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.
|1923 Illinois Fighting Illini football|
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|Record||8–0 (5–0 Big Ten)|
|Home stadium||Illinois Field|
|1923 Big Ten Conference football standings|
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).
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.
This was the first season for the Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium, where the team plays their home games to this day.
|October 6||Nebraska*||W 24–7|||
|October 13||Butler*||W 21–7|||
|October 20||at Iowa||W 9–6||25,000|||
|October 27||vs. Northwestern||W 29–0||32,000|||
|November 3||Chicago||W 7–0||61,000|||
|November 10||Wisconsin||W 10–0||30,000|||
|November 17||Mississippi A&M*||W 27–0||25,000|||
|November 24||at Ohio State||W 9–0||42,000|||
|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|
- Head Coach: Robert Zuppke (11th year at Illinois)
Awards and honorsEdit
- Halfback Red Grange
- Guard Jim McMillen
- Consensus first-team All-American
- First-team All-Big Ten selection by Brown and Eckersall
- End Frank Rokusek
- Second-team All-American selected by Lawrence Perry
- Second-team All-Big Ten selection by Brown and Eckersall
- Quarterback Harry A. Hall
- Second-team All-Big Ten selection by Eckersall
- Fullback Earl Britton
- Second-team All-Big Ten selection by Brown and third-team selection by Eckersall
- "1923 Illinois Fighting Illini Schedule and Results". S/R College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
- 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.
- "Football Award Winners" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2016. p. 6. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
- "Fighting Illini Football Record Book" (PDF). University of Illinois. 2015. p. 156. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
- "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.
- "Illini Trim Butler: Orange Comes From Behind for 21-7 Win". Decatur Herald. October 14, 1923. p. 9 – via Newspapers.com.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "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.
- "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.
- "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.
- "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.
- 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.