MSU's Ballard receives honor for huge outing
MSU senior running back Vick Ballard, right, participates in a running drill during practice. (Photo by Lee Adams, SDN)
Mississippi State senior running back Vick Ballard won't let the praise of others go to his head.
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Even though Ballard was chosen the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance against Memphis last Thursday night, he isn't focusing on this accolade.
"I felt honored and it's nice, but I'm looking forward to next week because we still got 11 more games to go," said Ballard."
Ballard will have some momentum going into week two as he carried the ball only 10 times in the Bulldogs 59-14 season opening win, but compiled a career-high 166 yards which is a 16.6 yards per carry average.
Even more impressive is he scored three touchdowns in those 10 carries. His first touchdown came in the first quarter from 46 yards out, and his second came with under 2 minutes left in the first half when he broke a 66-yard touchdown run. His third touchdown run was from 1 yard out midway through the third, and was his last play of the game. Thursday's three touchdown game was Ballard's fifth in his 15 game career.
Ballard first came to know about being named as SEC Offensive Player of the Week via his twitter account as he said "30 people told me on twitter."
He was sort of surprised by the announcement but doesn't take full credit for his performance.
"I haven't ever got an award this big, but I couldn't do it by myself," said Ballard.
Ballard was also surprised on Thursday night we he was told what his stats were.
"I never notice my stats until after the game," said Ballard. "I was pretty surprised when I found out but it just goes to show how good our offensive line is."
The offense was running on all cylinders Thursday night and the Bulldog passing game opened up the running game for Ballard.
"We had a couple of big pass plays and it opened the whole offense up," said Ballard.
Later on Monday, Ballard was also named as the College Football Performance Awards National Running Back Performer of the Week.
Despite all the attention and awards he has received for his week one performance, Ballard knows week two will be a challenge as he and the Bulldogs open SEC play on the road in Auburn.
"It's going to be a lot harder," said Ballard. "It's going to be a four quarter game and it's going to be physical."
Ballard only played for two and a half quarters Thursday night, but is sure to see the field the entire game against the defending national champions. In last season's showdown with the Tigers, Ballard only had 13 yards on five carries in his second game as a Bulldog, but he has since established himself as a top running back in the SEC.