The rush toward the Heisman Trophy took a new and intriguing turn in favor of Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon over the weekend.
On Saturday Gordon set a new Football Bowl Subdivision record by rushing for 408 yards on 25 carries – in just three quarters of work – in a 59-24 win over No. 16 Nebraska. The previous mark of 406 yards was set by TCU’s LaDainian Tomlinson against UTEP on Nov. 20, 1999.
Gordon also scored four touchdowns, the last of which broke the rushing record and made the two fumbles he lost earlier in the game seem like a distant memory. Of his 25 carries, five went for at least 40 yards.
Saturday’s effort marked the fourth 200-yard game of the season for Gordon. The only player in school history to achieve that feat is Ron Dayne, who finished his career as the all-time leading rusher in FBS history.
Gordon now has 1,909 rushing yards on the year with two regular season games and a bowl game remaining on the schedule. Dayne rushed for a school record 2,109 yards in 1996.
Barry Sanders (2,628 yards at Oklahoma State), Kevin Smith (2,567, UCF) and Marcus Allen (2,427, USC) top the single-season list for rushing yards in college football. No other player has reached the 2,200-yard mark in a season.
Gordon needs just 291 yards to join that club, and chances are good he’ll have a Heisman to show for it when he does.