1931 Big Ten Conference football season

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1931 Big Ten Conference football season
Number of teams10
Co-championsMinnesota, Michigan, Northwestern
Runners-upOhio State
Season MVPClarence Munn
Football seasons
← 1930
1932 →
1931 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#10 Purdue + 5 1 0     9 1 0
Michigan + 5 1 0     8 1 1
Northwestern + 5 1 0     7 1 1
Ohio State 4 2 0     6 3 0
Minnesota 3 2 0     7 3 0
Wisconsin 3 3 0     5 4 1
Indiana 1 4 1     2 5 1
Chicago 1 4 0     2 6 1
Iowa 0 3 1     1 6 1
Illinois 0 6 0     2 6 0
  • + – Conference co-champions
Rankings from Dickinson System

The 1931 Big Ten Conference football season was the 36th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference (also known as the Western Conference) and was a part of the 1931 college football season.

The 1931 Purdue Boilermakers football team, under head coach Noble Kizer, compiled a 9–1 record, shut out six of ten opponents, tied for the Big Ten championship, and was recognized as national co-champion by Parke H. Davis. End Paul Moss and center Ookie Miller were recognized as first-team All-Americans.

The 1931 Michigan Wolverines football team, under head coach was Harry Kipke, compiled an 8-1-1 record and finished the season in a three-way tie with Purdue and Northwestern for the Big Ten championship. The team shut out eight of ten opponents and led the conference in scoring defense (2.7 points allowed per game). The Wolverines also started a 22-game undefeated streak that lasted until October 1934. Center Maynard Morrison was selected as a first-team All-American.

The 1931 Northwestern Wildcats football team, under head coach Dick Hanley, compiled a 7–1–1 record and were the third team finishing in a tie for the Big Ten championship. Purdue's sole loss was on the final day of the season against Purdue. Three Northwestern players were consensus first-team All-Americans: halfback Pug Rentner and tackles Jack Riley and Dallas Marvil.

Minnesota guard Clarence Munn won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football trophy as the most valuable player in the Big Ten and was also selected as a consensus first-team All-American.

Season overview[edit]

Results and team statistics[edit]

Conf. Rank Team Head coach Overall record Conf. record DS
1 (tie) Purdue Noble Kizer 9–1 5–1 #10 19.2 3.9 James Purvis
1 (tie) Michigan Harry Kipke 8–1–1 5–1 NR 18.1 2.7 Bill Hewitt
1 (tie) Northwestern Dick Hanley 7–1–1 5–1 NR 15.3 4.4 Paul Engebretsen
4 Ohio State Sam Willaman 6–3 4–2 NR 21.6 8.2 Robert Haubrich
5 Minnesota Fritz Crisler 7–3 3–2 NR 19.1 7.2 Clarence Munn
6 Wisconsin Glenn Thistlethwaite 5–4–1 3–3 NR 10.5 11.0 Harold Smith
7 Indiana Earle C. Hayes 2–5–1 1–4–1 NR 6.4 12.3 Joe Zeller
8 Chicago Amos Alonzo Stagg 3–7–1 1–4 NR 7.1 13.8 Samuel Horwitz
9 Iowa Burt Ingwersen 1–6–1 0–3–1 NR 0.9 16.4 Oliver Sansen
10 Illinois Robert Zuppke 2–6 0–6 #4 7.3 17.5 Fred Frink

DS = Rankings from Dickinson System. See 1931 college football season
PPG = Average of points scored per game[1]
PAG = Average of points allowed per game[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[2]

Regular season[edit]

Bowl games[edit]

No Big Ten teams participated in any bowl games during the 1931 season.

All-Big Ten players[edit]

The following players were picked by the Associated Press (AP), the United Press (UP) and/or the team captains (CPT) as first-team players on the 1931 All-Big Ten Conference football team.[3][4][5]

Position Name Team Selectors
Quarterback Carl Cramer Ohio State AP, CPT, UP
Halfback Pug Rentner Northwestern AP, CPT, UP
Halfback Lew Hinchman Ohio State AP
Halfback Jim Purvis Purdue CPT
Fullback Jack Manders Minnesota AP, CPT, UP
End Paul Moss Purdue AP, CPT, UP
End Ivy Williamson Michigan AP, UP
End Bill Hewitt Michigan CPT, UP [halfback]
Tackle Jack Riley Northwestern AP, CPT, UP
Tackle Dallas Marvil Northwestern AP, CPT, UP
Guard Clarence Munn Minnesota AP, CPT, UP
Guard Greg Kabat Wisconsin AP, CPT
Guard Joe Zeller Indiana UP
Center Maynard Morrison Michigan AP, CPT
Center Ookie Miller Purdue UP


Four Big Ten players were selected as consensus first-team players on the 1931 College Football All-America Team. They were:

Position Name Team Selectors
Guard Biggie Munn Minnesota AAB, AP, COL, INS, NEA, UP
Halfback Pug Rentner Northwestern AAB, AP, COL, INS, NEA, UP
Tackle Jack Riley Northwestern AAB, LIB, NEA
Tackle Dallas Marvil Northwestern AP, INS

Other Big Ten players received first-team honors from at least one selector. They were:

Position Name Team Selectors
End Paul Moss Purdue LIB
Center Maynard Morrison Michigan COL, NEA
Center Charles Miller Purdue UP, CH


  1. ^ a b "1931 Big Ten Conference Year Summary". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  2. ^ Harvey Woodruff. "Vote Munn Big Ten's Most Valuable Player: Minnesota Grid Captain Wins Tribune Trophy". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1.
  3. ^ Paul Mickelson (November 24, 1931). "Northwestern Places Five Players on Two All-Western Elevens". The Independent, St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP story). p. 4A.
  4. ^ Claire M. Burcky (December 13, 1931). "Captains Pick Outstanding Players". The Sunday Spartanburg Herald-Journal. p. 32.
  5. ^ George Kirksey (November 24, 1931). "United Press All Big Ten Selections for 1931". The Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania). p. 10.