Legends return for Heisman Challenge

Barry Sanders and Barry Sanders Jr. in the same Stanford backfield?

Might as well hand the Cardinal the BCS Championship right now, but that’s the concept behind the cool new Heisman Challenge mode in "NCAA Football 13."

Pick a former Heisman winner -- from Tim Tebow to Herschel Walker -- recruit them to your favorite school, then insert them into the current day starting lineup to see if you can match, or even surpass, their historic stats, awards, and championship trophies.

As you play through the single-season experience, the viewpoint is the same as the game’s Road to Glory mode, with the camera focusing on your individual player as opposed to your team. Each player will be given specific goals to match or surpass throughout his second stint in college, as gamers will have the ability to try and put up Andre Ware’s video-game like stats or score more than Barry Sanders’ 37 rushing touchdowns while in control of the first ever father-son running tandem.

But that’s not all, as EA Sports added a unique gameplay element into the feature, giving gamers the ability to switch into “reaction time” slow motion, enabling runners like Sanders to juke, spin, hurdle, and stiff-arm as defenders fly at them from all directions, helping you see the field around you more clearly as you show off the slick moves that helped transform your superstar into a legend.

Ten athletes are featured in the new mode (Marcus Allen, Doug Flutie, Eddie George, Robert Griffin III, Desmond Howard, Carson Palmer, Barry Sanders, Charlie Ward, Andre Ware, and Herschel Walker), while Tim Brown, Archie Griffin, Jim Plunkett, Mark Ingram, Matt Leinart, and Tim Tebow will be made available through DLC.

Playing through a few Heisman Challenge games, I loved the new reaction time, especially when returning punts with Desmond Howard. And being able to pitch a the ball to Sanders on the outside, switch to slow motion as I spin between defenders, then switch back to regular speed, is also a blast. It almost seems unfair to have that much skill. Then again, that’s what it was like for Sanders in real life.

I also loved trying out players like Doug Flutie in the Oregon offense just to see if I could recapture some of that Flutie magic in a new system, not to mention putting players in the uniforms of their biggest rivals, like Desmond Howard on Ohio State and Marcus Allen on UCLA.

To top things off, if you’re able to meet your goals and win the Heisman, you can also unlock each player in Road to Glory mode in order to continue their playing careers.

That means four seasons of Sanders and Sanders in the same backfield.

I might never need to pass the ball again.