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Nebraska vs. Wisconsin: Badgers fans, cherish this Melvin Gordon Moment

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"Let me tell you the story about Melvin Gordon..."

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's a premise I've thought about since Saturday evening, when I drove home in the wintry mix of snow that still covers most of Madison 48 hours after history was made. I pondered how to describe to my 2-year-old son, Eli, and my two unborn twin boys the events I saw unfold two days ago. And I had a lot of time to think about it, as the roads made my commute home an extra 20 minutes longer.

How will I remember this game for years to come? Where does this game sit among the all-time greats in Wisconsin history? The latter was asked to me by a national sports writer as we walked -- slowly -- across the winter wonderland known as Camp Randall Stadium's field on our way back to the press box Saturday night.

It may have been only a football game, one out of hundreds played at Wisconsin's home field in its 119-year history, and there have been many great games seen there. Gordon's performance on Saturday ranks up there with Ron Dayne breaking the FBS all-time record for rushing yards just over 15 years ago in 1999.

Off the top of my head, Wisconsin's wins over Ohio State in both 2003 and 2010 are symbolic from a team perspective. Lee Evans' 79-yard touchdown reception from back-up quarterback Matt Schabert will forever remain ingrained in my memory as a college sophomore, as my friends and I walked down to State Street in celebration afterwards. As will watching from home years later as Bradie Ewing pancaked a Buckeye defender, springing David Gilreath 97 yards for an opening score and game-setting tone in a 31-18 upset win.

But this one had an added, special touch. A Kenosha native -- from the same Wisconsin hometown as 1954 Heisman Trophy winner Alan Ameche -- broke a FBS single-game rushing record in only three quarters that was previously held for 15 years by future NFL Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson.

This was a day where every run by Gordon seemed to put fans into a frenzy where they reasonably believed he could break one once he put his hands around the ball. A day where, with the snow falling gracefully under the lights of Camp Randall, a young team beat the No. 11 team in the nation with 56 unanswered points, carried by a running back whose combination of speed and power puts him into the conversation as the most dynamic back in Badgers history.

A day where most of the student section -- frequently chided by fans of other teams for their tardiness to many 11 a.m. games -- stayed late into the blowout victory, chanting "MEL-VIN GOR-DON!" and singing "Sweet Caroline" in jubilation.

After two days of thinking about it, it's obvious -- Gordon's day is one of the greatest moments in Wisconsin football history, and in the history of games played at Camp Randall.

There's also an obvious observation to take from the victory, one for the 80,539 fans who saw the record broken in person, and those watching from home: Cherish this moment, as an achievement like this probably will not be seen for another generation or quite possibly a lifetime.

Enjoy the fact Gordon rushed for 67 more yards in one game than Wake Forest has in its entire season. The Demon Deacons average 34.1 yards per game rushing. Melvin Gordon, through 10 games and 1,909 yards gained, averages 47.7 yards... per quarter. That average also surpasses Mike Leach's Washington State Cougars, whose Air Raid offense averages a mere 43.6 yards per game.

Be in awe of the fact the Heisman hopeful ran for over 400 yards, on just 25 carries, in just three quarters. Gordon had four runs for over 40 yards in the game alone: 42, 62, 44 and 43. His 189 yards in the second quarter broke Dayne's record for rushing yards in a single quarter. That's in addition to him breaking another Dayne record: a single-game mark of 339 yards that Gordon broke midway through the third quarter.

Nebraska came into the game 20th in rushing defense. Today, the Huskers stand 73rd.

Lastly, be impressed that he broke the record in front of a respected FBS opponent. Tomlinson broke the record against UTEP in 1999. Nebraska came into the game 20th in rushing defense. Today, the Huskers stand 73rd.

In a broader sense, cherish the fact that three Wisconsin running backs now hold key FBS records. Dayne holds the all-time rushing record with 6,397 yards (excluding bowl games). In 2012, Montee Ball became the all-time leader in total touchdowns with 83. Now, Gordon etched his name into the NCAA record books with his 408 yards in a single game.

After the game, head coach Gary Andersen sat in the media room. Also in awe of his team's resilience and of Gordon, who sat to his left, the second-year coach's first words echoed what everyone else was thinking.

"How about this guy? He's the best of the best."

Gordon's day is the best ever in a single game. Considering that if Wisconsin reaches the Big Ten Championship game to have four games remaining on its schedule, Gordon could eclipse another famed mark -- Barry Sanders' single-season rushing total of 2,628 yards -- if he averages 180 yards per game. That's 10 yards less than his average this year.

If he does that, I'll have to find a way to explain to my boys another story about Melvin Gordon.

A story I'll gladly find a way to tell.