All year long, a pair of running backs dominated Ivy League football. What wasn’t clear, though, was which one stood out as the Ancient Eight’s top tailback.
At season’s end, the debate still isn’t resolved. Harvard senior Gino Gordon shared the Asa S. Bushnell Cup, honoring the Ivy Player of the Year, with Dartmouth junior Nick Schwieger.
The co-winners, who were chosen from a field of four finalists by a vote of the Ancient Eight’s head coaches, were introduced at a reception at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel this morning.
“It is a great honor to win this award,” Gordon said at the press conference in New York. “I took a look at the names of past winners, and it is great to be sharing it with them, and it is also great to be sharing it with Nick, because he is a great athlete and a really great player.”
Gordon, who was voted Harvard’s most valuable player by his teammates last month, broke the 1,000-yard barrier for the first time this season, finishing the year with 1,059 yards on the ground—good for seventh-best all-time. He led the league in yards per carry with 6.3 and will leave as the Crimson’s career leader in that category (5.3).
He also ran for 10 touchdowns this season and 23 in his career.
“He was perhaps the best open-field runner in Harvard history,” Crimson coach Tim Murphy said at the press conference. “What made Gino special, though, was the fact that he was the rare running back with no weaknesses. He was a great inside and outside runner. He was perhaps the best blocking back in Harvard history and was flexible enough to play wide receiver.”
Gordon’s co-winner, Schwieger, had the statistically better season of the two, leading the league in rushing for the second straight year with 1,133 yards and finding his way to the endzone 14 times. He finished the campaign sixth nationally with an average of 125.9 rushing yards per game, but perhaps more importantly, sparked an improving Dartmouth team to a 6-4 record, its first winning season in 13 years.
The two beat out Princeton senior wide receiver Trey Peacock and Penn sophomore quarterback Billy Ragone for the award.
Gordon and Schwieger are the third co-winners in the last 41 years, but 2010 marks the second straight season the Ivy League has named two players of the year after Penn’s Jake Lewko and Brown’s Buddy Farnham shared the prize last year.
Gordon is the first Harvard player since Chris Pizzotti ’08-’09 to win the prize.
“I have had a lot of personal success, and I cherish that,” Gordon said. “But what really warms my heart is that I spent four years getting to know new players each year, creating a brotherhood where all of us struggled together, bled together, did everything together. It was a great experience, and I am so thankful to have been a part of it.”