Heisman Trophy Watch: Why Marcus Mariota is Not No. 1

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Nov 29, 2014; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon (25) celebrates following the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

1. Melvin Gordon, Running Back, Wisconsin Badgers (10-2, 6-2)

Last Game: 29 Carries for 151 Yards (5.2 YPC) and Two Total Touchdown (Defeated Minnesota Golden Gophers 34-24)

2014 Season: 283 Carries for 2,260 Yards (8.0 YPC), 17 Receptions for 151 Yards, 29 Total Touchdowns

You know that you are a superstar and the best player in college football when you rush for 151 yards and people say you had an off day. Such was the case with Melvin Gordon against Minnesota. But his numbers only cemented his spot atop our Heisman race, and he alone has Wisconsin in position to compete for the Big Ten Championship.

Sorry to everybody else, but Gordon’s 408 rushing yards are still incredibly impressive, much more than Samaje Perine’s numbers against a terrible Kansas team. Add to it the fact that Gordon has more than 200 yards rushing five times on the season and picked up 250 yards or more total in each of those five games, and it becomes clear that he is the best player in college football this year. It’s not even close.

Want big games? Try 408, 200, and 151 yards and eight total touchdowns in the three games the Badgers had to win to win the division. Numbers? Well, we already mentioned those. Competition? It’s not like the Big Ten doesn’t play defense.

Finally, let’s talk about support. Gordon has had no passing game all year, and teams have stacked the line to stop him. Combine that with the fact that he’s supposed to be a by-committee starter with Cory Clement, and then his numbers become even more amazing. He is more than 200 yards ahead of the second leading rusher in college football. And it is pretty clear he belongs on top of our Heisman Trophy watch.

A game against Ohio State to win the Big Ten Championship this weekend is a great opportunity for him to seal the debate.

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