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Montee Ball's Heisman Candidacy, Moment by Soul-Crushing Moment

It's a lot of fun when you get a Heisman candidate from the B1G. Even though their candidacy most likely came at the expense of your team, most of the ire you felt towards the candidate is probably gone come Bowl Season. So we'll take a quick look at Montee Ball, the Wisconsin RB who is projected to finished 4th in the Heisman voting. I asked our writers - What did Montee Ball do to your team this year? Note: Montee Ball did not play against Michigan in 2011, but I watched him in East Lansing during the Hail Sparty game and - Ball was ridiculous. His body control, balance, and quickness remind me a sports car weaving through cones on a test track. The 25 lb. offseason weight loss turned Ball into a more versatile back. Sure, he can push a pile at 206 lbs, but his improved swerving and juking were something to behold. I tip my cap to someone who turned himself into "The Next Great Wisconsin Running Back."

Bonus Question - If Wisky goes 13-0 or 12-1, who gets the Heisman Credit, Russel Wilson or Ball? Intriguing...

THE START - by KennardHusker

Remember when Nebraska was a Top 10 team and a fringe sleeper for the BCS National Championship? Me neither... Still, if you believe talking heads on the WWL (most of you don't), that was the case when Nebraska traveled to Camp Randall to face Bucky. While most of the credit for the absolute pounding Wisconsin gave Nebraska was given to Wilson, the numbers suggest otherwise. Montee Ball ran for 151 yards, hit paydirt 4 times, and did all of this without registering a run longer than 15 yards. Basically, he beat Nebraska into submission over and over and over and over and just for good measure, over again.

I honestly don't know the last time Nebraska gave up 4 rushing TDs to one person. I tried finding that statistic, but it isn't readily available. I know it hasn't happened in the last three years. That was just amazing.

THE HICCUP - by Jon Franz

Who is this Montee Ball you speak of? I vaguely remember a Wisconsin tailback of that name getting repeatedly stuffed by Ohio State's massive defensive tackles, but that can't be the same Ball that's headed to the Big Apple. I thought that guy was someone's backup. Surely, the Heisman trust has made a terrible mistake.



What did Montee Ball do to help Wisconsin beat the Gophers? Well, truthfully, Ball could have sat on the bench and the Gophers wouldn't have won that game, but that isn't what this piece is about, so...

All Ball did against the Gophers was rush for 166 yards, a 7.2 yards/carry average, 2 TD's and 1 TD reception. But what the stats don't show you is how Ball demoralized the Gophers in the first quarter of the game. Ball had 60 yds rushing, 5 yds recieving, a TD run and a TD catch before the 1st quarter even ended.

Then, with very little time left in the first quarter, he peeled off a 29 yard scamper which got Wisconsin into the red zone, resulting in a TD on the first play of the 2nd quarter. Ball scored the first two TD's of the game for the Badgers, then had the key play on their 3rd TD drive.

The Gophers were never in the game, and Montee Ball played a huge roll in that.

THE MONSTER GAME - by Paterno Ave

Took a little while to un-black-out that game, but here goes:

There were a lot of reasons that Penn State was dominated by Wisconsin for the Leaders Division bid: Russell Wilson, turnovers, penalties, and Jared Abrrederis (seriously where did that guy come from), but Montee Ball was the most commanding part of the Badgers' performance that night. His four touchdowns were the most the top-10 total, top-5 scoring Penn State Defense has given up to any one running back this season, doubling what Trent Richardson was able to manage.

I'd consider an 8 p.m. Thanksgiving weekend night game, Big Ten semifinal to be the kind of "Heisman Moment" that voters look for, and on that night the guy delivered an outstanding game.

I thought his showing was the most impressive I have seen against Penn State in the last decade, and looking at that night alone he seemed to easily outclass talented past B1G adversaries such as Beanie Wells or Javon Ringer. The guy provided the tying and go-ahead touchdowns early. As the night went on, though, it was his relentless gains while the Penn State Offense could not get on the field that put the game out of reach and broke any morale the Nittany Lions may have been able to rally in Madison.


Would I or any other MSU fan rather had our defense lined up against James White than Montee Ball during our two matchups? Most assuredly.


Montee Ball did not play Northwestern this year, but if he had, I'm fairly certain he would have imposed his will to the tune of 200+ yards rushing and 3 TDs. No, the impact that Montee Ball had on Northwestern was making the "Persa for Heisman" campaign look all the more ridiculous in retrospect.

Look, I supported Persa for Heisman (even with the injury, he was easily our best returning starter since Damien Anderson), I still think it worked out well for Northwestern (it did get people talking about our team in the middle of the summer, and probably helped sell some tickets), and in all honestly, looking at conference games only, Persa had a VERY impressive year -- he was first in total passing yards (1791 yards), completions (168), and completion percentage (73.7); second in passing efficiency (154.1, behind Russell Wilson's absurd 179.2) and total offense (232.8 ypg, behind Denard's 255.4); and 3rd in passing TDs (13, tied with Vandenberg behind Wilson with 17 and Cousins with 16). Clearly a solid season (the defense is why Northwestern is 6-6, not Persa).

Montee Ball....demonstrating the extreme type of excellence that justifies (both before and after the fact) a Heisman campaign.

But good lord....those numbers don't even compare to the monster season Montee Ball has had running the ball this year. I mean, in conference games alone, Montee Ball scored 24 TDs. That's more than ANY QB passed for in conference this 7 TDs. And that's over TWICE as many TDs as any other player scored running or receiving this year in conference (Coker and Denard Robinson each had 11 TDs). He scored 18.2 ppg in conference BY HIMSELF. That means, in terms of scoring based on conference games alone, Montee Ball would have been selected in an imaginary points per game based fantasy draft AHEAD OF THREE ENTIRE TEAMS: Illinois (18.1 ppg), Penn State (17.1 ppg), and Minnesota (16.2 ppg).