University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball nearly tied Barry Sanders' season touchdown record this past Saturday, finding the end zone four times against the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championship Game. Ball needs two touchdowns against the Oregon Ducks in the 2012 Rose Bowl to break Sanders' record 39 touchdowns. Despite the ramped up Heisman talk in recent weeks, Ball shied away from the accomplishment after the Badgers' win.
"I'm happy to go to California with my teammates, honestly," he said, referring to the trip to the Rose Bowl to play Oregon. "And if it happens, it happens. The only thing I'm in control of is playing my hardest in the Rose Bowl."
Thankfully, Wisconsin safety Aaron Henry was there to pimp his modest teammate during the interview.
"Can I answer that question for him?" he asked. "Montee is a modest young man, you can see. We faced one of the best run defenses in the country. For him to have the performance he had tonight, I thought it was stellar.
"He is a Heisman candidate no matter how you look at it. For him to be - I mean, he should be going there. I don't know if he should win it or not. We've got some great finalists, but this guy's one of the best backs in the country, hands down."
Ball hopes (we think) to be headed to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony after finalists are announced Monday night. He helped his case against a Spartan rush defense ranked 12th in the country, gaining 137 yards on 27 carries. Ball will face off against another potential Heisman finalist running back in Oregon's LaMichael James in the Rose Bowl.
For more Ball and the Badgers, be sure to visit the SB Nation blog Bucky's 5th Quarter. Check out Addicted To Quack for more on the Ducks. Head over to the official site of the Rose Bowl for more on the game.