Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Some love for Salaam's 1994 season
By Ted Miller
"College Football Live" made of list of the greatest individual seasons in college football history this month, and it left off a great season from Colorado's 1994 Heisman Trophy winning running back Rashaan Salaam.
At least one reader pleaded for some consideration of Salaam, and not without justification. In 1994 he was just the fourth player to rush for more than 2,000 yards (2,055) in a season. This was before bowl games counted, which has served to inflate recent numbers.
Salaam, who won the Heisman over Penn State great Ki-Jana Carter and an impressive list of other players, led the nation in rushing, scoring (24 touchdowns) and all-purpose yards (213.8). He played for a team that finished 11-1 and ranked No. 3 in the final polls. But it wasn't just about his numbers or his team's success. It was about quality opposition.
Colorado played six ranked teams -- three top-10 teams -- during the first eight weeks of the season. Through eight games, Salaam had rushed for 1,390 yards; 1,041 against ranked teams. That's 173.5 yards per game against ranked foes.
That crew of Buffs, by the way, was a heck of a collection of players, particularly on offense. Early in the season, it wasn't easy to figure who the team's top Heisman candidate was: Salaam, quarterback Kordell Stewart or receiver Michael Westbrook. Westbrook made "The Catch" at Michigan that season, one of the all-time great college football stunners. By the way, Salaam had 141 yards in the Big House, more than any visiting back since Ohio State's Archie Griffin in 1973.
The next weekend at Texas, Salaam rushed for 317 yards, with a school record 362 all-purpose yards.
The only time he was held to fewer than 100 yards was against Wisconsin. Of course, he did score four touchdowns against the Badgers.
Salaam hit 2,000 yards in game 11. How? With 1,988 yards entering the fourth quarter, he took a pitch against Iowa State and raced 67 yards for a touchdown.
Here's the game-by-game for Salaam's 1994 season, with his carries, yards and touchdowns.