ANDRE WILLIAMS FOR HEISMAN
The Case for Boston College's Record-Setting Halfback
November 26th, 2013
November 26th, 2013
Some years we are given a Saturday where it seems that no one wants to win the Heisman. Week 13 was just that for the 2013 season. Entering Saturday, the consensus Top 5 was Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Bryce Petty, and AJ McCarron. Players ranked 2 through 4 all played some of the worst football of their careers, leaving a wide open gap for new candidates to emerge. Among those bursting into the Heisman discussion: Boston College RB Andre Williams. Here is the case for #HeismANDRE44
Saturday, Williams became just the 16th player in NCAA Division 1 History to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. Still with a game remaining, Williams is averaging 188 yards per game. His 2073 rush yard total is more than 80 TEAM's total rush yardage for the season. Five times this season Williams has topped 200 yards, 4 of which rank in Boston College's Top 5 best rushing games in school history. Williams is peaking at the right time - his last three game's rush totals were 295, 339, and 263. The 339 yards against NC State on Senior Day broke the ACC record for single-game rushing. Before you point to the high number of carries, take note of his average yards per carry, a very high 8.6 ypc over the last 3 games (6.5 on the season). He is both a workhorse and an explosive runner.
The stats are impressive enough in black and white. But keep in mind the context of Boston College's offense. Coach Addazio certainly prefers the run-based offense, and given QB Chase Rettig's lack of play-making ability, BC has become a predictable rushing offense. Teams know what is coming, it's no surprise. Defensive Coordinators recognize that BC's pass game is not very dangerous, and that all production will have to come through #44. Naturally, teams pack the box, putting even 9 defenders up close within 5 yards of the line. And still, with these run defense packages, Andre thrives. It seems that as the season has progressed (and teams are more certain what is coming), he runs stronger, angrier, and his crazy yardage reflects that.
WINNING RECORD (7-4 going on 8-4)
Some are quick to point out his 'poor record' and the high number of losses. Before dismissing him based on the 4 L's, you again need to take into consideration the context of the Boston College Football Program. The past two seasons under Coach Spaziani were 4-8 and 2-10, with some of the lowest recruiting classes in all of the BCS. Entering the season, Boston College was a consensus pick for last place in the ACC, and often placed in the bottom 5 of the entire BCS. Winning 7 or 8 games coming off of the school's lowest point is more a benefit to his candidacy than a negative. In a similar sense, Robert Griffin III was applauded for bringing lowly Baylor to 9-3. Toby Gerhart was also promoted for bringing Stanford back to bowl season after a string of losing seasons out on the Farm. Now, if the team in question was a perennial power, 4 losses would eliminate the player from contention. Boston College is not Alabama, and Williams should be awarded for this amazing turn-around in Chestnut Hill.
While Boston College hasn't pulled off the 'signature upset win,' they are credited with making invincible Florida State look human. BC even led FSU right before halftime (until Jameis completed the Hail Mary TD). How did they push around the 'Noles and give them their toughest test so far? Behind the workhorse himself, #44. Williams rushed 28 times for 149 yards (the most allowed by FSU all season). He also led the Eagles to give then-undefeated Clemson a close scare. The ACC record-breaking game came on his Senior Day and clinched bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010. His 5 rushing touchdowns against Army is also a school record.
From the Heisman Trophy's Mission Statement, it is awarded to the "most outstanding player in college football whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity." For the above reasons, Andre Williams deserves to hoist the trophy on December 14th in Downtown New York City.