At the start of the 2009 season Mark Ingram wasn't really on the Heisman radar. Sure, we all knew he was capable of great things with his stellar 2008 season alongside Glen Coffee, but no one was pegging him as a favorite to win college football's most coveted award.
Trent Richardson, on the other hand, was on many short lists to strike a pose in New York at season's end. Despite a slow start for Richardson, he has worked himself back into the discussion with the likes of Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson.
So how does Trent's mid-season mark rank with Ingram's 2009 run?
Statistically he is superior to Ingram.
Richardson has 729 yards on 115 carries along with 11 touchdowns.
Ingram had 111 carries for 659 yards and eight touchdowns.
Richardson also owns a yards-per-carry edge at 6.3 to 5.9.
The biggest difference to me at this point is the profile for these two backs.
Richardson was a sure-fire Heisman candidate before the season kicked off, but cooled a bit after a bad 13 carries for 37 yards against Kent State.
He has since picked up a head of steam with five straight 100-yard games for Alabama putting him just one game shy of the six-game record held by Shaun Alexander.
Richardson also has benefited from a big time performance on huge marquee game at Florida where he turned in career bests in yards and carries for the Tide's romp over the Gators. The fact that he did it against a perceived talent-rich Florida defense only added to his momentum.
Ingram's 2009 Heisman campaign really only began to blossom after back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances against Kentucky and Ole Miss.
Through six games, these two backs are pretty much at identical spots in terms of chasing the Heisman trophy.
The big question is will Richardson have the type of season-changing performance in the second half of the season like Ingram did?
Ingram really took control of the Heisman race with his remarkable 246-yard performance against South Carolina. That was the seventh game of the season and Alabama literally put the game in his hands running out of the "Wildcat" formation to seal the victory.
Richardson will certainly have his shot, and none will be bigger than that giant Nov. 5 matchup with LSU.
If he can continue to be consistently strong and have a great game against the Bayou Bengals, then I find it hard to believe he won't be invited to New York.
One disadvantage for Richardson is the strength of his Heisman competition. Ingram was able to survive a terrible performance his 12th game at Auburn and still take the trophy with a rebound in the SEC Championship Game.
No one seemed to claim the award in 2009, leaving the race wide open and providing the closest vote in Heisman history.
This season the field is very strong with stellar performers like Luck, Wilson, Kellen Moore and Robert Griffin III. I doubt Trent can have any slip-ups down the stretch if he wants to deliver another trophy to The Capstone.
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