OSU: Kendall still a Heisman Hunter?
Kendall Hunter is off my Heisman Trophy ballot.
A less-than-stellar week tends to have that effect.
But here’s the thing: the so-so performance that the Oklahoma State tailback had last weekend against Tulsa might actually help get him back on my ballot and onto many others.
Here’s the deal — Tulsa schemed its whole defense around stopping Kendall Hunter. The Golden Hurricane did so to its own demise, losing 65-28, but hey, it did slow down Hunter. He managed only 59 yards rushing and 29 yards receiving. He still averaged 5.4 yards per rush and 9.7 yards per reception, but 88 total yards does not a Heisman voter sway.
And yet, that game against Tulsa could be a springboard for Hunter.
He only toted the ball 14 times last weekend. That means next week when OSU plays a Thursday night game against Texas A&M, Hunter is going to be extra fresh. He was going to have a few extra recovery days with the long week, but now, he has the benefit of those extra days and a light load against Tulsa.
That could pay huge dividends for the Cowboys and for Hunter’s Heisman chances.
This A&M game is a showcase game. It’s on Thursday night. It’s in prime time. It’s the only game of the night. Everyone will be watching. And Hunter has a chance to be at his absolute best.
If he goes out and runs for 200 yards — which is entirely possible against this A&M defense — he will leap onto the national scene and will be a serious Heisman contender by Friday morning.
But that Tulsa game has a chance to pay dividends beyond next week.
A running back only has so many carries in his legs because of the pounding he takes and the effort he exerts. The fact that Hunter didn’t have to use many of those carries on Tulsa is big. It means he could be better longer this season.
And really, if he starts racking up 150- and 200-yard games in Big 12 play, Heisman voters aren’t going to knock him for a sub-par performance against Tulsa. They’ll see that OSU won big, they’ll notice that Brandon Weeden had 409 yards passing in a little over a half, and they’ll know that the Cowboys didn’t need Hunter to run for a ton of yards.
Kendall Hunter may not be on my Heisman ballot right now — Terrelle Pryor, Kellen Moore and Denard Robinson have my top three spots — but that doesn’t mean the Cowboy tailback has disappeared forever. In fact, this little lull could be the thing that helps put him on the map.
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