BOSTON (AP) — Andre Williams had already rushed for more than 2,000 yards heading into Boston College's regular-season finale. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was being investigated for sexual assault, and his Heisman Trophy stock was falling.
For a few days, it looked like the BC running back might have a chance to bring home college football's most prestigious individual honor.
Then, Florida prosecutors decided not to bring charges against Winston, removing what was seen as the last impediment to his Heisman candidacy. And Williams was injured in the season finale against Syracuse, finishing with 29 yards in the game — far short of the almost 190 yards per week he was averaging this season.
And that might have been the end of his Heisman chances.
"I was more worried about how it was going to affect our bowl chances," Williams said this week after he was announced as one of six Heisman finalists to be invited to the award ceremony on Saturday. "The only opportunity we really missed is being able to get that eighth win against Syracuse. I really wasn't worried about Heisman polls."
The nation's leading rusher with 175 yards per game and only the 16th player in FBS history to surpass 2,000 yards in a season, Williams was already at a nearby mall shopping for clothes for the Doak Walker Award ceremony when he learned in a text from associate athletic director Barry Gallup that he was a Heisman finalist.
Williams won the Doak Walker, which is given to the nation's top running back, on Thursday night.
Now, he has a side trip to New York for Saturday's Heisman ceremony.
"I just feel blessed to have the opportunity to go to the ceremony and be around these other great athletes," Williams said. "Whoever wins it, congratulations to them, because it's a monumental achievement."
There was a time when running backs routinely brought home the Heisman.
They won 11 straight from John Cappelletti in 1973 until Boston College's Doug Flutie interrupted the streak in 1984. Bo Jackson and Barry Sanders were also good enough to get their names on the trophy along with the quarterbacks and receivers in the 1980s, and four more rushers — including Ricky Williams — claimed it in the '90s.