Gordon near top of Heisman race after record day
Melvin Gordon will have to wait until next month to learn if he’s the third Heisman Trophy winner in Wisconsin’s history.
The Badgers’ running back, however, all but secured his invitation to New York for the presentation ceremony with his record 408-yard rushing performance in a 59-24 win over Nebraska on Saturday.
Gordon, who leads the country with 1,909 yards rushing for the season, eclipsed the former single-game Football Bowl Subdivision mark of 406 yards by TCU running back LaDanian Tomlinson with his 25-carry effort.
Tomlinson’s mark had stood since 1999.
“I didn’t even know I was close to a record like that,” Gordon said. “I was just kind of running away.”
Running away, indeed.
Right into the record books — while possibly joining Alan Ameche (1954) and Ron Dayne (1999) as Heisman winners from Wisconsin.
Gordon didn’t play in the fourth quarter of Wisconsin’s dominating win — in which it scored 56 straight points at one point. Here are just a few of the notable accomplishments by the junior while he was on the field on Saturday:
— The game was the eighth straight in which Gordon has rushed for more than 100 yards, something he’s accomplished in nine of 10 games overall this season. He now has 25 touchdowns after the Saturday’s four-score effort.
— Gordon’s 189 yards in the second quarter set the school record for rushing yards in a quarter, surpassing Dayne’s 170 yards against San Jose State in 1997. For good measure, Gordon added 170 yards in the third quarter.
— Gordon has now topped the 200-yard mark in four games this season and five times in his career. Dayne is the only other Badger to run for at least 200 yards in a game four times in a season, doing so five times in both 1996 and 1999.
“How about this guy? He’s the best of the best,” Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said of Gordon.
It’s hard to argue with Andersen after Saturday.
Some other notable statistics from yet another wild weekend of upsets and amazing performances across college football:
KIEL’S RETURN: Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel healed up just fine during the bye week, thank you very much. The former Notre Dame quarterback, who has battled a rib injury for much of the season, threw for a career-high 436 yards in the Bearcats’ 54-46 win on Thursday night. The sophomore was only able to throw one pass before leaving with his injury in Cincinnati’s last game on Oct. 31, but he returned to complete 29 of 44 passes for four touchdowns in leading the Bearcats to their fourth straight win.
SHARPE CATCHES: Massachusetts junior Tajae Sharpe had the top receiving performance of the week, catching 13 passes for 239 yards in a 24-10 win over Ball State. It was the third time the wide receiver has tied the school record with 13 catches in a game, a mark he shares with Victor Cruz, JJ Moore and Brandon London. Sharpe is fourth nationally with an average of 120.4 yards receiving per game this season, and he now has 2,090 yards for his career.
SACK MASTER: Utah defensive end Nate Orchard’s season-long disruption of opposing offenses continued in the Utes double-overtime win over Stanford. Orchard had 3 1/2 sacks in the win, including a key one in the second overtime to force the Cardinal into a long field goal attempt. The senior is now tied with Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha for the national lead with 16 1/2 sacks this season.
EXTRA POINTS: Gordon was joined in the 300-yard rushing club this week by Western Kentucky’s Leon Allen (345 yards) and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman (307 yards). ... Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell had the most efficient performance of the week, finishing 17-of-19 passing for 357 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-7 win over Eastern Michigan. ... Texas State linebacker David Mayo leads the country with an average of 14.1 tackles per game. ... If Saturday was the end of Todd Gurley’s collegiate career before he heads to the NFL, following the torn ACL in his left knee, the junior finishes with 3,285 yards rushing in three seasons.