If you're anything like me, you still haven't gotten over Saturday's injustice in Tempe. At some point, though, we have to look ahead to the future. Outside of the ending at Arizona State, one of the major bullet points I took away from the game was the continued ascension of Melvin Gordon to college football stardom.
The Wisconsin running back rushed for 193 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries. For the season, Gordon has racked up 447 rushing yards in three games on just 37 attempts.
Gordon's 447 yards rank the redshirt sophomore second in the country overall, although he's carried the ball 24 fewer times than the leader, Rutgers running back Paul James, who has accumulated 493 yards.
Thanks to some help from Wisconsin's communications staff, we've also learned that Gordon is averaging 12.9 yards per carry, and is the only player in the country with more than 30 carries this season averaging better than 10.0 yards per carry.
I guess what I'm trying to ask is, why isn't this kid getting the football more often?
I don't claim to be an elite football mind, but I've been watching Wisconsin football for a long time, and Melvin Gordon appears to have as much talent as any Badgers' running back I've seen during my 27 years on this planet. Considering the players who have come through Madison, I understand the significance of that statement.
That said, the speed, the shake, the power -- has there been a more dynamic athlete carrying the rock at Camp Randall?
The real frustration came to light in the desert Saturday, when Wisconsin scored with 4:57 left in the fourth quarter to cut Arizona State's lead to 32-30. Obviously the Badgers went for two, but instead of giving Gordon -- who was undoubtedly Wisconsin's best player that night -- an opportunity, they pulled him off the field in favor of senior James White.
You know the rest: The questionable play call had Stave coming out of the shotgun and throwing an incomplete pass. The fact remains that Wisconsin's most effective offensive threat wasn't on the field for the most important play of the game to that point.
Don't get me wrong -- James White has been an effective running back at Wisconsin for a long time. I write this with the utmost respect for the senior out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. But let's be honest folks, -- White is a complementary running back. The sooner the Wisconsin coaching staff realizes that, the better.
White appeared to be ineffective most of the night Saturday, his first real test of his senior season. He hasn't been bad by any means, but, to anyone who has watched the team this season, it's clearly time for MGIII to take over.
Obviously the coaching staff disagrees. The depth chart the staff released Monday indicates James White is still the No. 1.
The question still has to be asked: Is this about hurting James White's feelings, or winning football games? At this point, it's not a question that Melvin Gordon gives Wisconsin the best chance to win.
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