1953 College Football Recap

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Final AP Top 20

Bowl Games with Top 20 Teams

Major Conference Champions

Heisman Trophy Voting

Other Major Award Winners

Consensus All-America Team

For the third time in four years, AP's national champion swooned in a bowl game. At the end of the regular season, Maryland, champion of the brand new Atlantic Coast Conference, was the only unbeaten and untied major college team in the land. The Terps played No.4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and lost 7–0.

Notre Dame was AP's number one team until a stubborn Iowa squad tied the Irish 14–14 on Nov.21. Earlier in the season, the Irish snapped Georgia Tech's 31–game unbeaten streak, but coach Frank Leahy collapsed during halftime. He decided to retire at the end of the year and took his leave with a record of 107–13–9 and a career winning percentage second only to that of Knute Rockne.

Two-way back Johnny Lattner became the fourth Notre Dame player to win the Heisman Trophy in Leahy's 11 years at South Bend. Lattner edged Minnesota HB Paul Giel by just 56 votes.

Michigan State had its winning streak stilled by Iowa after 28 games, but the Spartans finally made it to the Rose Bowl where they rallied from 14 points to beat UCLA 28–20.

In a year that saw the NCAA implement rules to cut back on two-platoon football, the most memorable play involved a player coming off the bench in the Cotton Bowl. The player was Alabama's Tommy Lewis and he left the sideline to tackle Rice halfback Dicky Maegle in the middle of what would have been a 95–yard touchdown run. Maegle was given the TD (one of three he had that day) and Rice won 28–6.

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