What a difference two weeks can make, especially if your name is Melvin Gordon. Against Western Illinois Gordon had a game to forget, rushing for only 38 yards on 17 carries and falling out of the Heisman Trophy discussion. Fast forward 14 days and Gordon made a statement to Heisman voters that he certainly belongs back in the discussion.
Gordon ran all over Bowling Green on Saturday, rushing for a career high 253 yards and career high five touchdowns while helping the Wisconsin Badgers set numerous records. In just three games this season, Gordon has gained 431 yards and six touchdowns, giving him a 143.7 yards per game average. After a slow start and watching the way Gordon ran on Saturday, I’d have to say he has returned to his form from a year ago.Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The explosiveness is back. The speed is back. The balance to stay on his feet after getting hit is definitely back. And compared to other running backs in college football, Gordon is back in the Heisman Trophy discussion.
Gordon’s biggest competition in conference is Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah who has had a really good year thus far. In four games Abdullah has rushed for 625 yards on 92 carries and five touchdowns. His average per game of 156.3 is slightly higher than Gordon’s, but his yards per carry of 6.8 is well below the 9.4 average of his Big Ten counterpart.
The biggest competition that Gordon has to deal with is Todd Gurley of Georgia. Despite just a six carry, 73 yard performance against Troy Saturday (honestly there was no need for Gurley to play anymore than what he did as Troy was overmatched and with Georgia’s tough SEC schedule, it was a good day for Gurley to get some touches and pack it up and call it a day) Gurley has 402 yards on 41 carries and four touchdowns in three games. The 9.8 yards per carry is impressive, especially given who the Bulldogs have played already this season. Against a very good Clemson defense, Gurley reeled off 198 yards and three touchdowns to vault him into the top of the Heisman Trophy list. Two weeks later he rushed for 131 tough yards and one touchdown in a 38-35 loss to a good South Carolina team.
All three running backs have had at least that one game where they put up big numbers. For Gurley it was against Clemson. For Abdullah it was Miami (35-229-2). For Gordon it was Bowling Green (13-253-5).
These three certainly belong in the Heisman Trophy discussion, but the way Gordon was thrown to the wayside after an underwhelming performance against Western Illinois, it’s time to put the Badger back in the discussion. The scary part is I believe the best is yet to come.