1941 Big Ten Conference football season

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1941 Big Ten Conference football season
SportFootball
Number of teams9
Top draft pickBob Westfall
ChampionMinnesota
Season MVPJack Graf
Football seasons
← 1940
1942 →
1941 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 1 Minnesota $ 5 0 0     8 0 0
No. 5 Michigan 3 1 1     6 1 1
No. 13 Ohio State 3 1 1     6 1 1
No. 11 Northwestern 4 2 0     5 3 0
Wisconsin 3 3 0     3 5 0
Iowa 2 4 0     3 5 0
Purdue 1 3 0     2 5 1
Indiana 1 3 0     2 6 0
Illinois 0 5 0     2 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1941 Big Ten Conference football season was the 46th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1941 college football season.

The 1941 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team, led by head coach Bernie Bierman, compiled a perfect 8–0 record, led the conference in both scoring offense and scoring defense, was ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll, and won the program's second consecutive national championship. Halfback Bruce Smith was a consensus All-American and won the 1941 Heisman Trophy. Tackle Dick Wildung was also a consensus first-team All-American.

Michigan, under head coach Fritz Crisler, compiled a 6–1–1 record, outscored opponents 147 to 41, and was ranked No. 5 in the final AP Poll. Fullback Bob Westfall was selected as a consensus first-team player on the 1941 College Football All-America Team. In addition to Westfall, two other Michigan players received first-team honors on the 1941 All-Big Ten Conference football team: center Robert Ingalls and tackle Al Wistert.

Ohio State, under head coach Paul Brown, compiled a 6–1–1 record, outscored opponents 167 to 110, and was ranked No. 13 in the final AP Poll. In the Chicago Tribune's poll of coaches, officials and experts, Ohio State fullback Jack Graf was selected as the Big Ten's most valuable player.[1]

Northwestern lost to three top 10 teams (Minnesota, Michigan, and Notre Dame) and was ranked No. 11 in the final AP Poll. Two Northwestern players received first-team honors on the All-Big Ten team: tackle Alf Bauman and end Bob Motl. The team also featured halfback Otto Graham who was later inducted into the Pro and College Football Halls of Fame.

Season overview[edit]

Results and team statistics[edit]

Conf. Rank Team Head coach AP final AP high Overall record Conf. record PPG PAG MVP
1 Minnesota Bernie Bierman #1 #1 8–0 5–0 23.3 4.8 Bob Sweiger
2 (tie) Michigan Fritz Crisler #5 #3 6–1–1 3–1–1 18.4 5.1 Reuben Kelto
2 (tie) Ohio State Paul Brown #13 #10 6–1–1 3–1–1 20.0 13.8 Jack Graf
4 Northwestern Pappy Waldorf #11 #5 5–3 4–2 21.6 8.4 Alf Bauman
5 Wisconsin Harry Stuhldreher NR NR 3–5 3–3 18.0 26.0 Pat Harder
6 Iowa Eddie Anderson NR NR 3–5 2–4 11.4 12.4 Bill Diehl
7 (tie) Purdue Allen Elward NR NR 2–5–1 1–3 3.4 7.8 Bill Combs
7 (tie) Indiana Bo McMillin NR NR 2–6 1–3 12.6 15.8 Billy Hillenbrand
9 Illinois Robert Zuppke NR NR 2–6 0–5 14.0 20.4 Nathan Johnson

Key
PPG = Average of points scored per game[2]
PAG = Average of points allowed per game[2]
MVP = Most valuable player as voted by players on each team as part of the voting process to determine the winner of the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy

Regular season[edit]

Index to colors and formatting
Non-conference matchup; Big Ten member won
Non-conference matchup; Big Ten member lost
Conference matchup
Winning teams displayed in bold
Result column from perspective of Big Ten school for non-conference
games, from perspective of winning team for conference games

September 27[edit]

Six conference teams opened their seasons on September 27, playing six games against non-conference opponents, resulting in four wins and two losses. Northwestern, Wisconsin and Illinois did not play.

Date Home team Visiting team Site Result Attendance Source
September 27 Washington Minnesota Husky Stadium, Seattle, WA W 14–6 43,000 [3]
September 27 Michigan Michigan State Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI W 19–7 67,079 [4]
September 27 Ohio State Missouri Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH W 12–7 49,671 [5]
September 27 Iowa Drake Iowa Stadium, Iowa City, IA W 25–8 20,000 [6]
September 27 Purdue Vanderbilt Ross–Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN L 0–3 17,000 [7]
September 27 Indiana Detroit Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN L 7–14 10,000 [8]

October 4[edit]

Eight conference teams played games on October 4, consisting of one conference matchup and six non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in four wins and two losses. Minnesota did not play.

Date Home team Visiting team Site Result Attendance Source
October 4 Michigan Iowa Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI W 6–0 29,807 [9]
October 4 USC Ohio State Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA W 33–0 65,000 [10]
October 4 Northwestern Kansas State Dyche Stadium, Evanston, IL W 51–3 40,000 [11]
October 4 Wisconsin Marquette Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI L 7-28 40,000 [12]
October 4 Pittsburgh Purdue Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA W 6-0 24,000 [13]
October 4 Notre Dame Indiana Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN L 6-19 42,000 [14]
October 4 Illinois Miami (OH) Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL W 45-0 20,585 [15]

October 11[edit]

Six conference teams played games on October 11, consisting of two conference matchups and two non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in a win and a loss. Ohio State, Iowa, and Purdue did not play. After three weeks, Big Ten teams had compiled a non-conference record of 9–4.

Date Home team Visiting team Site Result Attendance Source
October 11 Minnesota Illinois Memorial Stadium, Minneapolis, MN W 34–6 50,435 [16]
October 11 Michigan Pittsburgh Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI W 40–0 34,403 [17]
October 11 Northwestern Wisconsin Dyche Stadium, Evanston, IL W 41–14 40,000 [18]
October 11 Indiana TCU Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN L 14–20 24,000 [19]

October 18[edit]

All nine conference teams saw action on October 18, consisting of three conference games and three non-conference games. In the week's biggest matchup, No. 6 Michigan defeated No. 5 Northwestern. The non-conference games resulted in three wins. After four weeks, Big Ten teams had compiled a non-conference record of 12–4.

Date Home team Visiting team Site Result Attendance Source
October 18 No. 1 Minnesota Pittsburgh Memorial Stadium, Minneapolis, MN W 39–0 35,000 [20]
October 18 No. 5 Northwestern No. 6 Michigan Dyche Stadium, Evanston, IL W 14-7 47,000 [21][22]
October 18 No. 10 Ohio State Purdue Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH W 16–14 66,074 [23]
October 18 Wisconsin Iowa Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI W 23–0 20,000 [24]
October 18 No. 15 Nebraska Indiana Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE W 21–13 33,000 [25]
October 18 Illinois Drake Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL W 40–0 12,000 [26]

October 25[edit]

All nine conference teams saw action on October 25, consisting of four conference games and one non-conference game. In the week's biggest matchups, No. 1 Minnesota defeated No. 3 Michigan, and No. 13 Northwestern defeated No. 11 Ohio State. The non-conference game resulted in three wins. After five weeks, Big Ten teams had compiled a non-conference record of 12–5.

Date Home team Visiting team Site Result Attendance Source
October 25 No. 3 Michigan No. 1 Minnesota Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI W 7–0 85,753 [27]
October 25 No. 11 Ohio State No. 13 Northwestern Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH W 14–7 71,896 [28]
October 25 Wisconsin Indiana Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI W 27–25 33,000 [29]
October 25 Purdue Iowa Ross–Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN W 7–6 22,000 [30]
October 25 No. 7 Notre Dame Illinois Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN L 14–49 45,000 [31]

November 1[edit]

All nine conference teams saw action on November 1, consisting of three conference games and three non-conference games. In the week's biggest matchup, No. 1 Minnesota defeated No. 9 Northwestern. The non-conference games resulted in one win and two losses. After six weeks, Big Ten teams had compiled a non-conference record of 13–7.

Date Home team Visiting team Site Result Attendance Source
November 1 No. 1 Minnesota No. 9 Northwestern Memorial Stadium, Minneapolis, MN W 8–7 64,464 [32]
November 1 Illinois No. 7 Michigan Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL W 20–0 30,101 [33][34]
November 1 Pittsburgh Ohio State Pitt Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA W 21–14 50,000 [35]
November 1 Wisconsin Syracuse Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI L 20–27 19,000 [36]
November 1 Iowa Indiana Iowa Stadium, Iowa City, IA W 13–7 28,000 [37]
November 1 No. 3 Fordham Purdue Polo Grounds, New York, NY L 0–17 20,500 [38]

November 8[edit]

Eight conference teams played games on November 8, consisting of three conference games and two non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in a win and a tie. After seven weeks, Big Ten teams had compiled a non-conference record of 14–7–1. Michigan did not play.

Date Home team Visiting team Site Result Attendance Source
November 8 No. 2 Minnesota Nebraska Memorial Stadium, Minneapolis, MN W 9–0 42,893 [39]
November 8 No. 20 Ohio State Wisconsin Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH W 46–34 58,519 [40]
November 8 No. 10 Northwestern Indiana Dyche Stadium, Evanston, IL W 20–14 35,000 [41]
November 8 Illinois Iowa Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL W 21–0 14,339 [42]
November 8 Purdue Michigan State Ross–Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN T 0–0 17,000 [43]

November 15[edit]

Eight conference teams played games on November 15, consisting of three conference games and two non-conference games. The non-conference games resulted in a win and a loss. In the week's biggest matchup, No. 5 Notre Dame defeated No. 8 Northwestern. After eight weeks, Big Ten teams had compiled a non-conference record of 15–8–1. Indiana did not play.

Date Home team Visiting team Site Result Attendance Source
November 15 Iowa No. 1 Minnesota Iowa Stadium, Iowa City, IA (rivalry) W 34–13 43,200 [44]
November 15 Columbia No. 7 Michigan Baker Field, New York, NY W 28–0 35,000 [45]
November 15 No. 20 Ohio State Illinois Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH (Illibuck Trophy) W 12–7 41,544 [46]
November 1 No. 8 Northwestern No. 5 Notre Dame Dyche Stadium, Evanston, IL (rivalry) L 6–7 48,000 [47]
November 15 Wisconsin Purdue Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI W 13–0 25,000 [48]

November 22[edit]

All nine conference teams played games on November 22, consisting of four conference games and one non-conference game. In the week's biggest matchup, No. 7 Michigan played No. 14 Ohio State to a 20–20 tie. The non-conference game resulted in a loss. Big Ten teams finished the season with a non-conference record of 15–9–1.

Date Home team Visiting team Site Result Attendance Source
November 22 No. 1 Minnesota Wisconsin Memorial Stadium, Minneapolis, MN (Slab of Bacon) W 41–6 52,984 [49]
November 22 No. 7 Michigan No. 14 Ohio State Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI (rivalry) T 20–20 85,753 [50]
November 22 No. 10 Northwestern Illinois Dyche Stadium, Evanston, IL (rivalry) W 27–0 5,000 [51]
November 1 Nebraska Iowa Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE (rivalry) L 13–14 20,000 [52]
November 22 Indiana Purdue Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN (Old Oaken Bucket) W 7–0 23,000 [53]

Bowl games[edit]

During the 1941 season, the Big Ten maintained its long-standing ban on postseason games. Accordingly, no Big Ten teams participated in any bowl games.

All-Big Ten players[edit]

The following players were picked by the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP), and/or the International News Service (INS) as first-team players on the 1941 All-Big Ten Conference football team.[54][55][56]

All-Americans[edit]

At the end of the 1941 season, Big Ten players secured three of the 12 consensus first-team picks for the 1941 College Football All-America Team.[57] The Big Ten's consensus All-Americans were:

  • Dick Wildung, tackle, Minnesota (AAB, AP, INS, LIB, NEA, NW, SN, UP, CP, LIFE, PARA, WC)
  • Bruce Smith, halfback, Minnesota (AAB, AP, CO, INS, NW, SN, UP, CP, NYS, LIFE, PARA, WC, LIFE)
  • Bob Westfall, fullback, Michigan (AAB, CO, INS, LIB, NEA, NW, SN, UP, CP, NYS, PARA, WC)

Other Big Ten players who were named first-team All-Americans by at least one selector were:

1942 NFL Draft[edit]

Two Big Ten players, Bob Westfall and Urban Odson, were selected in the first round of the 1942 NFL Draft. In all, 26 players from Big Ten football teams were selected in the 1942 NFL Draft, as follows:[58]

Name Position Team Round Overall pick
Bob Westfall Fullback Michigan 1 5
Urban Odson Tackle Minnesota 1 9
Alf Bauman Tackle Northwestern 2 15
Bob Sweiger Back Minnesota 3 23
Len Levy Guard Minnesota 4 27
Gordon Paschka Guard Minnesota 4 28
Bill Green Back Iowa 5 39
Italo Rossi Tackle Purdue 7 52
Bob Fitch End Minnesota 7 56
Joe Rogers End Michigan 8 59
John Petty Back Purdue 9 80
Jud Ringer End Minnesota 10 84
Bill Diehl Center Iowa 10 85
Gene Flick Center Minnesota 10 89
Tom Farris Back Wisconsin 11 99
Jim Daniell Tackle Ohio State 12 110
Bruce Smith Back Minnesota 13 119
Bill DeCorrevont Back Northwestern 14 126
Jim Trimble Tackle Indiana 15 139
Tom Kinkade Back Ohio State 16 149
Don Clawson Back Northwestern 17 152
Dick Fisher Back Ohio State 17 155
Jack Graf Back Ohio State 18 162
Robert Ingalls Center Michigan 18 169
George Benson Back Northwestern 19 179
Al Couppee Back Iowa 22 196

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Graf Wins Big Ten's "Most Valuable" Poll". The Cedar Rapids Gazette. December 14, 1941. p. 13 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b "1941 Big Ten Conference Year Summary". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Charles Johnson (September 28, 1941). "Smith and Daley Star as Gophers Rip Huskies, 14-6: Halfback Scoots to 2 Scores". Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal. pp. Sports 1–2 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ John N. Sabo (September 28, 1941). "U-M Beats State, 19-7; Titans Win". Detroit Free Press. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Coach Brown's Ohio State Eleven Triumphs". The Sandusky Register-Star-News. September 28, 1941. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Bert McGrane (September 28, 1941). "Iowa Overpowers Drake, 25-8: Mertes Leads Late Old Gold Power Attack". The Des Moines Register. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Vanderbilt Wins With Field Goal". The Indianapolis Star. September 28, 1941. p. 37 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ W.W. Edgar (September 28, 1941). "Long Pass in Final Period Gives Titans Victory, 14 to 7". Detroit Free Press. pp. Sports 1, 3 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ John N. Sabo (October 5, 1941). "Kuzma Only Bright Spot as Michigan Defeats Iowa, 6 to 0". Detroit Free Press. pp. Sports 1, 5 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Paul Lowry (October 5, 1941). "Ohio State Roars Over Trojans, 33-0". Los Angeles Times. p. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Edward Burns (October 5, 1941). "Wildcats Rout Kansas State Eleven, 51 To 3". Chicago Tribune. p. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Hank Casserly (October 5, 1941). "40,000 Watch Hilltoppers Stun Wisconsin, 28 to 7". The Capital Times. p. Sports 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Chester L. Smith (October 5, 1941). "Panthers Drop Opening Game To Boilermakers, 6-0: Petty Hits Tackle For Purdue Score". The Pittsburgh Press. p. III-7 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ Wilfrid Smith (October 5, 1941). "Irish Have Too Many Backs For Indiana, 19 to 6". Chicago Tribune. p. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "Illinois Wins Opener; Beats Miami U., 45 to 0". Chicago Tribune. October 5, 1941. p. II-2 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ Charles Johnson (October 12, 1941). "Gophers Crush Illini, 34-6: Minnesota Tallies 4 Times in First Half". Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal. pp. Sports 1–2 – via Newspapers.com.
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  18. ^ Arch Ward (October 12, 1941). "Wildcats Roll Over in 2d Half, 41-14". Chicago Tribune. p. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ W. Blaine Patton (October 12, 1941). "Texas Christian Triumphs Over Indiana, 20-14: Frogs Clinch Victory With Seconds Left". The Indianapolis Star. p. 37 – via Newspapers.com.
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  21. ^ Wilfrid Smith (November 2, 1941). "Michigan Passes Beat Northwestern, 14-7: Kuzma Tosses Twice to Score for Wolverine; Fraumann, Rogers Cross Goal". Chicago Tribune – via Newspapers.com.
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  23. ^ Si Burick (October 19, 1941). "16-Point Lead Barely Holds Up For Bucks". Dayton Daily News. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ Henry J. McCormick (October 19, 1941). "Smashing Badgers Rout Iowa, 23-0". Wisconsin State Journal. p. 19 – via Newspapers.com.
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  26. ^ Charles Bartlett (October 19, 1941). "Illinois Whips Drake, 40 to 0; Griffin Stars". Chicago Tribune. p. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ John N. Sabo (October 26, 1941). "Minnesota Edges Out Michigan on Second-Period Score, 7 to 0, as Crowd of 85,753 Looks On". Detroit Free Press. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ Wilfrid Smith (October 26, 1941). "Wildcats Beat Ohio State On Passes, 14 to 7: Otto Graham Pitches for 2 Touchdowns". Chicago Tribune. p. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ Henry J. McCormick (October 26, 1941). "Badgers Outroar Indiana, 27-25". Wisconsin State Journal. p. 9 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ W. Blaine Patton (October 26, 1941). "Boilermakers Shade Iowa: Take Home-Coming Tilt by 7-to-6 Score". The Indianapolis Star. p. 37 – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ Edward Burns (October 26, 1941). "Irish Run Up 28 Points in Last Quarter To Rout Illinois, 49-14". Chicago Tribune. pp. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  32. ^ Charles Johnson (November 2, 1941). "Gophers Cage Wildcats, 8-7". Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal. pp. Sports 1, 3 – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ Edward Burns (November 2, 1941). "Westfall and Kuzma Score for Michigan in Battle of Fumbles". Chicago Tribune.
  34. ^ "Michigan Downs Illinois, 20 to 0; 30,000 See Westfall Pace the Wolverines to Smashing Conference Victory". The New York Times. November 2, 1941.
  35. ^ Chester L. Smith (November 2, 1941). "Pitt Loses, 21-14: Jones, Fife Star Before 50,000 Fans". The Pittsburgh Press. p. 41 – via Newspapers.com.
  36. ^ Henry J. McCormick (November 2, 1941). "Syracuse Razzle-Dazzles Badgers, 27-20". Wisconsin State Journal. p. 17 – via Newspapers.com.
  37. ^ Bert McGrane (November 2, 1941). "Iowa Turns On Indiana, 13-7: Green Score Twice". The Des Moines Register – via Newspapers.com.
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  42. ^ Charles Bartlett (November 9, 1941). "Dad's Day Becomes Farmer's Day As Iowa Routs Illinois, 21 to 0". Chicago Tribune. p. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  43. ^ Harold Harrison (November 9, 1941). "Purdue In 0-0 Tie: Boilermaker Threats Fail". The Muncie Sunday Star. p. Sports 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  44. ^ Bert McGrane (November 16, 1941). "Minnesota Mauls Iowa, 34-13". The Des Moines Register. p. Sports 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  45. ^ "Michigan Whips Columbia, 28-0: Attack Led by Westfall and Kuzma". Detroit Free Press. November 16, 1941. pp. Sports 1–2 – via Newspapers.com.
  46. ^ Arch Ward (November 16, 1941). "Buckeyes Use Long Pass, Hard Plunges To Beat Illinois, 12-7". Chicago Tribune. p. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  47. ^ Edward Burns (November 16, 1941). "Notre Dame Wins, 7 to 6; Blocks N.U.'s Kick: Strategic Play Blocks N.U.'s Extra Point Kick, Wins for Irish". Chicago Tribune. p. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  48. ^ Henry J. McCormick (November 16, 1941). "Last Period Badger Spurt Tips Purdue, 13-0". Wisconsin State Journal. p. 19 – via Newspapers.com.
  49. ^ Charles Johnson (November 23, 1941). "Gophers Tip Badgers, 41-6, Win Big Ten, U.S. Titles: Smith Heroic in Last Game". Minneapolis Sunday Tribune and Star Journal. pp. Sports 1–2 – via Newspapers.com.
  50. ^ John N. Sabo (November 23, 1941). "OSU Battles Wolverines to 20-20 Tie". Detroit Free Press. p. 1.
  51. ^ Irving Vaughan (November 23, 1941). "Northwestern Whips Illinois, 27-0: DeCorrevont's 3 Touchdowns Lead Wildcats". Chicago Tribune. p. II-1 – via Newspapers.com.
  52. ^ John Bentley (November 23, 1941). "Huskers end victory drouth, 14 to 13!". Sunday Journal and Star. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com.
  53. ^ W. Blaine Patton (November 23, 1941). "Indiana Beats Purdue: Takes Bitter Bucket Tilt By 7-0 Score". The Indianapolis Star. pp. 41–42 – via Newspapers.com.
  54. ^ Earl Hilligan (November 24, 1941). "Big Ten Coaches Announce 1941 All-Star Football Team Selections". Evening Huronite. p. Sports 1 – via Newspapers.com.
  55. ^ Steve Snider (November 22, 1941). "Ohio State Fails To Place Player On Big 9 Honor Roll". The Dayton Herald. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
  56. ^ "Three Sophs On Western Conference Team". Daily Dispatch. November 25, 1941. p. 14 – via Newspapers.com.
  57. ^ "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. pp. 5–6. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  58. ^ "1942 NFL Draft: Full Draft". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved October 9, 2019.