Melvin Gordon runs for new FBS record

Melvin Gordon ran for 408 yards against Nebraska

Stand by for some serious media love for Melvin Gordon this week. The Wisconsin running back ran for a ridiculous 408 yards today against Nebraska — breaking LaDainian Tomlinson’s 1999 record for most in a single game. He also added four touchdowns.

It’d be wrong not to acknowledge the achievement. Gordon was typically graceful racing away from defenders. He had success on the Jet Sweep and standard running plays to both sides of the field. This was a career day in every sense. An exclamation point on his pro-potential and candidacy for the Heisman.

Here’s some perspective though — this was a truly horrendous display by Nebraska. I’m not sure I’ve seen a worse defensive effort. Gordon topped 250 yards by half time and still there was no answer. If he’d played the full game he would’ve gone beyond 500 — no doubt at all. He was barely touched all day.

Gordon Melvin would’ve had a crafty 150 yards today. Melvin Gordon probably could’ve moonwalked through some of those running lanes and still won the game for his team. Wisconsin lined up, blocked efficiently and time and time again Gordon had massive holes to exploit. And Nebraska sat and watched it happen. No counter. No attempt to address the glaring problem. They tackled poorly, they watched him find the edge time and time again. He topped 400 yards on just 25 carries with 16.3 yards per run. If you’re going to do that, you need a bit of help from the defense.

If this game is the catalyst for Gordon to win the Heisman (and it probably shouldn’t be given Wisconsin’s powder-puff schedule), he might as well invite the Huskers D-line to help write his acceptance speech.

Putting all that aside, there is an awful lot to like about his potential. He’s such a fluid runner and a fantastic running back. Get him into the second level and he’ll turn on the jets and explode. He’s adept at finding the edge and turning the corner. He anticipates well, he has a terrific burst. He’s a true home run hitter. He surely has a more significant role in the passing game to look forward to at the next level.

He’s added muscle over the last year and looks capable of working into a pro-lifestyle. There are some slight concerns about his ability to run through tackles. In this game he had a sloppy fumble on a basic inside run. He’s not a pound it up the middle type who makes yards after contact. He’s a little bit like C.J. Spiller in that regard — a gazelle-like sprinter who’s at his best working in space (he appears to be more durable than Spiller). That’s not to say it’s a perfect comparison — he’s not a 4.2 runner but he’s perhaps a more rounded overall prospect.

In terms of his draft stock — Spiller went in the top ten in 2010. You could easily see Gordon going earlier than people think — it only takes one team. And yet a decent running back class and possible doubts about his between-the-tackles running could lead to a consensus grade in the pick 16-32 range.

Seattle has a very good run-blocking line. Some of the holes they created against New York last week would be a dream for Gordon. But it’d be some transition to go from Marshawn Lynch to Gordon. Pete Carroll complimented Jamaal Charles going into the Kansas City game but admitted he was at the other end of the spectrum to Lynch.

It’d be a sea-change for the Seahawks if they drafted Melvin Gordon to replace Beast Mode.

He’s an exciting talent though — the type you could imagine John Schneider falling for.

Staying with running backs — Ameer Abdullah had another tough day in this game. He’s still not 100% but a lack of size is really showing. Neither is he an electric speed demon — he’s a patient runner who needs time. He fumbled twice in this game (one was overturned with some degree of fortune). For me he’s a limited pro-prospect and more of a complimentary piece.

The best 2015 eligible running back after Gordon and Todd Gurley could be Indiana’s Tevin Coleman. He also had a big day today — recording 307 rushing yards in a loss to Rutgers. Keep an eye on this guy. Speed, size and patience. He’s a great competitor. He has a future at the next level.

Gurley also made his return from suspension today for Georgia against Auburn.


  1. peter

    Does Gurley’s stock diminish at all with the success of the other rb’s namely Chubb and the strength of their oline?

    I could see Gordon in Seattle, that speed is pretty amazing. Its hard watching Wisconsin because you see so little pass blocking or receiving to get a full picture.

    Gonna check out Coleman. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Rob Staton

      Chubb is the real deal — they’ve done a great job recruiting RB’s in Georgia. I think Gurley’s kick return at the start of the game (called back for a hold) proves what a talent he is.

  2. peter

    No doubt he is special!

  3. peter

    Gurley I mean. Ha

  4. redzone086

    Hope you got to check out Utah vs Stanford Orchard looked good again.

  5. Colin

    I read the news online that he broke the record, and have seen precisely one run of his today, the record breaking 26 yard run.

    That’s all I needed to see to know Nebraska were just a complete mess defensively.

    No one touched him on the play. No one. Ran through a hole the size of Cincinnati and into the endzone.

    Great performance but I’m glad Rob you made sure to emphasize how awful Nebraska were.

  6. rowdy

    I agree the d was bad but wis didn’t even pass for 50 yards and neb is ranked 16! They knew what was coming and couldn’t do anything about it. The weather played a part to but didn’t effect gorden. He tilts the field like like a previous badger. I would love for the hawks to draft him but he doesn’t fit the hawks rb size requirements. Hopefully that won’t stop them but I think he’ll be a top 20 pick and off the board anyway. Coleman looks like a better fit size wise. I’d rather have gorden then face him, he would scare me more then Gurley or Coleman.

  7. CHawk Talker Eric

    I guess these RB scouting posts are necessary Rob. Rappaport continues to assert that SEA is moving on from Lynch at the end of the season.

    I sincerely hope there’s no fire from all that smoke. Not sure how the FO thinks they can replace Lynch, especially in this year’s draft. Unless SEA tanks the remainder of the season and winds up with a high pick, Gordon and Gurley are likely to be gone by the time SEA steps up to the podium.

  8. redzone086

    Rob, you think hawks could lure Nick Fairley from the lions to Seattle?

    • Rob Staton

      I think the more pressing question would be — is he worth the interest? Big disappointment as a pro, particularly playing next to Suh.

  9. Jarhead

    Gee whiz, let Lynch go and give Wilson $20 million? I don’t know if that exactly computes after the way this season has been turning…

  10. Ben2

    Ugghhh…we need a big red zone target. Period. Tight end or WR. No early RB – keep lynch. KC game showed this again….red zone failure.

    • Cysco

      seriously. 4th and goal from the 2 and you throw a fade route into the sun to a 5’11 receiver?


      • redzone086

        Seriously, that was my statement as well.

  11. Nate

    Looks like Gurley just tore his left knee ACL according to ESPN. How is that going to affect him draft-wise Rob? Would the Seahawks be able to pick him up?

    • Rob Staton

      Could have a big impact. Depends on recovery. RB’s with ACL history aren’t a good mix. Gurley has been banged up.

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