“Russellmania” arrived on a national stage Saturday night. The pinpoint passing. The elusive rushing. The impressive multifaceted skill set in an era of greater offensive production.
Fans in ACC country knew Russell Wilson existed the past three years. Much of the rest of the country didn’t because he played for a middle-of-the-road N.C. State team.
Rare is the ACC football export to the Big Ten. But after helping Wisconsin demolish Nebraska 48-17 Saturday night in the Badgers’ conference opener, Wilson is a full-fledged Heisman Trophy candidate as the season approaches its midpoint.
Why? Wilson has just about everything a serious 21st-century candidate for the stiff-arming statute needs.
Is he on a national title contender? No question. The Badgers were already in the top 10 after a series of nonconference pummelings. Their remaining road schedule isn’t necessarily easy — Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota and Illinois — but it is manageable.
Is he his team’s MVP? After the Badgers (5-0) slogged through much of the last decade with quarterbacks who were exceptional at making sure the trains ran on time in a power rushing scheme, Wilson provides an impressively dangerous element in the backfield.
Is he a national name? Now he is. A season-opening rout of UNLV helped introduce him to fans who barely knew him for his exploits at N.C. State. Saturday’s destruction of Nebraska cemented that.
And does he have a school-sponsored Heisman campaign? Well, the Twitter feed @RussellManiaXVI debuted early Sunday.
All this for a guy who was given his release in the spring at N.C. State and agreed to play at Wisconsin only in the final days of June.
(Meanwhile, Wilson’s former N.C. State teammates fell to 2-3 with a loss to Georgia Tech. Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien is an easy target for casting Wilson loose, but his team’s problems run far deeper than quarterback. N.C. State’s depth issues — very much O’Brien’s responsibility in his fifth season — warrant more scrutiny than Wilson’s superstardom elsewhere.)
Wilson enters his bye week with 13 touchdowns and one interception, and he ranks second nationally in passing efficiency. If Wilson and Wisconsin make it through the regular season unbeaten, count on seeing him at the Heisman ceremony in New York in December.
• Alabama. The Crimson Tide dished out a 38-10 woodshedding to Florida at the Swamp. It might not be the best victory of the season, but with 5.3 yards per rush while yielding 0.5 yards a carry to the Gators, it is among the most impressive.
• Washington State. The long-beleaguered Cougars beat Colorado in their Pac-12 opener to improve to 3-1. Struggling UCLA and Oregon State loom within the next three weeks; wins in those games would put Paul Wulff’s team on the precipice of its first bowl berth since 2003.
• Ron Zook. The Zooker gets a new athletic director, and all he does is start the season 5-0. The Illini barely got there while edging Northwestern and have won three straight by a field goal, but they are still off to their best start since 1951.View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Although contemporary American politics is an unforgiving environment, it’s still wide open to implement a legitimate worldview based on timeless Biblical values.
Sometimes life requires a paradigm twist.
We all eat, and food should be fun and healthful. Food Commune celebrates the food we eat, the people we eat with and the spirits we enjoy.
First over-the-counter column approved for fast and effective relief from even your worst media-induced headache.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall