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  1. #1
    DJRamFan Guest

    Longhorns RB Benson still running with Heisman hopes

    Nov. 10, 2004 wire reports

    AUSTIN, Texas -- Upon further review, the predicted demise of Cedric Benson's Heisman Trophy campaign appears to have been premature.


    All but written out of the Heisman picture after Texas lost 12-0 to Oklahoma back on Oct. 9, the senior tailback has piled up too many yards and touchdowns to ignore.

    "For a team with one loss or no losses, there's not a more valuable player on offense than him in the country," Texas coach Mack Brown said.

    Benson said he's earned a trip New York as one of the finalists.

    "I'm just waiting on an invitation," he said.

    The Heisman ballot instructs voters to name the most outstanding player of the year. Sometimes it's hard to ignore a great career, such as Benson has had.

    "Who else has been as consistent over four years?" Brown said. "He passes Heisman Trophy winners every week with what he does. And if you want to talk about a particular season, well he's done real well."

    College football analyst and Heisman voter Kirk Herbstreit says he will vote strictly on what a player has done this season, but acknowledges others might not.

    He ranks Benson among his top candidates because he has excelled in a one-dimensional offense. Defenses know their primary job is to shut down Benson. The Longhorns rank just 106th in the nation in passing.

    "They're still a run-first offense," Herbstreit said. "He's still facing eight, sometimes nine-man fronts. That's why I really appreciate what he's accomplished, maybe more than some of the others."

    Benson's 1,438 yards are a career-high and his average of two touchdowns per game leads the nation in scoring. He ranks fourth with 159.8 yards per game for the sixth-ranked Longhorns (8-1).

    But he's also just one of several players having standout years. The Heisman race is so cluttered this season that some outstanding players inevitably will be left out of the awards ceremony.

    If Benson is left to cherish his career marks rather than a trophy, he will have plenty to be proud of. There are few players in NCAA history who can match what he's done at Texas.


    He's only the fifth player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons. His 5,144 career yards ranks ninth in NCAA Division I-A.

    By rushing for his average in the final two regular-season games and Texas' bowl game, he could finish as high as fourth, passing Heisman winners Archie Griffin (1974-75), Herschel Walker (1982) and Charles White (1979).

    He's already tied the NCAA career mark for games with a rushing touchdown (35) and his 62 career rushing TDs ranks fifth.

    Oh, and when he's rushed for 100 yards or more, Texas is 23-0.

    "If I had a Heisman vote, he'd be my guy," said Gil Brandt, the NFL's chief draft consultant who compares Benson to Emmitt Smith and predicts he'll be a first-round draft choice next year.

    "Without him, Texas would not be near the team they are right now," Brandt said.

    So why wasn't he considered a shoo-in as a finalist only a month ago? Benson did perhaps as much as anyone to damage his own Heisman hopes.

    In a radio interview in September, Benson said he'd rather win the trophy than beat Oklahoma, the team that owned a four-game winning streak over the 'Horns.

    The collective response was that Benson couldn't win the trophy without beating the Sooners. And while he played well in that game -- 92 yards rushing, 33 receiving -- Adrian Peterson was the star everyone came away talking about. The Sooners freshman tailback burst into the Heisman race that day with 225 yards.

    "There was so much talk before the OU game and people tried to base it on that," Benson said. "People made it all about one game and some people jumped on that. After that I just chilled out and didn't want to think about it anymore. I wouldn't say it was fair or unfair. It seemed kind of silly to me."

    Since then, Benson has averaged 150 yards over the last four games and scored 10 touchdowns. He scored five TDs in last week's 56-35 win over Oklahoma State, helping the Longhorns rally from a 35-7 deficit.

    "We've been challenged, and we've produced," Benson said. "My line has done a great job, and I've had to display some skill out there."

  2. #2
    txramsfan's Avatar
    txramsfan is offline Registered User
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    Re: Longhorns RB Benson still running with Heisman hopes

    Adarian Peterson is just a freak, but Benson is the real deal also. I watched him play in the high school state championship game in 2000 when he was at Midland Lee and he gained over 200 yards in the first half against Austin Westlake, a major football power in Texas.

    Benson runs between the tackles better than anyone else in D 1.

  3. #3
    DJRamFan Guest

    Re: Longhorns RB Benson still running with Heisman hopes

    This seems like a lesser crop of Heisman candidates than I've seen in the recent past. I'm one of those old school (yes, i'm only 23) that thinks a freshman shouldn't get it, not really sure why.

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