After tying the NCAA single-game record with an eight-touchdown effort against Texas Tech, Arizona State junior running back Kalen Ballage entered the national spotlight.
The Falcon, Colorado native had eight touchdowns in his career prior to Saturday's performance, and his remarkable output against the Red Raiders doubled his career total.
Ballage's name has popped up in prominent news outlets around the country this week, beginning with a Monday afternoon interview on ESPN's "Sportscenter."
FOX Sports national columnist Bruce Feldman included Ballage as his No. 5 candidate in the race for the Heisman Trophy, while New York Post writer Zach Braziller placed Ballage among his batch of Heisman candidates which boasted names like Clemson's Deshaun Watson, Stanford's Christian McCaffrey and Louisville's Lamar Jackson.
While Ballage will need more yardage to couple with his prolific touchdown total to remain in the Heisman conversation, the ASU back's blend of size and speed could keep him in the national spotlight for the next few weeks if the Sun Devils opt to pad his stats.
ASU's next two opponents, University of Texas-San Antonio and California, don't possess strong run-stopping defenses, and the Sun Devils' new "Sparky" formation could allow Ballage to add to his impressive touchdown total if offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey intends to keep using it.
The Roadrunners finished 8th in Conference USA in run defense last season, while Cal has struggled against opposing rushing attacks so far this season as another dark horse Heisman candidate in San Diego State's Donnel Pumphrey amassed 281 yards on the ground against the Golden Bears.
A lot has to go right for Ballage to hold his place in the national spotlight, but at least through the month of September, the opportunity presents itself for the junior back to keep his name in the Heisman conversation.null