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Stopping Melvin Gordon a 'monumental task' for Purdue

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Wisconsin tailback Melvin Gordon is averaging 7.5 yards per carry, which is first nationally among the 20 players with at least 165 attempts.

If history is an indication, he should improve on that average Saturday.

Gordon and the Badgers play at Purdue this weekend, and in two games against the Boilermakers -- games Wisconsin has won by a combined score of 79-24 -- Gordon has run for 227 yards and three TDs on just 23 carries. That's 9.9 yards per carry.

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"He is a very good player," Purdue coach Darrell Hazell said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. "What makes him so good is he is really fast in the hole. He's also got top-end speed once he hits the edge. His quickness to the hole and his top-end speed are what probably separates him from other backs.

"He'll run for 2 yards, 3 yards, 5 yards, and all of a sudden he'll hit a 70-yarder."

NFL Media analysts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah are high on Gordon. Brooks calls him "an explosive playmaker" and is impressed with his ability to run effectively inside and outside. Jeremiah compares him to the Kansas City Chiefs' Jamaal Charles.

Gordon currently is fourth nationally in rushing yards (1,296) and second in yards per game (162.0); he also is second in rushing touchdowns with 18 and is a prime Heisman contender.

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Hazell called stopping Gordon "a monumental task" but a challenge his players are looking forward to.

"I think they thrive on trying to stop those really good players," he said.

"Trying to stop" is the operative phrase. Purdue has surrendered 200 rushing yards in a game to three teams and allowed at least 175 five times.

Western Michigan's Jarvion Franklin rushed for 163 yards and three TDs on 19 carries against Purdue. Michigan State's Jeremy Langford had 104 yards on just 13 carries. Minnesota's David Cobb had 194 yards and a TD on 35 carries. Central Michigan's Thomas Rawls had 155 yards and a two TDs on 31 carries.

The bad news for Purdue is that none of those players are as good as Gordon.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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