Melvin Gordon recorded a 57-yard touchdown reception on Wisconsin's fourth play from scrimmage Nov. 24 at Penn State. And then he disappeared. Badgers fans saw a lot more of Gordon in the Big Ten championship Saturday night against Nebraska, and it paid off in a big way. That's why Gordon, the Wisconsin freshman running back, is the Player of the Week in the Big Ten.
Nine carries, 216 yards. Nine! Let that sink in for a minute. Gordon's stat line in the Big Ten title game is one we might not see again for a while in this league. Just like the Penn State game, he scored on Wisconsin's fourth play, scooting into the end zone on a 56-yard run. His next carry went for 24 yards. After a pedestrian 12-yard run, Gordon broke free for 60 late in the first half to set up a James White touchdown pass. He added a 46-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Wisconsin had three running backs eclipse 100 rush yards -- Gordon, Montee Ball (202) and White (109) -- for the first time in team history, and had two 200-yard rushers (Gordon and Ball) for the first time as well. There are several reasons why Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema has pointed to the 2013 season as one where he might have his best team in BadgerLand. Gordon might be the biggest.
"All practice, all week," Gordon said, "I told myself, 'Go hard, go hard, go hard. Something good is going to come out of it. This is a big stage. Make something happen.'"