Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 12/5/11
MADISON, Wis. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball compiled one of the more remarkable seasons in recent college football history, and the Heisman Trophy trust took notice on Monday night. Ball was named one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy award, given to the most outstanding player in college football, along with Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Alabama running back Trent Richardson and LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.In 13 games this season, Ball rushed for 1,759 yards with 32 touchdowns, adding six touchdown receptions. His 38 touchdowns this season rank second in NCAA history behind only Barry Sanders' 39, set in 1988 at Oklahoma State. He is also the first player to score at least two touchdowns in the first 13 games of a season. Ball ranks fourth nationally with 135.3 rushing yards per game, and his 6.4 yards-per-carry average is second-best nationally among players with at least 200 carries this season.The 5-foot-11 junior from Wentzville, Mo., already was named First-Team All-Big Ten and the conference's offensive player of the year, as well as an American Football Coaches Association All-American. He is a Doak Walker Award finalist for top running back in the country along with Richardson and Oregon's LaMichael James.Ball came on strong as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate over the last half of the season. During the Badgers' current five-game winning streak, Ball has rushed for 906 yards and 14 touchdowns. In Wisconsin's 42-39 victory against Michigan State in the Big Ten championship, he rushed for 137 yards 105 in the first quarter alone and scored four total touchdowns. Ball is the first Wisconsin player to be a Heisman trophy finalist since running back Ron Dayne, who won the award in 1999, and he is the ninth Badgers player ever to be up for the honor. The Heisman winner will be announced Saturday. Wisconsin (11-2) plays Oregon (11-2) in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 2.Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter
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