If the Wisconsin Badgers have a Heisman Trophy winner this season, it is Russell Wilson. He has the quarterback mystique, the fantastic numbers, and the winning team behind him. At this point, we can be fairly sure the Heisman Trohpy voting will come down to, basically, Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Boise State’s Kellen Moore, and probably Alabama’s Trent Richardson along with Wilson.
But in any other year, Montee Ball might be the one earning the Heisman consideration in Madison. In many ways, the numbers are gaudy in a sense the Badgers haven’t seen since Ron Dayne in 1999. Through six games, Ball has compile 653 yards and 16 touchdowns on 106 rushing attempts — a tremendous 6.1 yards per attempt. He’s added 166 yards and a touchdown as a receiver and another 25 yards and a touchdown as a passer, for a total of 844 yards and 18 touchdowns. The 17 touchdowns from scrimmage tie Ball with Temple’s Bernard Pierce. His 653 rushing yards ranks 24th in the country, a number far more impressive when we account for the fact that many of the players ahead of him benefit from seven games played as opposed to Ball’s six.
Ball wont’ be in play for the Heisman, but he should end up earning some down-ballot votes from the Heisman Voters if he maintans a pace anywhere near this level — a 25-30 touchdown season seems more than possible at this point, and that would garner too much national attention to ignore. The Doak Walker award, however, seems completely in play for Ball, although he will face tough competition from Trent Richardson of Alabama (912 yards, 15 TD through seven games) and Ray Graham of Pittsburgh (a national best 939 yards and 9 touchdowns in front of former Wisconsin back Zach Brown).
And if those numbers aren’t enough for you, Aaron Yellin dropped this number on us last week before the Badgers’ victory against Indiana: if the only points scored by the Badgers this year were Ball’s touchdowns, Wisconsin would still be undefeated through six games.
Ball’s breakout season will see its first true test of the season Saturday in East Lansing against Michigan State’s stout defense, one that held Denard Robinson under 100 yards rushing last week. If Ball can keep rolling against the Spartans, his Doak Walker Award chances will receive a huge boost, not to mention the Badgers’ chances of victory.