Catcallers in Harlem dish out more harassment than the Cornhuskers defense did while attempting to defendWisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon on Saturday afternoon.
Gordon paraded through running lanes as defenders gawked more freely than the Caucasian woman recorded for 10 hours by Hollaback getting catcalled on the streets of New York City earlier this month.
Ladainian Tomlinson’s record was only eclipsed by two yards, but Gordon accomplished his feat in 18 fewer carries (25 to 43) and in three quarters aganst a higher quality of opponent. Tomlinson accumulated his yardage against a quotidian 5-7 UTEP squad. Gordon ran roughshod over the nation's 36th-best rushing defense.
Gordon began Saturday sharing the spotlight with Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, back after spraining the MCL in his left knee on Nov. 1 and was blotted out by the return of Todd Gurley against Auburn.
By that night he was all alone in rarified air.
Not since Forest Gump rescued Lt. Dan’s platoon has one man carried a team so dramatically on his back. Between Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy, Wisconsin’s quarterback situation could be the nation’s worst. There’s no ambiguity over Wisconsin’s attack plan and Nebraska still couldn’t stop it.
The Heisman voting community had all the ammunition they need to reward Marcus Mariota for his prolific numbers in Oregon’s offense, but Gordon has thrown a monkey wrench into those plans.
Mariota and Gordon both benefit from unique systems that produce exaggerated numbers. Oregon’s no-huddle spread attack doesn’t have the history of Wisconsin’s impervious offensive line, but it’s still their defining trademark. The difference is that comparable to his peers, Mariota has been able to choose his spots thanks to the litany of threats Oregon has surrounded him with.
Unlike Montee Ball, who split the Wisconsin vote with Russell Wilson, Wisconsin’s current quarterback platoon has thrown for 1,397 yards, 11 touchdowns to interceptions and a 51 percent completion percentage thus far in 2014. Against Nebraska, Stave only threw for 46 yards because Gordon blew through the defense like a tornado over a farm.
This isn’t an option offense either. If Gordon can continue near this pace, he’ll surpass 30 touchdowns and 2,500 yards at his current 8.6 yards per carry rate (compared to Sanders’ 7.6 during his Heisman campaign)
Todd Gurley has been out of the picture for weeks and after tearing his ACL Saturday, Gordon has propelled himself to the Heisman forefront. Gordon’s virtuoso 408 yards was the culmination of what’s been a spectacular season.
Mariota is the golden boy quarterback for one of the nation’s four best teams, but can you honestly say he’s been more consistently outstanding than Gordon has been for Wisconsin? Wisconsin has two more games left on their slate and a potential Big Ten Championship Game clash with Ohio State on the horizon.
In Case You Missed It: Wisconsin’s offensive linemen are routinely given more credit than any group of big uglies in college football. On the flipside, Wisconsin’s defense has gone unnoticed. Saturday, they continued shuttering running lanes for Ameer Abdullah as well as their offensive line freed lanes for Gordon.
There was a little doubt about the authenticity of their defense, which ranked fourth in yard allowed per rush, seventh in rushing yards per game and third in passing yards per game because they'd only faced three top 75 scoring offenses in 2014.
The rigid designed runs for Dak Prescott did were swallowed up by Alabama’s frontline. Instead, it was Sims’ free-flowing improvisation during a drive which snatched Mississippi State’s soul that pushed the Crimson Tide to the front of the playoff line. Sims’ efficiency begins with his precise throwing ability. Alabama’s dual-threat quarterback boasts the nation’s second-highest QBR in the entire nation.
Sims’ legs were the highlight of Alabama’s win, but he also displayed better accuracy than Prescott. Sims’ isn’t asked to do as much, as Prescott who threw three interceptions in the redzone and overthrew a wide open receiver in the end zone on a crucial fourth quarter drive that ended with a field goal.
TOO MANY, TOO MANY COOKS REFERENCES
By now, we’ve had too many Too Many Cook crossover tweets and memes about Dalvin Cook, but the true freshman helped take some of the pressure of off Jameis Winston throwing the ball. Seven carries for 92 yards including the game-winning 26-yard touchdown catch.
Florida State’s second half surges have become their trademark. A theme among their foes has emerged as well.
In Case You Missed It:
The ACC’s Teflon Dons weren’t just aided by a Heisman-worthy performance by Winton in the second half, cornerback Jalen Ramsey was an omnipotent presence. On Miami's first offensive play, Ramsey forced a fumble and on the final play, he picked off freshman Brad Kaaya to put the game in the bag like Fabolous. In between, he had three tackles, knocked down four passes and got his mittens on an extra point.
TCU will catch a ton of flack for looking sluggish on the road against Kansas and they deserve it. However, road conference games have always been a risky proposition.
And let’s be honest, how do you defend a play like this?
They’re still the same team that led Baylor for 55 minutes on the road and that marked up Kansas State a week ago. TCU escaped a trap game, but they’re still the same team we thought they were on Friday. Naturally, the question we’re all wondering is whether they’ll be punished by the playoff selection committee. Until Mississippi State grapples with Ole Miss, the Bulldogs should be marooned outside the top five after LSU and Texas A&M fell outside of the top 25.
In Case You Missed It: Kansas’ first move after replacing Charlie Weis with Clint Bowen was to implement Michael Cummings as the starter over Montell Cozart.
The results has been a significant offensive uptick and near upsets of Oklahoma State and TCU, in addition to a win over Iowa State.
Michael Cummings’ starts in 2014:
Oklahoma State 20-37-288, TD run
at Texas Tech 20-32-235, 2 TD pass, TD run
at Baylor 21-30-288, 2 TD pass
Iowa State 24-40-278, TD pass, TD run
TCU 19-37-332, 2 TD pass, TD run
Totals: 104-176-1,420, 7 TD pass, 4 TD run
Just for reference, Cozart complete just 50 percent of his passes for 701 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptionsbefore being sentenced to headset duty.
Ultimately, TCU woke up and pulled away, but not before getting surprised by a Jayhawk offense that’s found its groove.