MADISON, Wis. It turns out, the swagger and the smile can fade even for a Hesiman Trophy candidate whose confidence is usually infectious among teammates. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has come to understand this lesson all too well over the past seven weeks.
Ball, the only returning Heisman finalist from a year ago, was the toast of the college football world this summer. But soon after the season began, it was his Heisman campaign that was toast.
During a stunning 10-7 loss against Oregon State on Sept. 8, Ball gained just 61 yards and didn't score a touchdown for the first time in 22 games. On Tuesday, he openly admitted the outcome affected his confidence.
"After that game, I didn't feel good about where I was at, honestly," Ball said. "I wasn't making defenders miss, I wasn't getting any YAC (yards after contact). So I was kind of pointing the finger at myself and got down on myself for a little bit."
Ball, of course, wasn't alone in searching for answers. The offe...