Badgers' Gordon wins Doak Walker Award as nation's top tailback
Melvin Gordon demonstrated on numerous occasions why many believed he was the best running back in college football this season. On Thursday night, Gordon received an honor that reaffirmed that belief.
Gordon earned the Doak Walker Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top tailback, defeating Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah and Indiana's Tevin Coleman. He becomes the third Badgers player to earn the honor, joining Ron Dayne (1999) and Montee Ball (2012).
This season, Gordon has rushed for 2,336 yards -- the fourth-most in FBS history -- and leads all tailbacks with 26 touchdowns. His 179.7 rushing yards per game are 10 more than any other player in college football. And he needs 293 yards in Wisconsin's Outback Bowl game against Auburn to surpass Barry Sanders' single-season FBS record.
Asked Thursday night on ESPN's Home Depot College Football Awards Show what the perfect script would be to end Gordon's career, he replied: "With us winning. That'd definitely be the big thing. I'm close to breaking Barry Sanders' record, but we're playing a great Auburn team. It'll be a great game. But it'll end it all perfect if we're able to win that game."
The Doak Walker Award was created in 1989 and has gone to Eddie George, Ricky Williams and LaDainian Tomlinson, among others.
Gordon's most memorable game occurred Nov. 15 during a 59-24 blowout victory at home against Nebraska. He set the single-game FBS rushing record with 408 yards on 25 carries in only three quarters, breaking Tomlinson's record of 406, set in 1999. Oklahoma tailback Samaje Perine broke Gordon's mark one week later with 427 yards rushing against Kansas.
Gordon, a redshirt junior who already has announced he will turn pro after the season, also was asked about the most meaningful occurrence this season.
"Just going (through) the ups and downs with my teammates," he said. "Just trying to have fun. We've been enjoying this season as much as we can. Been a lot of ups and downs. A lot of adversity. I've just been enjoying the room with those guys."
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 also is one of three Heisman finalists, along with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper. The winner will be announced Saturday night in New York City.
Gordon will be honored again when the Doak Walker Award holds its formal trophy presentation on Feb. 27 in Dallas.
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