Nov. 12, 2009
PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh freshman tailback Dion Lewis has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the prestigious Doak Walker Award, annually presented to the nation’s top running back, it was announced today by The Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors.
Lewis (Albany, N.Y./Blair Academy [N.J.]) is the only true freshman on the list. Through nine games, he has rushed for 1,139 yards on 203 carries (5.6 avg.) and 12 touchdowns. Lewis has scored 13 total TDs on the year.
Lewis matched the legendary Tony Dorsett’s Pitt record by needing just eight games to reach 1,000 yards as a freshman. (The NCAA record is seven games, achieved by only five players.)
This is the latest accolade for Lewis, who last week was named a semifinalist for the Maxwell College Football Player of the Year Award. He was also honored as a “Midseason All-American” by CBSSports.com and SI.com.
Lewis could become the first player since Michael Vick in 1999 to be selected the Big East’s Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season. He leads the Big East in rushing (126.56 yards/game), scoring (8.67 points/game), rushing touchdowns (tied) and total touchdowns.
Three finalists for the 2009 Doak Walker Award will be announced on November 23. The winner will be announced live on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on December 10.
Joining Lewis as Doak Walker semifinalists are Donald Buckram (Jr., UTEP), Jonathan Dwyer (Jr., Georgia Tech), Toby Gerhart (Sr., Stanford), Mark Ingram (So., Alabama), Ryan Mathews (Jr., Fresno State), Jacquizz Rodgers (So., Oregon State), C.J. Spiller (Sr., Clemson), Ben Tate (Sr., Auburn) and Ryan Williams (Redshirt-Fr., Virginia Tech).
Ranked No. 8 by The Associated Press and No. 9 in the USA Today coaches poll, Pitt has its highest November ranking since 1982. The Panthers are 12th in this week's Bowl Championship Series ratings, their highest BCS listing ever.
Pitt achieved its lofty rankings after winning five consecutive games to improve to 8-1 on the year, its best start since the 1982 Panthers, led by quarterback Dan Marino, also started 8-1.
Pitt will take on Notre Dame (6-3) at Heinz Field this Saturday, Nov. 14, at 8 p.m. The game is being televised as part of this week's ABC Saturday Night Football package and will be aired locally on WTAE-TV, channel 4. Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (color) and Lisa Salters (sideline) form the broadcast crew.
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