MADISON, WI (WSAU) Wisconsin senior Montee Ball won the Doak Walker Award last night as college football’s top running back. He beat out Kenjon Barner of Oregon and Johnathan Franklin of U-C-L-A for the honor. Ball said his heart jumped out of his chest when he heard the names of the finalists – and he’s blessed to win the award.
Ball has 17-hundred-30 rushing yards this season, as the Badgers go into the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day against Stanford. And Ball has 21 touchdowns, in a year in which he broke the N-C-A-A record for career T-D’s. He said his blockers and coaches share in the award, and he thanked them.
It’s been a rough season for Ball and his Badgers. Ball was attacked in early August in the apparent aftermath of a campus brawl involving some of his teammates. Then he had a rough start on the field, as poor blocking resulted in the early firing of offensive line coach Mike Markuson. Ball then excelled the rest of the way – but his team lost three overtime games at the end of the regular season before crushing Nebraska in the Big Ten title contest.
Ball said he now sees all of it as quote, “a blessing in disguise.” He said he learned that he’ll always face adversity – and the definition of a man is how he overcomes it.