Notre Dame’s Josh Adams Running Towards Head of Heisman Pack

Notre Dame running back Josh Adams wasn’t on anyone’s Heisman radar really when the season started.  Even after ripping off a couple of big games early in the season, he wasn’t in the conversation.  After running for 393 yards and 4 touchdowns in the last two weeks against a pair of top 15 ranked opponents including the former #6 rushing defense in the country, Adams now finds himself in the thick of the race.  Don’t look now either, but Adams could find himself running away from the pack in November like he ran away from defenses in October.

Through eight games this year Josh Adams has racked up 1,169 yards and 9 touchdowns despite sitting out 9 quarters of football with Notre Dame dominating all but one of their opponents thus far this year.  He’s got at least one 60 yard run in six of eight games and has a touchdown of 70 yards or more in four straight games.

And guess what? He’s about to face some of the worst running defenses the Irish will have faced all season long over the next four weeks.   Thanks to Mike Vorel of the South Bend Tribune, here are how the remaining four opponents on Notre Dame’s schedule rank in terms of rushing defense.

Adams has done some damage against these teams in the past too.  As a freshman in 2015 Adams tore off a Notre Dame record 97 yard rushing touchdown against Wake Forest.  Against Stanford that same year Adams set the Notre Dame freshman season rushing record with an 18 carry, 168 yard outburst that included a 62 yard touchdown.  He also had 94 on 12 carries including a game winning 41 yard touchdown last fall against Miami.  In fact, the only team left on the schedule that Adams hasn’t tortured in the past is Navy.  Something tells me that is going to change this year.

After Saquon Barkley took the opening touchdown back for a touchdown against Ohio State last week Twitter lit up with tweets about handing Barkley the Heisman right then and there.  Then Barkley ran for all of 44 yards on 21 carries.  So maybe the Penn State running back doesn’t have this thing in the bag after all huh?

Adams’s efforts the last two weeks now have him in the pack with Barkley, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, Ohio State’s JT Barrett, and Stanford’s Bryce Love.

With the poor rushing defenses Notre Dame has in front of it, if Adams continues on his current pace he’d end the season just under 1,800 yards with 13 touchdowns.  Should the Irish continue winning and Adams continue that pace, there is no way that Adams won’t have plans for the second weekend of December.

Adams has a long way to go before that just as the Irish have a lot of work to do between now and then for them to reach what at one time felt unattainable but now seems almost likely if not at the very least extremely possible.

One thing that Adams needs in order to have a legit chance at having a seat in New York on December 9th is a healthy Brandon Wimbush.  Notre Dame’s starting quarterback dinged his ankle in the win over NC State.  Brian Kelly says there will be no restrictions, but expect Wake Forest to test that  They’ll likely key on Admas early this weekend until Wimbush shows that there are no lingering effects of the ankle injury.  Adams has benefited greatly this year from the running threat Wimbush poses.  Without the edge of a defense having to worry about Wimbush taking one around the corner, some of the gigantic holes the line has been opening might not be as gigantic.

Notre Dame is doing its part to build the hype and market their star back.  The University released an entire campaign around the hashtag #33Trucking along with hats and a full website.  The clever campaign from Notre Dame won’t win Adams the award, but it will help build his profile over the final month of the season.   By the way, if anyone from the Notre Dame marketing department is reading this, my nephews, my dad, and I would all be happy to help promote #33Trucking by wearing these hats.  Just saying.

You can’t win the Heisman Trophpy in October, but you can put yourself in a position to have a chance to win it in October and that is just what Adams has done the past month – specifically the past two weeks.  Notre Dame is now about to square off with four teams in November none of whom are ranked in the top 75 in run defense.  The Irish just put up 318 yards on the former #6 ranked run defense with Adams chipping in 202 of those.  You do the math there.

Wouldn’t it be something if Notre Dame flew into Palo Alto on Thanksgiving weekend with something to play for as a team with Josh Adams and Bryce Love squaring off in a Heisman elimination game?  It’s a fun thought.  Two months ago that seemed like something out of the wildest dreams of even the most optimistic of Notre Dame fan.  Now?  Well now it seems like anything less than such a scenario would qualify as a disappointment.  Expectations.  They are a fickle mistress.

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  1. Heisman….maybe.
    But Adams should definitely get a big cheque form Brian Kelly for most certainly saving his job.
    The kind of cheque Manti Te’o deserved for buying Kelly 5 more years.

  2. I have no problem with Josh Adams being talked about in being a candidate for Heisman Trophy. The discussion/predictions of top college football players has been going on for ions. Numerous awards are a plenty — Heisman , All -American team , Best Lineman and other best position awards , Academic — the list is endless. What author Frank is doing — is just injecting some fun/enjoyment in a season that was so dismal in 2016. Heck , the PLAYERS are having fun with Josh Adams. That’s team first/team unity standing by/supporting a fellow player.

      1. There is a guy on the ND Uncensored FB page selling the 33 trucking hats. Claims he has university approval to do it. Selling mostly at cost, doing a group buy to keep costs down.

        Just an FYI

  3. @Damian we certainly saw a different Manti in Miami Jan 2013 but I think he was distracted by more than just the award tour unfortunately.

    1. That’s true. I think back to Brady Quinn also in 2006 I think (or was it 2005). It seemed he took a step down for the BCS bowl after he went.

  4. Andrew, the only trophy worth hoisting is that National Championship one. I will admit I liked Bob Hope presenting the All-Americans. And the college all star game should be brought back.

  5. One concern I have is that ND may start using Josh Adams more than they have to in order to pump up his stats and increase the likelihood of injury and fatigue. I think they should continue using him as they have, sitting him in the 4th quarter, for instance, when the game is already in the bag. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Heisman isn’t worth it.

  6. Who cares about the Heisman? This is a team sport and the team is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Let’s talk about the next opponent, Wake Forest, and leave the rest to happen as it may after the season. I hope the team isn’t as distracted this week as the ND sports media seem to be.

    1. You’re right. It’s not like having a Heisman winning player could help with recruiting or anything like that.

  7. We all know Josh Adams is the best in the land. If there is a billboard available in upcoming games; Miami, Palo Alto, that would be nice to see. But, as a fan I couldn’t care less. All the glory of winning the trophy doesn’t help you win the game.
    At a super high profile place like Notre Dame it would be a distraction. I always thought Joe Theismann deserved over Jim Plunkett. Not winning it can prove to be a super motivational tool for the entire team.

  8. I really don’t think there should be “Heisman elimination” games. ABC pimped a Michigan at ND game as a September Heisman elimination game between a baseball player named Rick Leach and Joe Montana. Joe was eliminated from the Heisman race as a result. Just to double down on their own ignorance, the sportswriters eliminated Joe from AA status as well.

    If the Heisman is not to cover the “whole body of work”, what award does?

    Just last year D. Watson was “eliminated” in a VICTORY over the eventual Heisman trophy winner. That was idiotic (in the clinical sense of the term, as used medically in the 1930’s). IT WAS IDIOTIC!

    Heisman “elimination games” are an unneeded type of hype that we ought to can forever.

    BGC ’77 ’82

    1. When you have 2 players who are likely Heisman finalists playing in the final regular season of the season – it’s essentially a Heisman elimination game. The reference to Montana and Michigan for a game in September isn’t an apples to apples comparison here.

      1. If the last game is that important to the Heisman, why not award it after the Bowls? But I do see what you are saying about ND vs. Stanford. You are right that it is not apples to apples between a September game and a late November game, Frank.

        BGC ’77 ’82

      2. I agree it should be awarded after the bowls actually. How a player plays on the biggest stages should be a factor in awarding the Heisman. It’s not just that the last game is the end all be all but if no one is the clear leader at that point and one out shines the other head to head. The other is out of the race even if they get invited to NYC.

      3. I agree it should be after the games as well. Partly because they’re missing one of the biggest games for that particular player, but also because all the hoopla takes away valuable practice time and even just plain old down time for that player. Any time they’re not practicing before a big bowl game, they should get a chance for some R&R.

        How many times do we see a Heisman hangover with players who go (and it’s not just the winners but everyone that goes)?

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