Branden Oliver

Semifinalists announced for Doak Walker Award

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A total of 10 running backs were unveiled as semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, the award’s board of directors announced Thursday.

Included in the group is Boston College’s Andre Williams, who currently leads the nation in rushing yards (1,471) and rushing yards per game (163.4).  Six of the current Top 10 in rushing are represented: Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews (No. 2), Washington’s Bishop Sankey (No. 3), Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey (No. 6), Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah (No. 7) and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon (No. 9).

The only ones from the Top 10 who are not a part of the 2013 Walker semifinalists Buffalo’s Branden Oliver (No. 5), Bowling Green Travis Greene (No. 8) and Colorado State’s Kapri Bibbs (No. 10), who has rushed for the most yards by a running back in a single game this season and leads the country with 19 rushing touchdowns.  The No. 4 rusher in the country, Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch, is a quarterback.

No semifinalists from a year ago were included in this year’s group as well.

Wisconsin’s Montee Ball was the 2012 Doak Walker Award winner.

Ameer Abdullah, Junior, Nebraska
Antonio Andrews, Senior, Western Kentucky
Ka’Deem Carey, Junior, Arizona
Mike Davis, Sophomore, South Carolina
Tyler Gaffney, Senior, Stanford
Melvin Gordon, Sophomore, Wisconsin
Tre Mason, Junior, Auburn
Bishop Sankey, Junior, Washington
Lache Seastrunk, Junior, Baylor
Andre Williams, Senior Boston College

MAC East now a two-team race

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If there was one thing we learned watching college football Tuesday night, it is that the MAC East division is now officially a two-team race to Detroit. Buffalo (7-2, 5-0 MAC) and Bowling Green (6-4, 4-1 MAC) picked up some blowout victories Tuesday night, which means the Bulls and Falcons will be set-up for a collision course in the regular season finale if they can get through the next few weeks unscathed.

Bowling Green cruised by Miami Ohio to become eligible for the postseason for a second straight season. Bowling Green recorded a 45-3 victory that was every bit as dominating as the score would indicate. Quarterback Matt Johnson threw three touchdowns and passed for 252 yards and Travis Greene led all players with 112 rushing yards.

Buffalo used their strong running game to take care of Ohio, 30-3. Buffalo’s Branden Oliver rushed for 249 yards and two touchdowns. It was the fifth straight game Oliver rushed for over 100 yards and second time in that span he rushed for 200 yards. Buffalo’s defense also shut down Ohio from start to finish, holding the Bobcats to just a field goal in the win.

These two teams now can control the outcome of the MAC East race. Buffalo has a tricky match-up next week on the road at Toledo and follows that up with another road game at struggling Miami Ohio. Bowling Green will host Ohio and play at Eastern Michigan before the final game of the regular season. If Buffalo and Bowling Green can get by their next two games without a loss, the division will come down to the regular season finale between Buffalo and Bowling Green in Buffalo on Friday, November 29.

Ohio can still wiggle back in but will need the Bulls and Falcons to lose to help them out. Whoever comes out of the East will likely have a chance to block Northern Illinois from another MAC title, and perhaps a second straight BCS berth.

Of course, that is just assuming Northern Illinois gets by Ball State first.

MAC East race taking center stage

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It is Tuesday night in November, so the MAC is here just for you. While Northern Illinois is still holding strong as the banner program of the MAC right now, vying for a second straight BCS bowl trip this January, the MAC East is getting a chance to show off its division race for the right to potentially dethrone Jordan Lynch and the Huskies.

Buffalo (6-2, 4-0 MAC) and Ohio (6-2, 3-1 MAC) are going toe-to-toe up in New York while Bowling Green (5-3, 3-1 MAC) is looking to take care of their business on the road against Miami Ohio (0-8, 0-4). Buffalo started Tuesday with the upper hand in the MAC East division and Ohio and Bowling Green are right behind the Bulls. Buffalo and Bowling Green play in the regular season finale on November 29 in a game that could end up deciding which teams advances to the MAC Championship Game in Detroit.

Buffalo’s defense has been the story of the first half in the big game tonight. The Bulls have held the Bobcats without a third down conversion at the half. Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton has thrown for just 54 yards. Buffalo running back Branden Oliver has the game’s only score, a powerful touchdown run early in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead. Buffalo leads 7-3 at the half..

Bowling Green is doing their part in the first half against lowly Miami Ohio, leading the RedHawks 24-3 at halftime. Matt Johnson has thrown two touchdowns in the first half and the Falcons defense has shut down Miami’s running game by allowing 23 yards on 15 rushing attempts. A win for Bowling Green will make the Falcons bowl eligible for the second straight season. Bowling Green has not been eligible for postseason play in consecutive years since 2003-2004.

There will be more MAC goodness Wednesday night, with Ball State (8-1, 5-0 MAC) hosting Central Michigan (3-5, 2-2 MAC) with a chance to keep pace with Northern Illinois in the division standings. Ball State will visit Northern Illinois next Wednesday as well.

Carey, Yeldon among 63 RBs on Doak Walker Award preseason watch list

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Oh, you know. Just another preseason watch list coming your way.

The Doak Walker Award, given annually to college football’s most outstanding running back, released its preseason watch list on Friday with 63 candidates. Among those to be included were Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, who was the nation’s leading rusher in 2012, Miami’s Duke Johnson, Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon.

The winner of the Doak Walker Award will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 12. Last year’s winner was Wisconsin’s Montee Ball.

As always, you can view the entire list of preseason candidates below. You can now also check out our preseason watch lists repository HERE.

Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Michael Alisa, BYU
Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky
Dri Archer, Kent State
Brendan Bigelow, California
Beau Blankenship, Ohio
Alfred Blue, LSU
Dominique Brown, Louisville
Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
B.J. Catalon, TCU
Orleans Darkwa, Tulane
Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
Trayion Durham, Kent State
Jahwan Edwards, Ball State
David Fluellen, Toledo
D.J. Foster, Arizona State
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Marion Grice, Arizona State
Todd Gurley, Georgia
Joe Hill, Utah State
John Hubert, Kansas State
Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Waymon James, TCU
Duke Johnson, Miami
Storm Johnson, UCF
Matt Jones, Florida
Henry Josey, Missouri
Ben Malena, Texas A&M
Raymond Maples, Army
Venric Mark, Northwestern
Keith Marshall, Georgia
Glasco Martin, Baylor
Tre Mason, Auburn
Lyle McCombs, Connecticut
Adam Muema, San Diego State
David Oku, Arkansas State
Branden Oliver, Buffalo
Jordan Parker, Middle Tennessee
LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State
Senorise Perry, Louisville
Christian Powell, Colorado
Darrin Reaves, UAB
Silas Redd, USC
Bishop Sankey, Washington
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
David Sims, Georgia Tech
James Sims, Kansas
Kiero Small, Arkansas
Jeremy Smith, Oklahoma State
Jerome Smith, Syracuse
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Zurlon Tipton, Central Michigan
Trey Watts, Tulsa
Mark Weisman, Iowa
James White, Iowa State
James White, Wisconsin
Andre Williams, Boston College
Damien Williams, Oklahoma
Jamaal Williams, BYU
Jonathan Williams, Arkansas
Storm Woods, Oregon State
T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
Zach Zwinak, Penn State