COLLEGE BOWL NEWS: Wisconsin Junior Takes Home Top Running Back Award


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If the numbers he has put up all season weren’t proof enough, the trophy he hoisted Thursday confirmed Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon’s status as the nation’s best running back.

The Outback Bowl bound junior was named winner of the Doak Walker Award as college football’s most outstanding running back during The Home Depot College Football Awards on the Boardwalk at Walt Disney World.

In addition, Gordon was named to the Walter Camp All-America Team, where he joined Indiana’s Tevin Coleman as a first-team running back.

Gordon became the third Wisconsin back to win the Doak Walker, joining Ron Dayne in 1999 and Montee Ball in 2012. For the first time in its 25-year history, the award’s three finalists all hailed from the same conference, with Gordon, Coleman and Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah making the trip to Orlando. A Big Ten running back has now won the Doak Walker seven times.

On Saturday, Gordon and Mariota will join Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper in New York City for the presentation of the 80th Heisman Trophy.

In a tremendous season for running backs nationwide, Gordon is the headliner. His 2,336 rushing yards this year represent the fourth-highest total in NCAA history, and he needs one touchdown to join Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders and UCF’s Kevin Smith as the only players to rush for 2,000 yards and score 30 TDs in a season.

Gordon became the fastest player to reach 2,000 yards in a season by hitting the threshold on his 241st carry of the season. During the Big Ten season, he ran for a conference-record 1,648 yards and set another league mark with his average of 193.6 yards per game.

For his efforts, Gordon was named both the Graham-George Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year. On Thursday, he was announced as the winner of the Chicago Tribune Silver Football, which is presented annually to the Big Ten MVP in a vote of league coaches.

Gordon will be honored again when the Doak Walker Award holds its formal trophy presentation on Feb. 27 in Dallas.

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