SI Vault
James Atwater
November 05, 1956
It was, perhaps, almost too melodramatic. There was husky Abe Woodson, the high hurdler who just missed the Olympic squad, rocketing down the field in the last period with what could be the winning touchdown for downtrodden Illinois against mighty Michigan State. And there was the last enemy defender driving hard and low for the game-saving tackle at midfield.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
November 05, 1956

In The Midwest: Illinois Hurdles Over State

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

Both Iowa and Minnesota are also fighting for the Big Ten championship, of course, but a lot of smart money is backing Ohio State, a team that generally gets better as the season goes on—and is plenty good right now. By crushing Wisconsin last Saturday 20-0, OSU won its 15th straight league game, thereby tying a league record. OSU must play four more league games, including Iowa and Michigan, but looks strong enough to take them all and accomplish something no other Big Ten team has ever done: win three championships in a row. Michigan State could easily win its three remaining conference games, including its meeting with Minnesota, but can catch OSU only if Coach Woody Hayes's behemoths come a cropper.

In short, the Big Ten has three excellent teams—Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan State—and three very good ones, Michigan, Iowa and Illinois. The question of what they will do to each other for the rest of the season both confounds and delights any midwestern football fan. He is certain of only one thing: in the last half of the season the best football in the country will be played in his backyard.

Play went according to form for the most part in the smaller midwestern conferences. Miami of Ohio and Bowling Green stayed undefeated in the Mid-American race, Miami beating Kent State 14-0 and Bowling Green turning back Marshall 34-12. St. Joseph's clinched at least a tie for the Indiana Collegiate Conference title as Norb Daigle made 111 yards in 17 carries and Ray Anary got 108 in 11 for a 29-0 blanking of Evansville. Cornell College of Iowa celebrated its 66th homecoming 28-13 over Grinnell in the Midwest Conference race, which is led by Carleton, 19-0 victor over Lawrence. Bill Engelhardt, entering the game as the national small-college total-offense leader, threw touchdown passes of 35 yards to John Semino and nine yards to Bob Wheeler as Omaha beat Northern Illinois 12-0 in a non-conference clash, and Cincinnati lengthened Marquette's losing streak 33 to 13.

1 2