I was fooled at the start of the year as I thought Notre Dame’s defensive line was nearly as good as any in the nation. What I know two weeks in is that it may have sky-high potential but that a (very good but still a) Sun Belt team walked into Notre Dame Stadium and pushed the Fighting Irish defensive front around on Saturday. If that’s a sign of things to come then Notre Dame is going to be in even more trouble as the calendar turns to fall and the wins don’t stack quite like they were expected to.
The running back responsible for thundering through the Notre Dame defense on Saturday was named the Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week. The following is courtesy of the Doak Walker Award:
DALLAS (SMU) – Marshall running back Khalan Laborn ran for 163 yards and a touchdown in the Thundering Herd’s 26-21 upset of Notre Dame in South Bend to earn the Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 10.
Laborn, a 5-11, 212-pound sixth-year senior transfer from Virginia Beach, Va., averaged 5.3 yards on 31 carries to post his second consecutive 100-yard game (102 vs. Norfolk State last week). His 42-yard run as part of a 94-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter set up the Herd to retake the lead at 19-15 and the defense all but sealed the upset when Steven Gilmore returned an interception for a touchdown on Notre Dame’s ensuing possession.
After transferring from Florida State and enrolling at Marshall this past spring, Laborn has started for both games this season filling in for the absence of Rasheen Ali, who was named to the preseason candidates list for the 2022 Doak Walker Award.
“In house – no disrespect to Notre Dame – we expected it because we talked about this summer, this team being expected to win,” Marshall head coach Charles Huff said after the game. Marshall, new to the Sun Belt Conference in 2022, was the first Sun Belt team to visit Notre Dame.
Next: Other Week 2 Candidates
Other candidates for the honor in Week 2 included:
Brad Roberts, Air Force: One of three Air Force captains for the day, the senior ran for 174 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns as the Falconswiped out visiting Colorado, 41-10, to secure their first win over a Power-5 team since 2002. Roberts scored on Air Force’s opening play on a 14-yard run. He now has 11 career 100-yard games in 19 games played and has topped 100 yards in both games in 2022.
Raheim Sanders, Arkansas: The sophomore bulled his way to 156 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns as the Hogs opened SEC play with a 44-30 home win over South Carolina. A Doak Walker Award preseason watch list member, he has rushed for at least 100 yards in back-to-back games (117 vs. Cincinnati last week), becoming the first Arkansas back to do so since 2019 (Rakeem Boyd).
The Doak Walker Award presented by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum has been awarded to the nation’s top running back since 1990. For the first time, the award is recognizing a national running back of the week this season. A select 20-person committee from the award’s full voting body of media and past winners chooses the weekly recipient. On July 20, a preseason candidates list was released and semifinalists for the award will be named on Nov. 22. A week later, the three finalists will be announced.
The 2022 Doak Walker Award winner will be unveiled live on The Home Depot College Football Awards, televised by ESPN on Dec. 8. The annual banquet, where the winner andthe recipient of the 2022 PwC Doak Walker Legends Award will be honored, will take place in February on the SMU campus.
The Doak Walker Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. The NCFAA’s 25 awards have honored more than 800 recipients since 1935.
Visit NCFAA.org for more information.
2022 Doak Walker National Running Backs of the Week
Week 1 (Sept. 3): Chase Brown, Illinois; Week 2 (Sept. 10): Khalan Laborn, Marshall.