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November 29, 2009
Gerhart earns top honor with Heisman-like effort
With a crush of fans surrounding Stanford running back Toby Gerhart and coach Jim Harbaugh after Saturday night's come-from-behind victory over Notre Dame, the coach endorsed his player for a certain postseason award.
"He deserves the Heisman Trophy. That's what I say," Harbaugh told the TV audience.
Not that Gerhart really needed his coach to bring up the "H" word. Gerhart had done a good job of making his own statement with his play against Notre Dame. In his final game of the regular season, Gerhart punished the Irish defense for 205 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries to earn Rivals.com National Player of the Week honors.
Stanford also mixed in a halfback pass for Gerhart, allowing him to throw an 18-yard touchdown pass for the tying score in the 45-38 victory. Gerhart also scored the winning touchdown in the final minute. On Stanford's final drive, he carried the ball seven times for 54 yards, including the 4-yard touchdown run to clinch the win.
It was Gerhart's third 200-yard game of the season, and he has 26 rushing touchdowns.
"How can you not at least invite him to the ceremony?" Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck asked. "He took the team on his back."
Once South Carolina finally unveiled its version of the "Wildcat" with Gilmore, a true freshman, the Gamecocks never looked back. Gilmore rushed for 20 yards and completed a 39-yard pass on the way to a first-quarter score in a 34-17 upset of rival Clemson. Gilmore also started on defense, where he recorded four tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. In addition, Gilmore averaged 10.3 yards on three punt returns. Coach Steve Spurrier said the package had been part of the offense all season, but coaches didn't decide to use it until Saturday.
Entering the "Bedlam Game," Oklahoma had little to gain besides bowl positioning and bragging rights. Oklahoma State, on the other hand, had an opportunity to secure a spot in its first BCS game. The Sooners' pride won out in a big way, especially on defense. Venables' defense held Oklahoma State to season-lows in rushing (62 yards), passing (48) and total offense (109) in a 27-0 whitewashing. The shutout was Oklahoma's third of the season, but the first against a Big 12 opponent.
David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.