Be alert, Hawkeyes: Mr. 408 Melvin Gordon wants more
You've been warned, Iowa.
Wisconsin tailback Melvin Gordon ran for a major-college record 408 yards and four touchdowns last weekend against Nebraska, and the stakes will be even higher Saturday when he arrives at Kinnick Stadium.
"What I believe is going to happen with Melvin the last two weeks is, you're going to see him more driven than ever," Badgers coach Gary Andersen said. "Because he wants to have a shot at that championship for his team, and he also wants to be the best player in college football."
The 6-foot-1, 213-pound Gordon vaulted atop the Heisman Trophy watch list after eclipsing the single-game, NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision rushing record of 406 yards set by TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson in 1999.
It prompted a complimentary tweet from Tomlinson: "That kid @Melvingordon25 bad!! Congrats on breaking the NCAA single game rushing record. #respect"
Gordon, seems to be taking the kudos in stride.
"I wasn't aware of me breaking the record until I got to the sideline," he said. "No one looks to run for 400-some yards a game. That's not even a realistic goal, to be honest.
"So I wasn't paying attention to that."
Of course, Hawkeyes fans can't help but wonder what might have been.
Gordon, who grew up in Kenosha, Wis., committed to Iowa early in the recruiting process, then had a change of heart.
"I took a visit to Wisconsin, just fell in love with it," Gordon said Monday. "It's probably one of the hardest things I had to do, de-committing from Iowa.
"It had nothing to do with the coaches, or this and that."
Gordon continues to be the engine driving Wisconsin's bid for a berth in the Big Ten championship game.
The Badgers (8-2 overall, 5-1 in the West Division) can advance with a win over the Hawkeyes and a victory next week against Minnesota.
Both are 7-3 and 4-2.
"(Iowa has) big, tough kids in the front seven," Andersen said. "Those tackles (Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat) are as good as we'll play.
"They're very, very talented players, physical, tough-minded."
The Hawkeyes, however, have been ripped by previous rushers. Pittsburgh's James Conner ran for 155 yards on Sept. 20. Indiana's Tevin Coleman went for 219 yards on Oct. 11.
Neither is as talented as Gordon, or is blessed with the Badgers' imposing offensive line.
Nebraska was allowing 123.8 rushing yards per game and 3.7 per carry before facing Wisconsin. Iowa is allowing 147.8 and 4.0 a carry.
Now, everything Gordon wants is in front of him: college sports' most prestigious individual award and a chance to knock off Ohio State for the Big Ten title.
The hype can be overwhelming or inspiring.
Again, Iowa, you've been warned.
"I have no doubts that Melvin is going to do nothing more than simply crank it up a notch," Andersen said. "And he'll be able to push away all those distractions."