SI Vault
September 23, 1957
HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS: Three and possibly four teams from this conference should finish the season with top national ratings. No conference in the country can present such heavily talented squads as Michigan State, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan.
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September 23, 1957

The Big Ten

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1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 28 Texas Christian (no game)
OCT. 5 at Washington (no game)
OCT. 12 Illinois (26-6)
OCT. 19 Indiana (35-14)
OCT. 26 at Wisconsin (21-0)
NOV. 2 Northwestern (6-2)
NOV. 9 Purdue (no game)
NOV. 16 Iowa (0-6)
NOV. 23 at Michigan (0-19)

Lafayette, Ind.

COLORS: Gold and black
1956 RECORD: Won 3, lost 4, tied 2
WATCH FOR: Less passing, stronger ground game built around Mel Dillard

THE DOPE: The Boilermakers will miss Lennie Dawson, who was the first player in history to lead the Big Ten in both total offense and passing for three straight years. But instead of sitting around dreaming about the good old days, practical Coach Jack Mollenkopf has taken inventory and changed his merchandising procedures accordingly. Purdue, he says, will be a ground team, and the reasons are obvious. Returning to the lineup will be Purdue's four leading ground-gainers, headed by slashing Co-captain Mel Dillard, the fullback who led the Big Ten in rushing with 873 yards in 193 carries. Mollenkopf feels the 1957 version of the Boilermakers "could be better than last fall," but a great deal will depend on development of sophomores, particularly at quarterback, end and guard. The tackle spots, manned by hulking Wayne Farmer and Nick Mumley, will be strong, as will center with Co-captain Neil Habig. Ross Fichtner, a sophomore, is a top candidate for quarterback. He was voted most valuable player on last year's frosh squad. If Fichtner reaches his potential sooner than expected and if Mollenkopf can find some ends, Purdue could be a galloping dark horse.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 28 Notre Dame (28-14)
OCT. 5 at Minnesota (14-21)
OCT. 12 Wisconsin (6-6)
OCT. 19 at Michigan State (9-12)
OCT. 26 Miami ( Ohio ) (no game)
NOV. 2 at Illinois (7-7)
NOV. 9 at Ohio State (no game)
NOV. 16 Northwestern (0-14)
NOV. 23 at Indiana (39-20)

Madison, Wis .

COLORS: Cardinal and white
1956 RECORD: Won 1, lost 5, tied 3
WATCH FOR: Extensive use of belly series and quarterback option

THE DOPE: The Badgers, with the worst record in the conference last year, had little enough to lose through graduation but somehow they lost it. Even so, Coach Milt Bruhn's outlook for the 1957 season is "optimistic." With only three starters returning from last year's team, the Badgers will place great dependence on sophomores, a bumper crop loaded with potential. But even with a talented group of youngsters, Bruhn admits that their greenness will hurt in the line, especially at the critical tackle spot. Though three lettermen return at quarterback it looks as though sophomore Dale Hackbart has the inside track to this position. He stands 6-3, is a good passer, fakes well and runs the option play with finesse. Bruhn tagged him the outstanding back on the team during spring drills. Another sophomore, Eddie Hart, will be pushing the team's leading ground-gainer, Danny Lewis, at left half. Hart broke most of Alan Ameche's records at Mary Bradford High in Kenosha, Wis. End and center are solid, but Bruhn is having trouble finding Big Ten tackles and guards. If he can patch up his line, Bruhn will improve on last year's 1-5-3 record, but he is still a year or two away from scaring anyone.

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