Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon had the stage set Saturday night to produce a Heisman Trophy moment against the defense of the LSU Tigers. Although he never had his moment, Gordon was able to do just enough to keep himself relevant in the Heisman Trophy candidate discussion.
Unfortunately for Gordon, a few players have put their names at the top of the Heisman Trophy list on Saturday to start the 2014 college football season.
Let’s take a look at Gordon’s stats right away though. Even though he played very sparingly in the second half for whatever reason (coaches decision apparently), the redshirt junior still finished with 140 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown. Not too bad against an LSU defense that last year held opponents to just 143.2 yards rushing per game for an average of 3.9 yards per carry. Gordon averaged 8.8 yards per carry Saturday night.
Even after a solid performance against an SEC opponent, Gordon finds himself behind some other players that started the season off on a great note.
QB Jameis Winston-Florida State: Winston helped lead the Seminoles over the Oklahoma State Cowboys 37-31 by completing 62.5 percent of his passes, throwing 370 yards and one touchdown and rushing for another on a spectacular run. Despite the two interceptions and looking shaky at times, Winston was still able to lead the defending national champions to a victory.
QB Marcus Mariota-Oregon: A solid performance by Mariota that puts him in the discussion for the Heisman. Mariota went 14-for-20 for 267 yards and three touchdowns as well as rushing for 43 yards and another score to help the Ducks take care of South Dakota 62-13. If Mariota can keep putting out performances like that this season-especially against Michigan State next weekend-he will find himself as one of the top candidates.
RB Ameer Abdullah-Nebraska: Another solid performance from one of the nation’s best running backs from a year ago. Abdullah ran all over Florida Atlantic in Nebraska’s 55-7 blowout win. Abdullah ran for 232 yards on 21 carries and one touchdown. This could wind up being a monster year for Abdullah who will make a run at 2,000 yards and the Heisman Trophy.
RB Todd Gurley-Georgia: My Heisman Trophy front-runner after the first week of the season is definitely this guy. On 15 carries, Gurley ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns while helping the Bulldogs topple the Clemson Tigers 45-21 in Athens, GA. Oh yeah, and Gurley returned one kick for a touchdown. A 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown mind you. Gurley made a statement on Saturday that he is the best player in the country.
Just a side note, at the time this article was published quarterback Bryce Petty and the Baylor Bears had not yet played. But look for Petty to start strong and put his name in the hat for the Heisman Trophy.