After four seasons in Madison, Melvin Gordon's illustrious Wisconsin career has come to a close, and the numbers are mind-boggling. MGIII ran for 2,587 yards in 2014-15, just 41 yards short of Barry Sanders' all-time record. He also totalled 4,915 rushing yards in his UW career, including a 408-yard record-breaking outing at Camp Randall against Nebraska on November 15.
But before Gordon begins his trek to the NFL, let's take a look back at the Heisman candidate's 15 best plays from this past season:
15. October 4 at Northwestern: 3Q WIS M. Gordon run for 61 yds for a 1ST down
Gordon ran for 259 yards in the Badgers' 20-14 loss to Northwestern. On his first run of the second half, he nearly took it to the end zone on this 61-yard run along the sideline.
14. November 22 at Iowa: 4Q WIS M. Gordon run for 23 yds for a TD, (R. Gaglianone KICK)
With the Badgers holding a slim 19-17 lead over Iowa midway through the fourth quarter, Gordon found the end zone for the second time off of a 23-yard run. Facing eight Hawkeye defenders in the box, it looks as though the play would be stopped at the line; but Gordon was able to use his exceptional vision and agility to navigate through traffic and find the open field.
13. November 8 at Purdue: 3Q WIS M. Gordon run for 34 yds for a 1ST down
Against Purdue, Gordon tallied his third 200 yard game to date (he would finish with six by the end of the season). On this 34-yard run, Gordon manages to shake off three separate tacklers and, at the end of the run, nearly stays in bounds to potentially extend the play. Had he managed to keep his feet in, he probably would've scored and this run would be ranked 12 spots higher.
12. November 8 at Purdue: Melvin Gordon Hauls In 27-Yd Pass, Hurdles Defender For TD
We realize this isn't a run. But there was no way we were going to neglect this 27-yard touchdown reception by Gordon, which finishes with an incredible hurdle into the end-zone.
11. November 15 vs. Nebraska: 1Q WIS M. Gordon run for 42 yds for a 1ST down
Gordon had an entire season's worth of highlights against Nebraska this year. In this clip, he runs 42 yards into Badger territory, delivering a vicious stiff-arm to Nebraska defender Corey Cooper near the end of the play. (Note, this won't be the last time you see Cooper's name mentioned)
10. November 15 vs. Nebraska: 2Q WIS M. Gordon run for 39 yds for a 1ST down
In this 39-yard run against (you guessed it) Nebraska, Gordon initially runs into his own lineman, Kyle Costigan. He then proceeds to bounce backwards, regain his momentum, dodge a couple of defenders and break free for a big gain.
9. October 11 vs. Illinois:2Q WIS M. Gordon run for 46 yds for a 1ST down
One of the things that makes Gordon special is that he is the complete package for a running back. He has excellent speed, strength, vision, power and agility--which is very rare for today's backs. In this run against Illinois, Gordon shows off his incredible balance and acceleration when he gets tripped at the line and nearly falls down. But he somehow manages to stay on his feet and then gain a burst of speed and go for a 46-yard run.
8. September 20 vs. Bowling Green: Melvin Gordon's Explosive 50-Yard TD Run
In this 50-yard touchdown run against Bowling Green, Gordon shows off his elusiveness running up the middle and making two defensive backs miss him in the open field. He also delivers one of his most impressive stiff arms of the season on Bowling Green defensive back, Jude Adjei-Barimah.
7. September 27 vs. USF: Gordon's 43-Yard Dash
Did we mention that Gordon is hard to bring down? In this 43-yard touchdown against South Florida, a Bulls' defender starts to wrap Gordon up at the line, but MGIII is able to power through the initial tacklers and then use his breakaway speed to find the end zone.
6. September 20 vs. Bowling Green: Gordon's Record 5th TD
Gordon scored a career-high five rushing touchdowns in the Badgers' 68-17 win over Bowling Green. In this run, Gordon uses his vision to find a hole in the line, and then explodes past three separate Bowling Green defenders for a 69-yard touchdown--his fifth score of the game.
5. November 22 at Iowa: Gordon Goes 88 Yards
In this play against Iowa, Gordon uses his explosive speed to get to the outside and run 88 yards along the sideline before finally getting tripped up on the Iowa 4-yard line. This would turn out to be the longest run of Gordon's career for the Badgers.
4. November 15 vs. Nebraska: Gordon Sets FBS Single-Game Rushing Record
Not only did Gordon break LaDainian Tomlinson's single-game rushing record with 408 rushing yards against Nebraska, but perhaps more impressive was the fact that he managed to do it in just three quarters. On the last play of the third quarter, Gordon takes it 26 yards up the middle, splitting two Nebraska defenders at the end of the play for his fourth touchdown of the game and the FBS record.
3. November 1 at Rutgers: 3Q WIS M. Gordon run for 51 yds for a TD, (R. Gaglianone KICK)
Gordon starts this play by running into a line of blockers; he then decides to reverse the field and try for a big gain. Using his explosiveness, he is able to run to the opposite side of the field and then proceeds to take it to the end zone for a 51-yard touchdown.
2. November 15 vs. Nebraska: Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon Hurdles, Runs 62 Yards For TD
Prior to this carry, the Badgers trailed 17-3 at home to Nebraska early in the second quarter. On this play, Gordon manages to change the game with an incredible 62-yard touchdown run that would be the start of a 59-7 scoring rampage the Badgers would go on to end the game. We also get a chance to see Nebraska safety Corey Cooper once again, this time being hurdled by Gordon on his way to the end zone.
1. January 1 vs. Auburn (Outback Bowl): Melvin Gordon's 4th-Down TD
When Barry Alvarez decided to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the Badgers' own 47-yard line, everyone watching knew it would be a critical play in the game. But any doubts about the decision vanished as soon as Gordon received the carry, broke through the line and then put an incredible stutter step move on Auburn safety Jermaine Whitehead in the open field, which was followed up with a powerful stiff arm that helped carry him into the end zone for a 53-yard touchdown to put the Badgers up 21-17 heading into the fourth quarter.
November 15 vs. Nebraska: 3Q WIS M. Gordon run for 68 yds for a 1ST down
January 1 vs. Auburn (Outback Bowl): 3Q WIS M. Gordon run for 25 yds for a TD, (R. Gaglianone KICK)
September 20 vs. Bowling Green: 1Q WIS M. Gordon run for 40 yds for a 1ST down
August 30 vs. LSU: 3Q WIS M. Gordon run for 63 yds for a 1ST down