Why Mike Riley Thinks Kenjon Barner Was Robbed of the Doak Walker Award

Kyle BoggsCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2012

CORVALLIS, OR - NOVEMBER 24:  Kenjon Barner #24 of the Oregon Ducks out runs the defense of the Oregon State Beavers during the 116th Civil War on November 24, 2012 at the Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Montee Ball was robbed of the Heisman Trophy a year ago when he tied Barry Sanders’ single-season record for rushing touchdowns. As a consolation prize, he won the Doak Walker Award as the top running back this season.

But did he deserve it? If you ask Oregon State coach Mike Riley, I bet the answer is no.

Of the three Walker finalists—Wisconsin’s Ball was joined by UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin and Oregon’s Kenjon Barner—none of them had particularly dazzling numbers this season:


Ball           332 carries, 1,730 yards (5.2 yards per carry), 21 TDs; 9 catches, 65 yards (7.2      yards per catch), 0 TDs.

Franklin         268 carries, 1,700 yards (6.3), 13 TDs; 32 catches, 319 yards (10.0), 2 TDs.

Barner            248 carries, 1,624 yards (6.5), 21 TDs; 19 catches, 232 yards (12.2), 1 TD.


None of those jumps out like Ball’s 39 touchdowns a season ago.

The logical step in a tight race for a single-season award is to look for a common denominator. (Unless of course we’re talking about the Heisman Trophy, in which case you need a Heisman moment—whatever that is. If those do in fact exist, didn’t Barner have one against USC when he rushed for more yards against the Trojans than anyone ever had before?)

We have a common denominator in Oregon State University.

The Beavers are the only team to have played all three Doak Walker finalists. Here’s how each of the backs fared against the Beavers:


Ball      15 carries, 61 yards. 4 catches, 18 yards. 0 TDs.

Franklin          12 carries, 45 yards. 1 catch, 11 yards. 0 TDs.

Barner            28 carries, 198 yards. 0 catches. 2 TDs.


Perhaps it goes without saying that Barner’s Ducks were the only team to beat the Beavers.

Oregon State’s defense shut out two of the nation’s top three running backs. The Beavers were shredded by one of the three.

That one, however, did not go home with a trophy Thursday night.