 25–7. The next day, September 18, Michigan won at Camp Grant, 26–0. Wisconsin lost to Marquette, 33–7, on its way to a 1–9–0 finish.

September 25 Ohio State lost to Iowa Pre-Flight 28–13. Michigan beat Western Michigan 57–6. Notre Dame won at Pitt, 42–0. Army beat Villanova 27–0 and Navy beat North Carolina Pre-Flight, 31–0. Georgia lost at LSU, 34–27. Tulsa beat SMU 20–7, Georgia Tech beat North Carolina 20–7.

October

October 2 Michigan won at Northwestern 21–7. Notre Dame beat Georgia Tech 55–13. Army defeated Colgate 42–0 and Navy beat Cornell 46–7. The first AP Poll of the season led off with No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Army, No. 4 Navy, and No. 5 Duke.

October 9 No. 1 Notre Dame beat No. 2 Michigan 35–21 in the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the seven-year history of the AP Poll. No. 3 Army registered another shutout, defeating Temple 51–0. In Baltimore, No. 4 Navy edged No. 5 Duke, 14–13. No. 6 Penn edged No. 14 Dartmouth 7–6. No. 7 Purdue went to 4–0–0 with a 19–0 win over Camp Grant. The next AP Poll featured No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Army, No. 3 Navy, No. 4 Penn, and No. 5 Purdue.

October 16 No. 1 Notre Dame won at Wisconsin 50–0. No. 2 Army won at Columbia, 52–0. In four games, the Cadets had outscored their opponents 172–0. No. 3 Navy beat Penn State 14–6. No. 4 Penn beat the Lakehurst Naval Air Station 74–6. No. 5 Purdue beat Ohio State 30–7 at a game in Cleveland. Penn and Purdue swapped spots in the next AP Poll, but Notre Dame, Army, and Navy remained the top three.

October 23 No. 1 Notre Dame beat Illinois 47–0. No. 2 Army yielded its first points, but won at Yale, 39–7. No. 3 Navy beat Georgia Tech 28–14 in Baltimore. No. 4 Purdue beat Iowa 28–7. No. 5 Penn won at Columbia, 33–0, but dropped from the Top Five. No. 7 USC stayed unbeaten, untied, and unscored upon with a 6–0 win over No. 6 Pacific, and the next poll raised the Trojans to No. 5 behind Notre Dame, Army, Navy, and Purdue.

October 30 In Cleveland, No. 1 Notre Dame beat No. 3 Navy, 33–6. In Philadelphia, No. 2 Army and No. 6 Pennsylvania played to a 13–13 tie. No. 4 Purdue won at Wisconsin, 32–0. No. 5 USC beat California, 13–0, for its sixth straight shutout. The next AP Poll featured No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Purdue, No. 3 Army, No. 4 USC, and No. 5 Penn.

November

November 6 At Yankee Stadium in New York, No. 1 Notre Dame beat No. 3 Army, 26–0. No. 2 Purdue won at Minnesota, 14–7. No. 4 USC lost at San Diego to the San Diego Navy team. No. 5 Penn lost to No. 7 Navy, 24–7. No. 6 Michigan beat Indiana 23–6. No. 8 Iowa Pre-Flight continued its unbeaten streak with a 46–19 win at Marquette on November 7, and became the first “service team” to ever reach the AP's Top Five, ranking No. 5 behind Notre Dame, Purdue, Navy, and Michigan.

November 13 No. 1 Notre Dame won at Northwestern 25–6. No. 2 Purdue was idle. No. 3 Navy won at Columbia 61–0. No. 4 Michigan beat Wisconsin 27–0. No. 5 Iowa Pre-Flight beat Camp Grant 28–13. The AP voters elevated Iowa Pre-Flight to No. 2 in the next poll, just in time for a showdown with No. 1 Notre Dame. No. 3 Purdue, No. 4 Michigan, and No. 5 Navy rounded out the Top Five.

November 20 No. 1 Notre Dame edged No. 2 Iowa Pre-Flight, 14–13. No. 3 Purdue closed its season undefeated (9–0–0) with a 7–0 win at Indiana. No. 4 Michigan closed its season at 8–1–0 with a 45–7 win over Ohio State. No. 5 Navy was idle. No. 6 Duke closed its season at 8–1–0 with a 27–6 win over North Carolina and was raised to No. 5 in the next AP Poll behind Notre Dame, Iowa Pre-Flight, Michigan, and Purdue.

November 27 No. 1 Notre Dame closed its season with a 19–14 loss to Great Lakes NTC, 19–14, but still finished No. 1 in the final rankings. Iowa Pre-Flight, which had stayed at No. 2 after its close loss to Notre Dame, beat Minnesota, 32–0, to finish at 9–1–0. No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Purdue, and No. 5 Duke had finished their seasons. No. 6 Navy closed its season with a 13–0 win over No. 7 Army in the Army–Navy Game, which took place at West Point. The Midshipmen rose to No. 4 in the final poll, behind Notre Dame, Iowa Pre-Flight, and Michigan. Purdue moved down to No. 5, Great Lakes NTC entered the poll at No. 6 after their upset of Notre Dame, and Duke slipped to No. 7.

Conference standings

Major conference standings

1943 Big Six Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Oklahoma $ 5 0 0 7 2 0
Missouri 3 2 0 3 5 0
Iowa State 3 2 0 4 4 0
Kansas 2 3 0 4 5 1
Nebraska 2 3 0 2 6 0
Kansas State 0 5 0 1 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1943 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 5 Purdue + 6 0 0 9 0 0
No. 3 Michigan + 6 0 0 8 1 0
No. 9 Northwestern 5 1 0 6 2 0
Indiana 2 3 1 4 4 2
Minnesota 2 3 0 5 4 0
Illinois 2 4 0 3 7 0
Ohio State 1 4 0 3 6 0
Wisconsin 1 6 0 1 9 0
Iowa 0 4 1 1 6 1
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1943 Middle Three Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Lafayette + 3 1 0 4 1 0
Rutgers + 3 1 0 3 2 0
Lehigh 0 4 0 0 5 1
  • + – Conference co-champions
1943 Missouri Valley Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 15 Tulsa $ 1 0 0 6 1 1
Oklahoma A&M 0 1 0 3 4 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1943 Mountain States Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Colorado $ 2 0 0 5 2 0
Utah 0 2 0 0 7 0
Denver 0 0 0 2 5 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1943 Pacific Coast Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
USC $ 5 0 0 8 2 0
California 2 2 0 4 6 0
No. 12 Washington 0 1 0 4 1 0
UCLA 0 4 0 1 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1943 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 13 Georgia Tech $ 3 0 0 8 3 0
LSU 2 2 0 6 3 0
Tulane 1 1 0 3 3 0
Georgia 0 3 0 6 4 0
Vanderbilt 0 0 0 5 0 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • Seven other SEC schools did not field a team due to World War II.[2]
Rankings from AP Poll
1943 Southern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 7 Duke $ 4 0 0 8 1 0
Maryland 2 0 0 4 5 0
South Carolina 2 1 0 5 2 0
Wake Forest 3 2 0 4 5 0
North Carolina 2 2 0 6 3 0
Richmond 1 1 0 6 1 0
Clemson 2 3 0 2 6 0
VMI 2 3 0 2 6 0
NC State 1 4 0 3 6 0
Davidson 0 3 0 0 5 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1943 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 14 Texas $ 5 0 0 7 1 1
Texas A&M 4 1 0 7 2 1
Rice 2 3 0 3 7 0
SMU 2 3 0 2 7 0
TCU 1 4 0 2 6 0
Arkansas 1 4 0 2 7 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

Independents

1943 Eastern college football independents records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Boston College     4 0 1
Franklin & Marshall     7 1 0
Dartmouth     6 1 0
No. 11 Army     7 2 1
Holy Cross     6 2 0
Tufts     6 2 0
No. 20 Penn     6 2 1
Brown     5 3 0
Villanova     5 3 0
Colgate     5 3 1
Penn State     5 3 1
Bucknell     6 4 0
Cornell     6 4 0
Harvard     2 2 1
Yale     4 5 0
Pittsburgh     3 5 0
Temple     2 6 0
CCNY     1 3 1
Princeton     1 6 0
Carnegie Tech     0 4 1
Columbia     0 8 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1943 Midwestern college football independents records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Michigan State Normal     2 0 0
No. 1 Notre Dame     9 1 0
Miami (OH)     7 2 1
Western Michigan     4 2 0
Bowling Green     5 3 1
Marquette     3 4 1
Central Michigan     2 3 0
Ohio Wesleyan     4 6 0
Wayne     0 3 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1943 Southern college football independents records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 4 Navy     8 1 0
Miami (FL)     5 1 0
West Virginia     4 3 0
Virginia     3 4 1
Texas Tech     4 6 0
Tennessee Tech     1 5 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1943 Western college football independents records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
New Mexico A&M     4 0 0
No. 19 Pacific (CA)     7 2 0
Nevada     4 1 1
New Mexico     3 2 0
Saint Mary's     2 5 0
San Francisco     1 7 0
Rankings from AP Poll
1943 military service football records
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 17 Bainbridge     7 0 0
Bunker Hill NAS     6 0 0
Greensboro     6 0 0
Memphis NAS     3 0 0
No. 2 Iowa Pre-Flight     9 1 0
No. 10 March Field     9 1 0
No. 8 Del Monte Pre-Flight     7 1 0
Randolph Field     9 1 1
Georgia Pre-Flight     5 1 0
No. 6 Great Lakes Navy     10 2 0
San Diego NTS     7 2 0
Fort Riley     6 2 1
Alameda Coast Guard     4 2 1
St. Mary's Pre-Flight     3 4 1
North Carolina Pre-Flight     2 4 1
Camp Grant     2 6 2
Rankings from AP Poll

Minor conferences

Conference Champion(s) Record
Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association No champion
California Collegiate Athletic Association No champion
Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association Morgan State College 5–1–1
Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference No champion
Far Western Conference No champion
Indiana Intercollegiate Conference DePauw
Earlham
2–0
Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference No champion
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference No champion
Lone Star Conference No champion
Midwest Collegiate Athletic Conference No champion
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference No champion
Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association No champion
Nebraska College Athletic Conference No champion
New Mexico Intercollegiate Conference No champion
North Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference No champion
North Dakota College Athletic Conference No champion
Ohio Athletic Conference No champion
Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference No champion
Pacific Northwest Conference No champion
Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference No champion
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference No champion
South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference No champion
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference No champion
Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tuskegee 5–1–1
Southwestern Athletic Conference No champion
State Teacher's College Conference of Minnesota No champion
Texas Collegiate Athletic Conference No champion
Washington Intercollegiate Conference No champion
Wisconsin State Teachers College Conference No champion

Minor conference standings

1943 Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Morgan State $ 2 0 0 5 0 0
North Carolina A&T 2 0 0 4 0 0
Virginia State 2 2 0 5 2 0
Hampton 2 2 0 2 4 0
Johnson C. Smith 1 3 0 5 4 0
West Virginia State 0 2 0 0 2 0
  • $ – Conference champion
1943 Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Northern Illinois State 1 0 0 4 1 1
Illinois State Normal 1 0 0 6 2 1
Western Illinois 0 2 0 1 6 0
Eastern Illinois 0 0 0 0 0 0
Southern Illinois 0 0 0 0 0 0
1943 Southwestern Athletic Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
  • No champion per SWAC.

Rankings

Main article: 1943 NCAA football rankings

Bowl games

Bowl game Winning team Losing team
Rose Bowl USC 29 No. 12 Washington 0
Sugar Bowl No. 13 Georgia Tech 20 No. 15 Tulsa 18
Orange Bowl LSU 19 Texas A&M 14
Cotton Bowl Classic No. 14 Texas 7 Randolph Field 7
Sun Bowl Southwestern (TX) 7 New Mexico 0

Statistical leaders

Team leaders

Total offense

Rank Team Games played Total plays Yards gained Yards per game
1 Notre Dame 10 734 4180 418.0
2 Iowa-Pre-Flight 10 583 3929 392.9
3 Washington 4 250 1499 374.8
4 Duke 9 566 3299 366.6
5 Michigan 9 582 3269 363.2
6 Army 10 639 3545 354.5
7 Texas 8 498 2814 351.8
8 Tulsa 7 425 2379 339.9
9 Georgia 9* 593 2969 329.9
10 Holy Cross 8 587 2628 323.5

[3]

(*) One game not reported

Total defense

Rank Team Games played Total plays Yards gained Yards per game
1 Duke 9 405 1095 121.7
2 Tulsa 7 383 881 125.9
3 Penn State 9 439 1176 130.7
4 Texas A&M 9 488 1178 130.9
5 Holy Cross 8 371 1104 138.0
6 Texas 8 357 1110 138.8
7 Army 10 521 1525 152.5
8 Navy 9 499 1451 161.2
9 USC 8 413 1299 162.4
10 Michigan 8* 460 1313 164.1

[3]

(*) One game not reported

Rushing offense

Rank Team Games Rushes Yards gained Yards per game
1 Iowa Pre-Flight 10 481 3244 324.4
2 Notre Dame 10 625 3137 313.7
3 Duke 9 487 2660 295.6
4 Michigan 9 508 2648 294.2
5 Washington 1170 292.5
6 Army 2568 256.8
7 Texas 2016 252.0
8 Minnesota 2202 244.7
9 Navy 2165 240.6
10 Holy Cross 1876 234.5

[4]

Scoring

1. Duke - 37.2 points per game
2. Notre Dame - 34.0 points per game
3. Tulsa - 33.6 points points per game
4. Michigan - 33.6 points per game
5. Del Monte Pre-Flight - 31.5 points per game
6. Texas - 30.8 points per game
7. Army - 29.9 points per game
8. March Field - 29.2 points per game
9. Colorado College - 28.4 points per game
10. Richmond - 27.9 points per game
11. Iowa Pre-Flight - 27.7 points per game
12. Penn - 27.6 points per game

Individual leaders

Total offense

Rank Player Team Games Plays Total Yds
1 Robert Hoernschemeyer Indiana 10 355 1648
2 Eddie Prokop Georgia Tech 10 269 1440
3 Johnny Cook Georgia 10 307 1368
4 Stan Kozlowski Holy Cross 8 252 1226
5 James Hallmark Texas A&M 9 265 1080
6 Jim Lucas TCU 8 258 1031
7 Glenn Davis Army 10 144 1028
8 Steve Van Burenle LSU 8 186 1007
9 Derald Lebow Oklahoma 9 192 951
10 Bill Maceyko Cornell-Sampson 10 181 930

[5]

Rushing

Rank Player Team Games Rushes Net Yds Avg Gain
per Play
1 Creighton Miller Notre Dame 10 151 911 6.03
2 Steve Van Buren LSU 8 150 847 5.65
3 Tony Butkovich Purdue 9 142 833 5.87
4 Bill Daley Michigan 9 120 817 6.81
5 Stan Kozlowski Holy Cross 8 161 784 4.87
6 Eddie Bray Illinois 10 117 738 6.31
7 Jim Mello Notre Dame 10 137 704 5.14
8 Ernie Parks Ohio State 9 161 693 4.30
9 Dean Sensanbaugher Ohio State 9 150 677 4.51
10 Joe Kane Penn 9 104 671 6.45

[5]

Passing

Rank Player Team Games Att. Compl. Int. Pct. Compl. Yds.
1 Paul Rickards Pittsburgh 9 178 84 20 .472 997
2 Frank Dancewicz Notre Dame 10 153 68 12 .444 989
3 Cashion Texas A&M 11 113 59 12 .522 852
4 Bob Waterfield UCLA 10 136 55 19 .404 901
5 Al Dekdebrun Cornell 9 121 53 13 .438 648

[6]

See also

References

  1. ^ "October 4, 1943 AP Football Poll". CollegePollArchive.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  2. ^ Scott, Richard (2008). SEC Football: 75 Years of Pride and Passion. MVP Books. p. 58. ISBN 1616731338. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  3. ^ a b W.J. Bingham, ed. (1944). The Official National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Guide including the Official Rules 1944. A.S. Barnes and Company. p. 69.
  4. ^ W.J. Bingham, ed. (1944). The Official National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Guide including the Official Rules 1944. A.S. Barnes and Company. p. 70.
  5. ^ a b W.J. Bingham, ed. (1944). The Official National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Guide including the Official Rules 1944. A.S. Barnes and Company. p. 72.
  6. ^ W.J. Bingham, ed. (1944). The Official National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Guide including the Official Rules 1944. A.S. Barnes and Company. p. 73.