Ameer Abdullah, Melvin Gordon talk Big Ten's best RB

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Ask anyone, and he or she will tell you the Big Ten is stacked at running back. Ask those same people, and they will say Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon are at the top of the deep talent pool.

Who’s the best, though?

“He is,” Abdullah said, pointing to Gordon.

“Nah, come on!” Gordon responded.

[ MORE: View the full 2013 Big Ten rushing yards leaders ]

It’s a close race, let’s put it that way. Abdullah led the Big Ten in rushing yards (1,680) last season, just 81 yards ahead of Gordon.

“It’s truly a blessing to be regarded as one of the best backs in the Big Ten,” Abdullah said. “Coming out of high school, I never thought it would be me.”

There’s a good chance Abdullah and Gordon will be battling for the rushing title again in 2014. And, yes, they will have their eyes on the box scores.

“Last year, I tried not to watch (the rushing leaderboard) early in the season,” Abdullah said. “When I took the lead midway through the season, I was like, Melvin plays later, let’s see what he rushes for.”

But, again, the Big Ten is stacked at running back, so Abdullah and Gordon may have several other names to track. One player both agreed on was Indiana’s Tevin Coleman.

“He is one of my favorites,” Gordon said.” People are going to hear a lot more about him this year.”

Entering the season, though, it’s a race between Abdullah and Gordon. For the curious minds, Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford (1,422) is the Big Ten’s next returning leading rusher.

About Brent Yarina BTN.com senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

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10 Comments

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Rob on 7/28/2014 @ 12:51pm EST Said:

In 2013, Abdullah had 48% of Nebraska’s total RB carries. Gordon had 37% of Wisconsin’s. If Gordon increased his carries to match Abdullah’s, he would have had more yards. Therefore, Gordon, to me, is the better back. No disrespect to NEB. Abdullah is a great RB.

Big Ten Fan on 7/28/2014 @ 2:22pm EST Said:

Braxton Miller is the Big Ten’s best running back. And yes, he is a running back.

JP on 7/28/2014 @ 2:32pm EST Said:

Gordon has to prove that he can stay healthy taking more carries though. Gordon is for sure the more home run threat, but I think Abdullah is tougher and is a better receiver.

TKS on 7/28/2014 @ 2:47pm EST Said:

Rob, that’s a good point…BUT…Nebraska’s line was playing with 2nd and 3rd stringers for most of the season….if Nebraska’s line stays healthy he’d have gone for many more YPC and total yards. To me, the ‘what if’ game can’t be played…things happen in a season and the players get the number and type of carries they get…it’s what they make of those given that counts.

James on 7/28/2014 @ 3:01pm EST Said:

Rob, the question then becomes why didn’t Gordon get more carries, it is possible that he is not ready to carry the load that #8 does, you can’t just unread statistics and assume that the numbers will stay the same. In the long run it is hard to tell who is better but judging by the work put in and not speculation of the numbers Amir had the edge so far.

Matt on 7/28/2014 @ 3:08pm EST Said:

I would say Gordon had a better O line also. Either way you cannot go wrong.

Dave Dorn on 7/28/2014 @ 4:19pm EST Said:

Both are very good, but Gordon doesn’t nor didn’t need to carry the ball as often. James White was drafted by the NFL from UW, and this year Clement will get a lot of carries as well, so for Gordon, his numbers imo will not be as high as Amir’s since he has more support around him, but if he does get 45% of the touches, he may break 2K yards this year, even with an entirely new O Line, would not be upset to see either battle for 2k yards though.

madisonstreetbuck on 8/19/2014 @ 1:35pm EST Said:

watched both, pure and simple if you added 75 more carries to Gordon’s year @ 7.8 per (his ave.) he’d have checked in with 2,292 big one’s.

By the way, anyone see Gordon on the Big Ten tour stop to Madison. Gordon looked like his body and arms could stop bullets! He’s built like a brickshithouse! With strides like Secretariat he’s gonna rock the college world. At 154 per, he could get to 2k yards without a doubt.

madisonstreetbuck on 8/19/2014 @ 2:06pm EST Said:

just ask the pro scouts and they all say Gordon is the 1st back to be picked hands down~ so lets forget the rah-rah crap!

madisonstreetbuck on 8/19/2014 @ 2:10pm EST Said:

p.s. Dear James, the reason why Gordon didn’t get all the carries is that he had to split them with James White who’s now with the Brady Bunch. AA’s 6.0 doesn’t cut it when you’re packin a 7.8 per! By the way, the clip they show on the Big Ten Network of AA getting popped and giving up the pill is a beauty. Seen that one?