One day after earning consensus first-team All-Big Ten honors and being named the league’s Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon was announced as the 2014 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
It is the third time in the last six years that a Badger running back has earned conference offensive player of the year honors. The previous two were John Clay (2009) and Montee Ball (2011). Gordon is the 10th UW player to earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors.
Gordon leads the country in rushing. His total of 2,260 rushing yards is a Big Ten record and fourth-best in FBS history. He trails only Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State (2,628 in 1998), Kevin Smith of UCF (2,567 in 2007) and Marcus Allen of USC (2,342 in 1981). Gordon’s average of 8.00 yards per carry is on pace to break the NCAA single-season record.
Gordon also leads the country with 29 touchdowns this season, the second-best total in Big Ten history. With one more score, he would become just the third player in FBS history with at least 2,000 rushing yards and 30 TD’s, joining Sanders and Smith.
With the Badgers entering the final stretch of the regular season knowing they needed to win out to earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, Gordon was at his best. He rushed for 1,092 yards in November, more than all but 17 of the other 124 FBS teams.
Gordon and the 11th ranked Badgers take on No. 6 Ohio State on Saturday in the Big Ten Football Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.