In his first collegiate football game, he scored three touchdowns against Nebraska.
In seven games as a sophomore, he ran for 723 yards and scored 12 touchdowns, leading Illinois to an undefeated season and the 1923 Helms Athletic Foundation national championship.
Grange vaulted to national prominence as a result of his performance in the October 18, 1924, game against Michigan. He returned the opening kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown and scored three more touchdowns on runs of 67, 56 and 44 yards in the first 12 minutes.
This four-touchdown first quarter outburst equaled the number of touchdowns allowed by Michigan in the previous two seasons. After sitting out the second quarter, Grange returned in the second half to run 11 yards for a fifth touchdown and passed 20 yards for a sixth score as Illinois won 39-14 to end Michigan's 20-game unbeaten streak.
He amassed 402 yards; 212 rushing, 64 passing and 126 on kickoff returns.
Nicknamed "The Galloping Ghost" in a 24-2 upset of the University of Pennsylvania, he rushed for a career-high 237 yards through deep mud and scored three touchdowns and accounted for 363 yards as a senior.
In his 20-game college career, he ran for 3,362 yards, caught 14 passes for 253 yards and completed 40-of-82 passes for 575 yards.
Of his 31 touchdowns, 16 were from at least 20 yards, with nine from more than 50 yards.
He scored at least one touchdown in every game he played but one, a 1925 loss to Nebraska. He earned All-America recognition three consecutive years.
His No. 77 was retired at the University of Illinois in 1925. Only one other number has been retired in the history of University of Illinois football, No. 50 worn by Dick Butkus.
To commemorate college football's 100th anniversary in 1969, the Football Writers Association of America chose an all-time All-America team. Grange was the only unanimous choice.
In 1999, he was ranked number 80 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. In 2008, Grange was also ranked No. 1 on ESPN's Top 25 Players In College Football History list.
In honor of his achievements at the University of Illinois, the school erected a 12-foot statue of Grange. The statue was dedicated at the start of the 2009 football season.
Grange was also an early leader in the NFL. playing 10 years in the league. He is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.