Fast starts, strong finishes

Marcus Allen breaks the 2,000-yard barrier

A fast start can go a long way toward winning a Heisman, although finishing strong can make up for it if you don’t.

Here’s a look at the Heisman-winning running backs with the most rushing yardage after five games, as well as those with the fewest. (Note: Only running backs in the two-platoon era (post-1964) are included here, as most backs prior to this era also played on the defensive side of the ball, thus limiting their production capability on offense).

Most Rushing Yards After 5 Games

YR Name Yards Regular Season Total
1981 Marcus Allen 1,136 2,342
1998 Ricky Williams 1,086 2,124
1988 Barry Sanders 1,002 2,628
1985 Bo Jackson 991 1,786
1968 O.J. Simpson 980 1,709
1994 Rashaan Salaam 893 2,055
1965 Mike Garrett 852 1,440
1999 Ron Dayne 773 1,834
1983 Mike Rozier 759 2,148
1995 Eddie George 745 1,826

Fewest Rushing Yards After 5 Games

YR Name Yards Regular Season Total
2009 Mark Ingram 487 1,542
1978 Billy Sims 554 1,762
2015 Derrick Henry 570 1,986
1973 John Cappelletti 606 1,522
1969 Steve Owens 633 1,523
1982 Herschel Walker 651 1,752
1976 Tony Dorsett 665 1,976
1975 Archie Griffin 673 1,357
1977 Earl Campbell 686 1,744
1974 Archie Griffin 731 1,620