No announcement yet.

Longhorns RB Benson still running with Heisman hopes

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 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
    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
      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.


      Related Topics


      • txramsfan
        Benson covets Heisman, but beating OU wouldn't hurt
        by txramsfan

        I'd rather take the Heisman Trophy." -- Cedric Benson, Sept. 14, 2004

        In Texas, it's hard to tell which statement was more heretical.

        Cedric Benson has 746 yards rushing, better than 86 of 117 I-A team rushing totals.(AP)
        The state, like the rest of the South, eventually stopped burning Beatles records. Even the Vatican forgave Lennon, whose statement caused a major stir 30 years before conservative talk radio even debuted.

        Different time, different stir. Same basic reaction.

        Benson, the nation's leading rusher, recently said during a radio interview that he would rather win the Heisman than beat Oklahoma.

        First, remember this is an age when merely uttering the words "Pete Rose" is good for three hours worth of calls from Todd in Scarsdale. This morning's press conference has been filleted into mind-numbing detail by the time you sit down for tonight's filet.

        Hosts don't even ask questions anymore, preferring to press emotional buttons by screaming, "The Chargers! Your reaction ..."

        Benson choosing the hardware over the hated rival kind of hung in the air for three weeks. Columnists opined on it as an eyebrow raiser. But here it is Oklahoma week and, well, some of the Lennon rules still apply. It's funny how quickly a throwaway comment can become sacrilege.

        "If I could win the football game entirely by myself, both offense and defense, punt returns, kickoffs, kicking field goals, do everything," Benson said during the interview, "then I'd take the win over OU.

        "But for me personally, the hard work I've been through, growing up as a kid and the dream I've had, I'd love nothing more than to win the Heisman."

        Give the kid credit for honesty, if not a precise understanding of his surroundings. There are Texas loyalists who would sell their left, uh, gut to beat Oklahoma. The Sooners' current four-game winning streak in the Red River Shootout is an ignominious wart on the Texas program. It needs to be burned off and disposed of.

        Twice Oklahoma has hung at least 60 on the 'Horns. Two conference titles and a national championship have been built on top of those Texas carcasses.

        Someday, maybe even Saturday, Texas will beat Oklahoma. Benson does understand that a Heisman lasts a lifetime, unless you're O.J. and you need the money.

        Texas -- the team -- is trying to end an embarrassing streak, win a conference title and challenge for a national championship. Those goals won't ever change and will eventually be accomplished no matter what happens Saturday in Dallas.

        Benson is merely speaking from the heart.

        He came to Texas, in part, because it pumped out Heisman winners like Earl...
        -10-05-2004, 06:12 AM
      • Bruce=GOAT
        Oklahoma RB Peterson to enter draft
        by Bruce=GOAT
        Oklahoma's Peterson to enter NFL draft
        January 15, 2007

        NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

        "In the end, I think I just realized that this is a business decision and that it is time for me to take that next step," Peterson said in a statement released by the university Monday, the deadline for underclassmen to declare themselves eligible for the draft.

        "It wasn't easy," he said. "I haven't been sleeping much. I just put it all in God's hands."

        Peterson returned from a broken collarbone to run for 77 yards and two touchdowns in Oklahoma's 43-42 overtime loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. He had been sidelined for seven games with the injury, suffered Oct. 14 on a touchdown run against Iowa State.

        Peterson's final carry in an Oklahoma uniform was a 25-yard touchdown run that put the Sooners ahead 42-35 on the opening play of overtime in the Fiesta Bowl.

        Peterson opted not to hold a news conference to announce his decision, but said in the statement that he considered his relationships with teammates as a reason to stay at Oklahoma. He said his parents and Sooners coach Bob Stoops were among the people that advised him.

        "The last few days have been stressful," Peterson said. "I've been pondering a lot of things and looking at it from all the different angles, weighing the good and the bad."

        Peterson ran for 4,045 yards in three seasons, ranking behind only 1978 Heisman winner Billy Sims (4,118) and Hall of Famer Joe Washington (4,071) on Oklahoma's career rushing list. His 1,925 yards in 2004 were a school rushing record and the most by a freshman in NCAA history.

        He started that season with an unprecedented nine straight 100-yard games. Peterson also finished second to Matt Leinart in voting for the 2004 Heisman Trophy, the highest showing for a freshman.

        Peterson had shoulder surgery in the offseason after his spectacular freshman season, then sprained his ankle and missed parts of four games as a sophomore.

        "There were some things that we didn't accomplish," Peterson said. "I didn't really do all of the things I set out to do. Those things, the guys and the love for college football were things I thought about."

        He still finished the season with 1,012 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.

        "I know this has been a trying time for him and he just needs to know that we support him wholeheartedly," Stoops said. "Adrian has been a great individual player and a great teammate."
        -01-15-2007, 02:43 PM
      • DJRamFan
        Texas coach declares Oklahoma is better than last year
        by DJRamFan
        Oct. 10, 2004 wire reports

        DALLAS -- Texas coach Mack Brown thinks this Oklahoma squad might just be better than the one that dominated his team a year ago.


        The reason wasn't the score -- the second-ranked Sooners beat the Longhorns 12-0 on Saturday, compared with a 65-13 blowout last season. Rather, it was the abundance of talent for Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) that made the biggest impression on Brown.

        Quarterback Jason White, last year's Heisman Trophy winner, threw for just 113 yards and no touchdowns while getting picked off twice. And it was more than enough for the Sooners, thanks to 225 yards rushing on 32 carries by dynamic freshman running back Adrian Peterson.

        "Jason's such a great player and he's been around so long, we felt like we had to give him a lot of different looks and try to change up," Brown said. "Where they're so much better in some ways than they even were last year is they have the ability to run the ball now, so it's really hard to get pressure on him."

        At the end of last season, pressure was the best strategy to beat Oklahoma. Kansas State and LSU blitzed White endlessly and it cost the Sooners the Big 12 title and the national championship.

        But with Peterson in the backfield, it's no longer possible for teams to forget the run and focus on White. While Peterson never made it into the end zone against the Longhorns (4-1, 1-1), he put the Sooners in scoring position.

        "I guess he was the difference maker," Longhorns cornerback Michael Huff said.

        With Peterson emerging as Oklahoma's primary back, coach Bob Stoops is able to use Kejuan Jones as a change of pace. The junior, who bulked up to 200 pounds in the offseason, once excelled as a goal-line back for the Sooners but inherited the starter's role when Quentin Griffin departed.

        Jones had 63 yards and a touchdown against Texas.

        "We expected to be able to run the football, and it wasn't just Adrian," Stoops said. "I think our offensive line and the way they played are all part of running the ball. We're improving with it."

        The Sooners' defense also had its best performance of the season, holding Cedric Benson to 92 yards and shutting out a Texas team that hadn't been held scoreless since 1980.

        Oklahoma came up with three turnovers, including two in its own territory, and twice sacked Texas quarterback Vince Young to knock the Longhorns out of field-goal range.

        "I thought defensively, maybe not too many people recognize or give those guys much credit," Stoops said. "I felt all along we were on the verge of really playing well defensively."

        Stoops said he believed the rivalry game in the past had been a helpful boost...
        -10-11-2004, 01:40 PM
      • DJRamFan
        Michigan phenom Hart looks foward to Columbus crowd
        by DJRamFan
        Nov. 18, 2004 wire reports

        ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Some athletes thrive off the energy their fans provide during home games.


        Mike Hart is just the opposite.

        The freshman Michigan running back knows he'll be the enemy Saturday at Ohio State -- yet he's looking forward to the experience.

        "I love being booed. To me, there's nothing better than that," Hart said. "I'd rather get booed. It gives me a lot more incentive."

        Listed at 5-feet-9 and 194 pounds -- though he might not be that tall or heavy -- Hart is used to being doubted, jeered and taunted.

        "I just like going into situations that are against you," he said. "It's probably because of my little size."

        If Hart can do what he has done for much of the year for No. 7 Michigan, the Buckeyes' rowdy fans might be silenced.

        Hart averages a Big Ten-best 131.1 yards rushing -- ninth in the country -- despite carrying the ball just eight times in the first two games and not starting until the fifth game of the season.

        Hart also leads the conference with 150.5 all-purpose yards per game.

        "He came in and surprised a lot of people," Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk said. "He's a great running back. He's not a huge guy, but he breaks a lot of tackles.

        "It's a pretty big challenge to stop a guy like that because if a couple of defensive guys are out of place, he'll find the mistake and hit the crease and make you pay."

        Hart's 1,311 yards rank 13th in Michigan history for a season rushing total. If he matches his average Saturday, he'll move into seventh place.

        He ran for 151 yards in Michigan's 42-20 win over Northwestern last week for his school-record fifth straight 150-yard game.


        Against the Wildcats, he also moved past Ohio State's Maurice Clarett (1,237 yards) into third place on the conference list for single-season rushing by a freshman. Just Wisconsin's Ron Dayne (2,109) and Minnesota's Darrell Thompson (1,376) ran for more yards than Hart as Big Ten freshmen.

        Hawk compared Hart to Clarett.

        "Both can see the hole and know when to cut it back," Hawk said.

        Michigan coach Lloyd Carr knew he would have to replace Chris Perry, now an NFL rookie in Cincinnati, but he wasn't sure the recruit from upstate New York could handle the task.

        "This is a guy that came out of a very small high school, and a lot of people questioned whether his competition was strong enough," Carr said. "I can't say to you that I thought he would be leading the Big Ten in rushing this late in the season, because I didn't. But I didn't have any question that...
        -11-18-2004, 12:42 PM
      • DJRamFan
        Mack Brown Breaks Oklahoma Curse
        by DJRamFan
        Longhorns roll in Red River Rivalry.

        Oct. 8, 2005

        By Jeff Sullivan
        Special to from The Sports Xchange

        DALLAS -- The talk this week in Texas and Oklahoma was that despite the No. 2 Longhorns' status as two-touchdown favorites, the 100th game of the Red River Rivalry was going to be worthy of its centennial title.

        Some believed that despite having already lost to TCU and UCLA this autumn, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops would somehow cajole his Sooners to a sixth straight victory in one of the nation's most-intense rivalries.

        Instead, in front of 75,452 fans at the Cotton Bowl, Texas ended a half-decade of frustration by dominating Oklahoma, 45-12.

        The Longhorns have never defeated Oklahoma by more than 33 points. In 1941, Texas also enjoyed a 33-point verdict, 40-7. The 45 points tallied by Texas also represented an all-time high against its border-state counterpart.

        Entering Saturday, since 2000, Texas had won 53 of 57 regular-season games against teams not residing in Norman, Okla. And despite being the defending Rose Bowl champions and defeating Ohio State on the road earlier this season, the pressure of Saturday's game rested mightily on Texas mentor Mack Brown. The Dallas Morning News ran a special section Saturday with a front-page headline of "Mack on the Spot."

        The Longhorns dominated every aspect of the game, though, and it was quickly apparent that Brown's five-year losing streak at OU's hands would end.

        TOP PLAYER: Who else? As he has in previous national spotlight games -- last season's Rose Bowl and at Ohio State in September -- Texas junior quarterback Vince Young performed as advertised and then some.

        His final numbers included 241 passing yards, three touchdowns tosses, zero interceptions and 45 rushing yards. And while those numbers are quite impressive, there was no padding of the stat sheet simply to boost Young's Heisman Trophy candidacy.

        After telling anyone who would listen all week that Texas wasn't going to play nervous with demons of the five-game losing streak in their collective heads, Young drove the Longhorns 82 yards for a score on the game's opening drive. He completed each of his five attempts on the drive for 60 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown hookup with sophomore Ramonce Taylor, and also ran for a pair of first downs.

        Young sent Oklahoma into the intermission reeling after a 64-yard scoring connection with sophomore Billy Pittman with just 17 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

        With the three touchdown passes, Young's career numbers include 28 passing touchdowns and 27 rushing scores.

        KEY QUOTE: "We've had a tough time in this series. I'm not proud of that and I feel responsible for that. To see the kids out on the field with...
        -10-09-2005, 12:52 PM