Boston College's Andre Williams Should Run Away With The Doak Walker Award

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Not sure why this is even a question.

On Wednesday, as part of the the Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN, the 2013 Doak Walker Award will be presented to the nation's premier running back. Boston College senior running back Andre Williams is up against Arizona junior Ka'Deem Carey and Washington junior Bishop Sankey for the award, and is poised to join a handful of former Eagle greats to bring some national individual hardware back to the Heights.

Last week, ESPN's Pac-12 blogger Kevin Gemmell went about the task of arguing that the Doak Walker Award belongs to one of the Pac-12 backs; not Williams. Let's break down Gemmell's argument:

Carey has rushed for at least 100 yards in every game this season. Williams has not.

Carey has rushed for at least 100 yards in every game this season he has played. He only played in 11 games this season after getting suspended for the opener vs. Northern Arizona for a pair of run-ins with the law over the offseason.

The counter is that Williams has rushed for at least 200 yards in five games this season and once for over 300 yards. Sankey has three 200+ yard performances. Carey has two.

Sankey has scored at least one rushing touchdown in every game this season. Williams has not.

So Sankey is consistent, I guess. Still, Sankey finishes the season with just one more rushing TD (18) than either Williams or Carey (17). Pretty sure it doesn't matter how you get those TDs; only that you get them.

For sake of completing the comparison though, Carey hasn't rushed for at least one rushing touchdown in every game this season either. Carey failed to score in games at USC and Cal. Williams didn't find pay dirt against the same USC team, Florida State and Clemson -- the latter two finishing in the top 10 of the final BCS standings.

Carey has caught 26 balls for 173 yards and a touchdown while Sankey has 25 catches for 298 yards and a score. Williams has not ... caught a single pass all year.


Being a running back has to be more than just carrying the football. And while no one questions Williams' ability to do that, and do it well, it does raise questions about his completeness as a back.

I don't understand this point at all. Last I checked, the Doak Walker Award goes to the nation's premier running back. Not sure it matters a lick whether a running back has caught a pass or not. Gemmell writes that the fact that Williams having zero receptions "should be a significant mark against Williams." How so? Everyone who has actually watched Williams play knows that he's a between-the-tackles, downhill runner. Just because the offensive system doesn't scheme to utilizing Williams in passing plays should somehow discredit the season Williams has had?

For what it's worth, not being a significant factor in a team's passing game didn't stop backs like Wisconsin's Monte Ball (10 receptions), Stanford's Toby Gerhart (11) or Iowa's Shonn Greene (8) from winning the Doak Walker. Nor should it even be remotely a factor in Williams' candidacy. Or, as Gemmell argues, catching a few screen passes during the season = Doak Walker Award winner. Don't catch any and your "completeness as a back" is questioned. Makes sense.

Moving on.

Looking at each player's individual game log, Williams faced four rushing defenses that rank in the top 30. Carey faced three and Sankey faced two. That measurement in itself is slanted, by the way, because the Pac-12 has seven of the top 44 rushing offenses in the country, which in turn impacts the rush defense numbers. The ACC only has four of the top 44. So take that for what it's worth.

Here, Gemmell's argument is that despite Williams facing more top 30 rushing defenses than either Carey or Sankey, because Williams struggled against elite defenses (his 95.5 yards per game average is well below his 175.7 season average) and Carey and Sankey did not, Williams shouldn't win the award.

Sankey averaged just 73.5 yards per game against top 30 running defenses, but that his "poor performance against Arizona State significantly slants that average and skews his outstanding 125 yards and two touchdowns against Stanford -- the nation's No. 3 rush defense." (Spin spin spin).

I guess that's more outstanding than Williams' 166 yards and two touchdowns against Virginia Tech -- the nation's No. 8 rush defense -- and his 140 yards against the nation's No. 14 rush defense and the #1 team in the nation. Williams other two games against top 30 run Ds were at Clemson (70 yards rushing) and at Syracuse (29 yards), the latter a game in which he left at half after separating his shoulder. But let's leave that particular point out since it doesn't fit the narrative.

Carey averaged 175.6 rushing yards per game against the two top 30 rushing defenses he faced this season, which is almost 20 yards higher than his 156 average. Those two performances game against USC (OK) and a Utah team that finished the year just 5-7 (oh).

There isn't a lot of head-to-head data among the three since one is from another conference. But against USC, Williams carried 17 times for 38 yards and no touchdowns. Carey rushed for 138 yards on 21 carries.

I guess you got Williams there. Williams had a bad game against USC. Carey had a better game in a different game against USC. Point, Ka'Deem.

Williams' best games came against some of the nation's weakest rush defenses. He posted 263 yards and five touchdowns against Army (ranked 99th), 295 yards against New Mexico State (ranked 123rd) and 339 against North Carolina State (ranked 79th). To his credit, he did have nice rushing numbers against Florida State (149 yards against the Seminoles' 13th-ranked rushing defense), but no touchdowns.

And to be fair, the Pac-12 duo feasted plenty on the league's weaker defenses. Sankey had 241 yards against Cal and Carey posted four touchdowns against Colorado.

But Carey's strongest game of the season was a 232-yard effort against Utah -- which finished the year ranked 22nd against the run.

For one thing, national run D rankings is slanted, because those teams ... faced Andre Williams. So take that for what it's worth. But here is that single-game result thing again.

Because Carey's strongest game of the season (232 yards) was against the nation's 22nd run D, of course his season-long performance is superior to Williams. So hold it against Williams, if you will, that his 263 yards against Maryland (ranked 47th), 206 yards against Wake Forest (ranked 36th) 166 yards against Virginia Tech (ranked 8th) and 149 yards against Florida State (ranked 14th) weren't his best performances of the year.

Don't get me wrong. Both Sankey and Carey have had remarkable seasons, but the question as to which back comes away with the 2013 Doak Walker Award shouldn't even be up for debate. Andre Williams should run away with this year's Doak Walker Award. Period.

Don't believe me? Then you be the judge. Here are Williams, Sankey and Carey's per-game rushing logs. I even took the liberty of adding each opponent's final national rushing defense ranking in there. But again, take that for what it's worth.

Andre Williams, Boston College
Date Opponent National Rush D Result Att Yards Avg. TD
8/31/13 Villanova NR W 24-14 23 114 4.96 1
9/6/13 Wake Forest 36 W 24-10 35 204 5.83 1
9/14/13 @ Southern California 19 L 7-35 17 38 2.24 0
9/28/13 1 Florida St. 14 L 34-48 28 149 5.32 0
10/5/13 Army 100 W 48-27 30 263 8.77 5
10/12/13 @ 12 Clemson 51 L 14-24 24 70 2.92 0
10/26/13 @ North Carolina 84 L 10-34 26 172 6.62 1
11/2/13 Virginia Tech 8 W 34-27 33 166 5.03 2
11/9/13 @ New Mexico St. 125 W 48-34 30 295 9.83 2
11/16/13 North Carolina St. 79 W 38-21 42 339 8.07 2
11/23/13 @ Maryland 47 W 29-26 32 263 8.22 2
11/30/13 @ Syracuse 28 L 31-34 9 29 3.22 1
Totals 53.7 avg. 329 2102 6.39 17
Bishop Sankey, Washington
Date Opponent National Rush D Result Att Yards Avg. TD
8/31/13 Boise St. 64 W 38-6 25 161 6.44 2
9/14/13 vs. Illinois 118 W 34-24 35 208 5.94 1
9/21/13 Idaho St. NR W 56-0 4 77 19.25 1
9/28/13 Arizona 71 W 31-13 40 161 4.03 1
10/5/13 @ 5 Stanford 3 L 28-31 27 125 4.63 2
10/12/13 10 Oregon 67 L 24-45 28 167 5.96 2
10/19/13 @ 16 Arizona St. 31 L 24-53 13 22 1.69 1
10/26/13 California 87 W 41-17 27 241 8.93 2
11/9/13 Colorado 103 W 59-7 23 143 6.22 1
11/15/13 @ 17 UCLA 72 L 31-41 27 91 3.37 1
11/23/13 @ Oregon St. 92 W 69-27 23 179 7.78 3
11/29/13 Washington St. 85 W 27-17 34 200 5.88 1
Totals 72.1 avg. 306 1775 5.8 18
Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
Date Opponent National Rush D Result Att Yards Avg. TD
8/30/13 Northern Ariz. NR W 35-0 Did not play
9/7/13 @ UNLV 112 W 58-13 16 171 10.69 2
9/14/13 UTSA 35 W 38-13 27 128 4.74 2
9/28/13 @ Washington 59 L 13-31 30 132 4.4 1
10/10/13 @ Southern California 19 L 31-38 21 138 6.57 0
10/19/13 Utah 20 W 35-24 39 232 5.95 1
10/26/13 @ Colorado 103 W 44-20 23 119 5.17 4
11/2/13 @ California 87 W 33-28 32 152 4.75 0
11/9/13 17 UCLA 72 L 26-31 28 149 5.32 1
11/16/13 Washington St. 85 L 17-24 26 132 5.08 1
11/23/13 10 Oregon 67 W 42-16 48 206 4.29 4
11/30/13 @ 16 Arizona St. 31 L 21-58 32 157 4.91 1
Totals 62.7 avg. 322 1716 5.33 17
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