Why Toby Gerhart Should Runaway with the Heisman Trophy

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IDecember 5, 2009

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 21:  Toby Gerhart #7 of the Stanford Cardinal runs with the ball during their game against the California Bears at Stanford Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There's no question about it, Toby Gerhart should runaway with the Heisman Trophy. Some voters will punish Gerhart for being on a team that had a record of 8-4, but right now the Stanford Cardinal are ranked 23rd in the country.

When looking at the schedule the Cardinal lost to Wake Forest, lost to Oregon State, lost to Arizona, and lost to California. Three out of the four teams that Stanford has lost to are teams that have been or are currently ranked in the top 25.

Stanford also had some key wins this year in back to back weeks the Cardinal beat Oregon who won the Pac-10 title and are heading to the Rosebowl and USC, each of those teams were ranked in the top 15 in the country at the time the game was played. Stanford also defeated the Washington Huskies when the team was ranked number 24 in the country.

More importantly though when looking at the player who made the Cardinal's offense go it was Gerhart. He is the Offensive Player of the Year for the Pac-10! Gerhart finished the season with 311 carries, 1736 yards, a 5.6 yards per carry average, and 26 touchdowns. He also contributed 10 receptions for 149 yards.

What's impressive about Gerhart he doesn't look like a typical running back he's more of a fullback in terms of size. Gerhart stand 6'1 and weighs 240 pounds, so he's able to move defenders when he runs because of his strength.

Gerhart will never be confused as a running back who could break a long run of 80 yards, but he is the type of running back that the Cardinal can hand the ball off too over and over again and eventually Gerhart will tire that defense out.

What's even more impressive is the fact that the least amount of yards that Gerhart had in a game was 82 yards on 17 carries against Wake Forest and the only other team to keep Gerhart under 100 yards was Oregon State who held him to 96 yards.

Gerhart's best game of the season was against Oregon in which he carried the ball 38 times, rushed for 223 yards, and had three touchdowns. The Cardinal just pounded Oregon's defense with Gehart.

The Oregon game wasn't the only time that Gerhart rushed for at least 200 yards. Against Washington, Gerhart had 200 yards on 27 carries and against Notre Dame he had 205 yards on 29 carries. 

Wake Forest was the only team that held Gerhart out of the endzone. He made up for that by having five games with three or more touchdowns. Against UCLA, Oregon, USC, and Notre Dame Gerhart ran for three touchdowns and against California Gerhart had four touchdowns on the ground.

In fact in his last four games of the season against Oregon, USC, California, and Notre dame he ran for 13 touchdowns. So, half of Gerhart's touchdown totals came in the last four games of the season.  

Yet, even with all those numbers the most impressive accomplishment for Gerhart is the fact that he did not fumble once this year.

Then there's the question who is actually the competition for the Heisman this year? The answer is Colt McCoy and Mark Ingram.

Looking at McCoy's numbers, he's 310-432 for 3328 yards, thrown 27 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and has contributed two rushing touchdowns.

McCoy has thrown for under 200 yards three times this year. With one of those games being a 21-39 effort for just 127 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. That was against a ranked Oklahoma team.

Oklahoma State and Baylor were the other two teams that McCoy did not throw for at least 200 yards.

What helps McCoy's cause is the fact that he like Gerhart has finished the season strong. In fact McCoy's best game of the season came against Texas A&M where he went 24-40 for 304 yards, four touchdowns, and carried the ball 18 times, rushed for 175 yards, and had a touchdown.

But, looking at Texas Longhorns' schedule it becomes even more clear on why Gerhart should be running away with the award. After today's game against Nebraska the Longhorns will have played only three teams that were ranked in the top 25.

Those teams were Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Nebraska.

Mark Ingram has 221 carries, 1429 yards, a 6.5 yards per carry average, and 12 touchdowns. He's also contributed 28 receptions for 246 yards and three touchdowns. Meaning that on the year Ingram has 15 touchdowns combined.

Ingram has had five games where he was held to under 100 yards including. In fact his worst game of the season was for 16 carries and 30 yards. Three times this year Ingram was held out of the endzone on the ground.

His most touchdowns in a game was two and that happened three times. Those games came against Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Chattanooga.

The five games where Ingram did not reach 100 yards came against Florida International, North Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Auburn.

Ingram's best game came against South Carolina in which he carried the ball 24 times for 246 yards, and had a touchdown.

His long on the season was for 70 yards and that was against Mississippi State.

Unlike Gerhart and McCoy who have gotten it done in finding the endzone, Ingram has not in his last four games he has just four touchdowns.

What would push Ingram over McCoy, but not Gerhart was the fact that Alabama had a much tougher schedule than Texas. Five times this year Alabama has played teams that were ranked in the top 25.

Including after today's game three in the top 10. Virginia Tech, LSU, and Florida.

Yet, when you're talking about the Heisman you're not talking about which player is on the best team. You're talking about which player is the most valuable to their team.

It's clear which player was the most valuable to their team and that was Gerhart.