By Roberto Ruiz
Melvin Gordon had just hurdled Nebraska Safety Corey Cooper on his way to a 62 yard touchdown run, his first of the game. Everyone in attendance for the Big Ten clash expected to see some amazing runs.
Ameer Abdullah and Melvin Gordon, two of the best running backs in the nation, were slated to go head to head and excitement was at a fever-pitch for the high profile matchup. Abdullah disappointed with only 69 yards and no touchdowns on 18 carries. Gordon, meanwhile, broke the FBS single game rushing record. In three quarters.
Gordon treated fans to a rushing performance unlike anyone has ever seen. 25 carries for 408 yards and four touchdowns, all while sitting out the fourth quarter. Fans left the snow speckled field knowing that they had just witnessed history, knowing that they would probably never see something like that again. Gordon, for his part, claimed he had no idea about the record until it was announced. “Yeah, I didn’t even know I was close to the record,” Gordon said. “I was kind of just running away.”
The outcome wasn’t always as certain as the 59-24 score would indicate. Nebraska was ahead 17-3 early in the first quarter after three lost fumbles by the Badgers. The Badgers turned things around starting with the 62 yard scamper by Gordon. Starting with that score, Wisconsin went on a 56-0 run to take hold of the Big Ten West division.
The previous single game rushing record was held by Ladainian Tomlinson who rushed for 406 on 43 carries against UTEP in 1999. Gordon, who averaged 16 yards a carry and had six runs of 35 yards or more (more than Nebraska had allowed all season combined), broke the record against a stouter run defense in 18 less carries. The performance, coupled with the stumble by quarterback Dak Prescott of Mississippi State leaves just Gordon and Marcus Mariota of Oregon as the Heisman favorites. Gordon chose to forgo the NFL in favor of returning for his junior season at UW, but games like that in front of NFL scouts make it unlikely he will be able to resist the temptation presented by being a potential first round draft pick.
Enjoy Gordon while we have him, he will be something special in the NFL.
The win leaves Wisconsin as sole leaders in the Big Ten West division which will hopefully lead to a Big Ten championship game against Ohio State.