1943 College Football Recap
Service teams dominated the AP Top 20 in 1943.
Not only were six of the top dozen squads organized by the military, but three schools?Michigan, Purdue and Duke?benefited from on-campus Navy training programs that attracted college and pro athletes from all over the region and let them play ball. Michigan, for example, took the field with an All-Big Ten backfield that included Wisconsin's Elroy ?Crazy Legs? Hirsch and Minnesota's Bill Daley
Notre Dame was everybody's choice for national champion, playing a 10?game schedule that featured seven opponents who would end up ranked among the first 13 teams in AP's final poll. The Irish became the No.1 team in early October and twice defeated AP's weekly No.2 team?first Michigan (35?12), then Iowa Pre-Flight (14?13). Army and Navy were ranked third when they each played Notre Dame and lost.
An undefeated season eluded the Irish in the last 33 seconds of their final game when Great Lakes (Ill.) Naval Station beat them 19?14 on a 46?yard Steve Lach to Paul Anderson TD pass. Nevertheless, Notre Dame remained No.1 and quarterback Angelo Bertelli, who only played the first six games before being called to boot camp by the Marines, won the Heisman.
Finally, the coach of the year was 81-year-old Amos Alonzo Stagg, whose College of the Pacific team went 7?2 and ranked 19th.