Over the years the Wisconsin Badgers have had a long line of great college running backs come through their doors. It started way back in 1954 when Alan Ameche was the first Heisman Trophy winner in the program’s prestigious history. But it wasn’t until the past 20-plus years that Wisconsin really became known as “Running Back U.”
In 1993 Brent Moss was the first of what would become a line of special running backs in Madison. That year he ran for 1,637 yards and 16 touchdowns. For today’s standards that wouldn’t be too impressive, but back then it certainly was. Moss was a big reason why Wisconsin won the Big Ten title and their first Rose Bowl berth in 30 years.
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The backs to come after him have been nothing short of amazing.
There have been a slew of great running backs after Moss, most notably Ron Dayne who won the Heisman Trophy in 1999 and is the current record holder for most rushing yards in a collegiate career with 6,397 yards. That’s a record that could possibly stand for many years to come.
Another career record holder that wore a Badger uniform is current Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball. From 2009-12 Ball found the end zone an astonishing 77 times. His 1,923 yards in 2011 and 1,830 yards in 2012 currently rank third and fifth in school history, respectively. Ball is second all-time in school history behind Dayne for most career rushing yards.
Which brings me to the latest and greatest running back to grace us with his presence at Camp Randall Stadium-Melvin Gordon. On Saturday against Nebraska, Gordon etched his name in the college football record book. Gordon ran for an FBS single-game record 408 yards in the 59-24 rout of the Cornhuskers.
To bring this all together, that’s three Wisconsin running backs that hold three very distinguished records in college football history. For those that still don’t get it, Ron Dayne has a graphic for you.
From Ameche to Dayne to Ball to Gordon and every-other running back in between, Wisconsin has produced some very good backs throughout their history. With three Badgers holding three records in major categories, there’s no doubting why many call the University of Wisconsin “Running Back U.”