Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/9/12
MADISON, Wis. Wisconsin senior running back Montee Ball made a habit of taking home hardware for his outstanding play on the field last season. This year, he's making a play for even more awards. Ball has been named a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the country's top running back. Last year, Ball was one of three finalists for the award. This marks the eighth time in the last 15 years that a Wisconsin running back has been named to the semifinalist list. Ron Dayne was a finalist for the award in 1998 before winning in 1999. Anthony Davis (2001), Brian Calhoun (2005) and P.J. Hill (2006) were all semifinalists. In 2010, John Clay was a finalist. Last season, Ball was a Heisman Trophy finalist and rushed for 1,923 yards with 33 touchdowns. His 39 total touchdowns tied the single-season FBS record, set by Barry Sanders at Oklahoma State in 1988. Ball was named the Big Ten's offensive player of the year and a consensus first-team All-American. Although Ball hasn't matched the astronomical statistics he put up in 2011, he remains among the top tailbacks in the country. Ball ranks 16th in the nation in rushing yards per game (114.2) and is tied for sixth in rushing touchdowns (13). He is one of three running backs in the Big Ten to have surpassed 1,000 yards on the ground. The other two, Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell and Northwestern's Venric Mark, are also among the 10 Doak Walker Award semifinalists. During Big Ten play, Ball is averaging 133.6 rushing yards per game and has scored 10 touchdowns in five games. Ball, who has 74 career touchdowns, also is five touchdowns shy of breaking the all-time NCAA Record. Ball and Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle are the only two players to make the Doak Walker Award semifinalist list in each of the past two seasons. Here is the complete Doak Walker Award semifinalist list for 2012: Montee Ball (Sr.) Wisconsin Kenjon Barner (Sr.) Oregon Le'Veon Bell (Jr.) Michigan State Giovani Bernard (So.) North Carolina David Fluellen (Jr.) Toledo Johnathan Franklin (Sr.) UCLA Stefphon Jefferson (Jr.) Nevada Venric Mark (Jr.) Northwestern Joseph Randle (Jr.) Oklahoma State Stepfan Taylor (Sr.) Stanford Follow Jesse Temple onTwitter.
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