1975 Big Ten Conference football season

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1975 Big Ten Conference football season
SportAmerican football
Number of teams10
Top draft pickMike Pruitt
ChampionOhio State
Runners-upMichigan
Season MVPCornelius Greene
Seasons
← 1974
1976 →
1975 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 4 Ohio State $ 8 0 0     11 1 0
No. 8 Michigan 7 1 0     8 2 2
Michigan State 4 4 0     7 4 0
Illinois 4 4 0     5 6 0
Purdue 4 4 0     4 7 0
Wisconsin 3 4 1     4 6 1
Minnesota 3 5 0     6 5 0
Iowa 3 5 0     3 8 0
Northwestern 2 6 0     3 8 0
Indiana 1 6 1     2 8 1
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1975 Big Ten Conference football season was the 80th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference and was a part of the 1975 NCAA Division I football season.

The 1975 Ohio State Buckeyes football team, under head coach Woody Hayes, compiled an 11–0 record in the regular season, won the Big Ten championship, led the conference in scoring offense (32.0 points per game) and scoring defense (8.5 points allowed per game), and lost to UCLA in the 1976 Rose Bowl. Running back Archie Griffin won the 1975 Heisman Trophy, becoming the only two-time Heisman winner. Quarterback Cornelius Greene won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the Big Ten's most valuable player, and Pete Johnson led the conference with 156 points scored. Griffin, defensive back Tim Fox, and offensive guard Ted Smith were consensus first-team All-Americans.

The 1975 Michigan Wolverines football team, under head coach Bo Schembechler, compiled an 8–2–2 record, finished in second place in the Big Ten, and lost to Oklahoma in the 1976 Orange Bowl. Gordon Bell gained 1,390 rushing yards and was selected as Michigan's most valuable player and a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten player. Defensive back Don Dufek was selected as a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, Football Writers Association of America, Football News, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

The 1975 Michigan State Spartans football team, under head coach Denny Stolz, compiled a 7–4 record and finished in third place in the Big Ten. Charley Baggett led the team with 1,499 total yards, and Levi Jackson gained 1,063 rushing yards and was selected as the team's most valuable player.

Other conference leaders included Minnesota quarterback Tony Dungy with 1,515 passing yards and 1,759 yards of total offense and Purdue wide receiver Scott Yelvington with 686 receiving yards. Wisconsin offensive tackle Dennis Lick was a consensus first-team All-American.

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 Ohio State Woody Hayes #4 #1 11–1 8–0 32.0 8.5 Corn. Greene
2 Michigan Bo Schembechler #8 #1 8–2–2 7–1 27.0 10.8 Gordon Bell
3 (tie) Michigan State Denny Stolz NR #11 7–4 4–4 20.2 15.2 Levi Jackson
3 (tie) Illinois Bob Blackman NR NR 5–6 4–4 20.8 23.6 Stu Levenick
3 (tie) Purdue Alex Agase NR NR 4–7 4–4 11.6 20.0 Mike Pruitt
6 Wisconsin John Jardine NR NR 4–6–1 3–4–1 15.8 24.5 Billy Marek
7 (tie) Minnesota Cal Stoll NR NR 6–5 3–5 21.5 17.5 Tony Dungy
7 (tie) Iowa Bob Commings NR NR 3–8 3–5 16.5 25.4 Andre Jackson
9 Northwestern John Pont NR NR 3–8 2–6 13.5 28.9 Greg Boykin
10 Indiana Lee Corso NR NR 2-8-1 1-6-1 9.5 23.1 Donnie Thomas

Key
AP final = Team's rank in the final AP Poll of the 1975 season[1]
AP high = Team's highest rank in the AP Poll throughout the 1975 season[1]
PPG = Average of points scored per game; conference leader's average displayed in bold[1]
PAG = Average of points allowed per game; conference leader's average displayed in bold[1]
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; trophy winner in bold[2]

Regular season[edit]

September 13[edit]

On September 13, 1975, the Big Ten football teams opened the season with five conference games.

  • Ohio State 21, Michigan State 0. Ohio State (ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll) defeated Michigan State (ranked No. 11), 21–0, before a crowd of 80,383 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. Archie Griffin had 108 rushing yards, and Pete Johnson scored two rushing touchdowns.[3]
  • Michigan 23, Wisconsin 6. Michigan (ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll) defeated Wisconsin, 23–6, before a crowd of 79,022 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. Michigan rushed for 394 yards, including 210 yards by Gordon Bell. True freshman quarterback Rick Leach completed only 2 of 10 passes, including a touchdown pass to Bell, and threw three interceptions. Bob Wood, in his first game for Michigan's varsity, kicked three field goals and kicked two extra points.[4]
  • Illinois 27, Iowa 12.
  • Northwestern 31, Purdue 25.
  • Indiana 20, Minnesota 14.

September 20[edit]

On September 20, 1975, the Big Ten teams played 10 non-conference games.

  • Ohio State 17, Penn State 9. Ohio State (ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll) defeated Penn State, 17-9, before a crowd of 88,093 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes rushed for 332 yards, including 128 yards by Archie Griffin and 112 yards by Pete Johnson. Penn State was held to three Chris Bahr field goals[5]
  • Michigan 19, Stanford 19. Michigan and Stanford played to a 19–19 tie before a crowd of 92,304 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan's Bob Wood kicked four field goals, and its sole touchdown came on 48-yard touchdown pass from Rick Leach to Jim Smith. Stanford quarterback Mike Cordova completed 24 of 44 passes for 285 yards. With 1:36 remaining in the game, Michigan's Bob Wood kicked a 52-yard field goal. Cordova then led a drive to Michigan's two-yard line, and Mike Langford kicked the tying field goal with nine seconds remaining in the game.[6]
  • Michigan State 14, Miami (OH) 13.
  • Minnesota 38, Western Michigan 0.
  • Wisconsin 48, South Dakota 7.
  • Missouri 30, Illinois 20.
  • Notre Dame 17, Purdue 0.
  • Syracuse 10, Iowa 7.
  • Northwestern 10, Northern Illinois 3.
  • Nebraska 45, Indiana 0.

September 27[edit]

On September 27, 1975, the Big Ten teams played 10 non-conference games.

  • Ohio State 32, North Carolina 7.
  • Michigan 14, Baylor 14.
  • Michigan State 37, North Carolina State 15.
  • Minnesota 10, Oregon 7.
  • Texas A&M 43, Illinois 13.
  • USC 19, Purdue 6.
  • Missouri 28, Wisconsin 21.
  • Penn State 30, Iowa 10.
  • Notre Dame 31, Northwestern 7.
  • Indiana 31, Utah 7.

October 4[edit]

On October 4, 1975, the Big Ten teams played 10 non-conference games.

  • Ohio State 41, UCLA 20. Ohio State (ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll) defeated UCLA (ranked No. 13), 41–20, before a crowd of 55,482 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Archie Griffin totaled 160 yards on 21 carries, running his NCAA record for consecutive 100-yard games to 25. Ohio State quarterback Cornelius Greene gained 120 rushing yards, scored two touchdowns, and completed six of nine passes for 98 yards.[7]
  • Michigan 31, Missouri 7. Michigan (ranked No. 12 in the AP Poll) defeated Missouri (ranked No. 5), 31-7, before a crowd of 104,578 at Michigan Stadium. Michigan's backs ran for 372 yards, and the Wolverines led, 31-0, before Missouri was able to score late in the fourth quarter.[8]
  • Michigan State 10, Notre Dame 3. Michigan State defeated Notre Dame (ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll), 10–3, before a crowd of 59,075 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. After a scoreless first half, Michigan State and Notre Dame traded field goals in the second half. Late in the fourth quarter, Michigan State's Tyrone Wilson ran 76 yards to the Notre Dame four-yard line to set up a short touchdown run by Levi Jackson.[9]
  • Minnesota 21, Ohio 0.
  • Illinois 27, Washington State 21.
  • Miami (OH) 14, Purdue 3.
  • Kansas 41, Wisconsin 7.
  • USC 27, Iowa 16.
  • Arizona 41, Northwestern 6.
  • North Carolina State 27, Indiana 0.

October 11[edit]

On October 11, 1975, the Big Ten teams played five conference games.

  • Ohio State 49, Iowa 0.
  • Michigan 16, Michigan State 6. Michigan (ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll) defeated Michigan State (ranked No. 15), 16-6, before a crowd of 79,776 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. Through the first three quarters, the teams traded field goals, and the game was tied at 6-6. Michigan then scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. The game's only touchdown was scored on an 18-yard run by Gordon Bell. Rob Lytle was the game's leading gainer with 111 rushing yards on 20 carries.[10]
  • Illinois 42, Minnesota 23.
  • Wisconsin 17, Purdue 14.
  • Northwestern 30, Indiana 0.

October 18[edit]

On October 18, 1975, the Big Ten teams played five conference games.

  • Ohio State 56, Wisconsin 0.
  • Michigan 69, Northwestern 0. Michigan defeated Northwestern, 69–0, before a crowd of 86,201 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Despite playing its third string through most of the second half, Michigan's offense continued to score. Michigan tied a Big Ten record with 573 rushing yards with three backs exceeding 100 yards in the game: Harlan Huckleby (157); Rob Lytle (105); and Gordon Bell (100).[11]
  • Michigan State 38, Minnesota 15.
  • Purdue 26, Illinois 24.
  • Iowa 20, Indiana 10.

October 25[edit]

On October 25, 1975, the Big Ten teams played five conference games.

  • Ohio State 35, Purdue 6.
  • Michigan 55, Indiana 7.
  • Illinois 21, Michigan State 19.
  • Wisconsin 17, Northwestern 14.
  • Minnesota 31, Iowa 7.

November 1[edit]

On November 1, 1975, the Big Ten teams played five conference games.

  • Ohio State 24, Indiana 14.
  • Michigan 28, Minnesota 21.
  • Purdue 20, Michigan State 10.
  • Wisconsin 18, Illinois 9.
  • Iowa 24, Northwestern 21.

November 8[edit]

On November 8, 1975, the Big Ten teams played five conference games.

  • Ohio State 40, Illinois 3.
  • Michigan 28, Purdue 0.
  • Michigan State 14, Indiana 6.
  • Iowa 45, Purdue 28.
  • Minnesota 33, Northwestern 9.

November 15[edit]

On November 15, 1975, the Big Ten teams played five conference games.

  • Ohio State 38, Minnesota 6.
  • Michigan 21, Illinois 15.
  • Michigan State 47, Northwestern 14.
  • Purdue 19, Iowa 18.
  • Indiana 9, Wisconsin 9.

November 22[edit]

On November 22, 1975, the Big Ten teams played five conference games.

  • Ohio State 21, Michigan 14. Ohio State (ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll) defeated Michigan (ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll), 21-14, before an NCAA record crowd of 105,543 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[12] Ohio State scored on a seven-yard pass from Cornelius Greene to Pete Johnson in the first quarter. From that point until midway through the fourth quarter, Michigan's defense held Ohio State to only one first down. Michigan tied the game at 7-7 in the second quarter on a trick play with running back Gordon Bell throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jim Smith. Michigan took a 14-7 lead in the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by freshman quarterback Rick Leach. With 3:30 left in the game, Pete Johnson ran one yard for a touchdown to tie the game. Needing a victory to advance to the Rose Bowl, Michigan quarterback threw deep from his end zone on third down, and his pass was intercepted by Ray Griffin (Archie's brother) who returned the ball 29 yards to Michigan's three-yard line. Pete Johnson ran for a touchdown (his third of the game) on the next play. Michigan's defense held Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin to 46 yards on 19 carries. Michigan's running backs Gordon Bell and Rob Lytle rushed for 124 and 104 yards, respectively.[13] After the game, Woody Hayes called it "the best comeback I've seen since I've been a coach."[14]
  • Michigan State 27, Iowa 23.
  • Illinois 28, Northwestern 7.
  • Purdue 9, Indiana 7.
  • Minnesota 24, Wisconsin 3.

Bowl games[edit]

1976 Rose Bowl[edit]

On January 1, 1976, Dick Vermeil's UCLA Bruins (ranked No. 11 in the AP Poll) defeated Ohio State (ranked No. 1), 23–10, before a crowd of 105,464 in the 1976 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Ohio State had defeated UCLA, 41–20, in the regular season and came into the game as a 14-point favorite. Ohio State led, 3-0, at halftime, but Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin fractured a bone in his left hand on the third play of the game. UCLA rallied with 23 points in the second half. UCLA quarterback John Sciarra threw two touchdown passes to Wally Henry covering 16 and 67 yards. Ohio State cut the lead to 16-10 early in the fourth quarter, but Ohio State quarterback then threw two costly interceptions. Late in the game, UCLA's Wendell Tyler ran 54 yards for a touchdown; Tyler finished the game with 155 rushing yards.[15]

1976 Orange Bowl[edit]

On January 1, 1976, Oklahoma (ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll) defeated Michigan (ranked No. 5), 14–6, before a crowd of 80,307 in the 1976 Orange Bowl in Miami. Oklahoma took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 39-yard end-around touchdown run by split end Billy Brooks. In the fourth quarter, Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis ran 11 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 14-0. Midway through the fourth quarter, Michigan linebacker Dave Devich recovered an Oklahoma fumble at the Sooners' two-yard line. Gordon Bell then ran two yards for a touchdown to narrow Oklahoma's lead to 14-6. An attempted two-point conversion failed when Rick Leach was stopped short of the goal line.[16] With its victory over Michigan, Oklahoma rose to No. 1 in the final AP and UPI polls and was the consensus national champion.

Statistical leaders[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

All-Big Ten honors[edit]

The following players were picked by the Associated Press (AP) and/or the United Press International (UPI) as first-team players on the 1975 All-Big Ten Conference football team.

Offense

Position Name Team Selectors
Quarterback Cornelius Greene Ohio State AP, UPI
Running back Gordon Bell Michigan AP, UPI
Running back Archie Griffin Ohio State AP, UPI
Running back Billy Marek Wisconsin AP
Running back Pete Johnson Ohio State UPI
Wide receiver Jim Smith Michigan AP, UPI
Tight end Joe Smalzer Illinois AP
Tight end Mike Cobb Michigan State UPI
Center Paul Jasinskis Northwestern AP
Center Jim Czirr Michigan UPI
Guard Terry Stieve Wisconsin AP, UPI
Guard Ted Smith Ohio State AP
Guard Joe Devlin Iowa UPI
Tackle Scott Dannelley Ohio State AP
Tackle Rod Walters Iowa AP
Tackle Dennis Lick Wisconsin UPI
Tackle Chris Ward Ohio State UPI

Defense

Position Name Team Selectors
Defensive end Dan Jilek Michigan AP, UPI
Defensive end Bob Brudzinski Ohio State UPI
Defensive tackle Nick Buonamici Ohio State AP, UPI
Defensive tackle Keith Simons Minnesota AP
Defensive tackle Greg Morton Michigan UPI
Nose guard Tim Davis Michigan AP, UPI
Linebacker Donnie Thomas Indiana AP, UPI
Linebacker Ed Thompson Ohio State AP
Linebacker Blane Smith Purdue AP
Linebacker Calvin O'Neal Michigan UPI
Defensive back Don Dufek Michigan AP [linebacker], UPI
Defensive back Tim Fox Ohio State AP, UPI
Defensive back Tom Hannon Michigan State AP, UPI
Defensive back Pete Shaw Northwestern AP, UPI

All-American honors[edit]

At the end of the 1975 season, Big Ten players secured four of the consensus first-team picks for the 1975 College Football All-America Team.[17] The Big Ten's consensus All-Americans were:

Position Name Team Selectors
Running back Archie Griffin Ohio State AFCA, AP, UPI, FN, NEA, TSN, Time, WCFF
Defensive back Tim Fox Ohio State AFCA, FWAA, UPI, NEA, TSN, Time, WCFF
Offensive tackle Dennis Lick Wisconsin AFCA, UPI, NEA, TSN, Time, WCFF
Offensive guard Ted Smith Ohio State AP, FWAA, FN, NEA

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

Position Name Team Selectors
Defensive back Don Dufek Michigan AFCA, FWAA, FN, WCFF
Offensive tackle Rod Walters Iowa NEA [guard], TSN, Time
Defensive tackle Ken Novak Purdue FWAA, TSN, Time
Offensive guard Joe Devlin Iowa TSN, Time
Punter Tom Skladany Ohio State FWAA, FN
Quarterback Cornelius Greene Ohio State FN

Other awards[edit]

Ohio State running back Archie Griffin won the 1975 Heisman Trophy. Michigan running back Gordon Bell finished eighth in the Heisman voting.[18]

Ohio State's Woody Hayes was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.[1]

1976 NFL Draft[edit]

The 1976 NFL Draft was held in New York on April 8–9, 1976.[19] The following players were among the first 100 picks:[20]

Name Position Team Round Overall pick
Mike Pruitt Running back Purdue 1 7
Dennis Lick Offensive tackle Wisconsin 1 8
Wayne Walters Guard Iowa 1 14
Ken Novak Defensive tackle Purdue 1 20
Tim Fox Safety Ohio State 1 21
Archie Griffin Running back Ohio State 1 24
Jim Jensen Running Back Iowa 2 40
Ken Long Guard Purdue 2 44
Joe Devlin Tackle Iowa 2 52
Keith Simons Defensive tackle Minnesota 3 63
Brian Baschnagel Wide receiver Ohio State 3 66

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "1975 Big Ten Conference Year Summary". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  2. ^ Roy Damer (December 25, 1975). "Buckeyes' Greene wins Big 10 MVP: Bell is runner-up". Chicago Tribune. p. 6-1.
  3. ^ "Buckeyes Slap Down Spartans, 21-0". Detroit Free Press. September 14, 1975. pp. 1E, 4E.
  4. ^ Curt Sylvester (September 14, 1975). "U-M Chills Badgers, 23-6". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1E, 4E.
  5. ^ "Ohio State bags persistent Lions". The Akron Beacon Journal. September 21, 1975. pp. B1, B8.
  6. ^ Curt Sylvester (September 21, 1975). "Late Field Goal Ties U-M, 19-19; Stanford's Passing Is Deadly". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1E, 4E.
  7. ^ Mal Florence (October 5, 1975). "UCLA Is Outnumbered by No. 1, 41-20: After One Slip, Ohio State Has Control". Los Angeles Times. pp. III-1, III-11.
  8. ^ "U-M Stuns Fifth-Ranked Missouri, 31-7". Detroit Free Press. October 5, 1975. pp. 1E, 4E.
  9. ^ Charlie Vincent (October 5, 1975). "Spartans Hand Irish a 10-3 Shock". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1E, 4E.
  10. ^ Charlie Vincent (October 12, 1975). "U-M Rolls in Fourth Quarter To Turn Back MSU, 16-6". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1C, 7C.
  11. ^ "It's No Contest . . . Wolverines Smash N'Western, 69-0". Detroit Free Press. October 19, 1975. pp. 1E, 4E.
  12. ^ "Wolverines Pack In A Record 105,543". Detroit Free Press. November 23, 1975. p. 4E.
  13. ^ Curt Sylvester (November 23, 1975). "So Near Yet . . . Bucks' Whirlwind Finish Beats U-M to Roses, 21-14". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1E, 4E.
  14. ^ Joe Falls (November 23, 1975). "'Greatest Comeback Since I've Been a Coach' -- Woody". Detroit Free Press. p. 4E.
  15. ^ Mal Florence (January 2, 1976). "UCLA Makes History Again, 23-10: Bruins Upset Another No. 1 Team in Rose Bowl". Los Angeles Times. p. III-1, III-5.
  16. ^ Curt Sylvester (January 2, 1976). "Sooners Beat U-M, 14-6, Stake Claim to No. 1". Detroit Free Press. pp. 1D, 3D.
  17. ^ "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. pp. 5–6. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  18. ^ "1975 Heisman Trophy Voting". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  19. ^ "NFL Draft Locations". FootballGeography.com. October 2, 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  20. ^ "1976 NFL Draft: Full Draft". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved February 24, 2017.