With many teams' seasons' gradually ending and the shift towards BCS conversations heating up, it is easy to still overlook some unsung heroes who have not been in the country's spotlight this season. We are rapidly running out of Not-So-Household-Names without everyone getting their fair share of praise. It is always fun to talk bowl games and Heisman favorites, but there are plenty of guys out there who have been killing it all season who deserve their moment in the sun. Here's just a few guys who get the salute this week:
Tyler Tettleton, Ohio—On the offensive side of the ball, Tettleton has almost single-handedly led the Bobcats to the MAC championship game this season. The sophomore has accounted for 34 of the 43 offensive touchdowns scored by the team this year (26 pass, 8 rush). The Bobcats boast the 18th best offense in the country, putting up 460.3 yards per game thanks to Tettleton running and passing abilities. Ohio takes on Northern Illinois in the championship showdown, who are ranked 94th in points allowed (32.0 ppg). The game should be more of an offensive display than a defensive battle, which means another chance for Tettleton to put up good numbers.
Austin Davis, Southern Miss—Davis has led the Golden Eagles to a 10-2 records and to being the No. 24 ranked team in college football. He has been the catalyst for the team, throwing 3,052 yards with 24 touchdowns and ten interceptions this season. The senior has had a good string of games recently, scoring three touchdowns in each of his both of his last two games. Southern Miss takes on Houston this year’s Conference-USA championship, which could mean high scoring and another good chance for Davis to score multiple times while looking to spoil Houston’s undefeated season and BCS hopes.
Alfred Morris, Florida Atlantic—Morris has been just about the only bright spot for the 1-10 Owls this season. The senior has made sure to get his money’s worth in his last few games on campus, rushing for over 100 yards in his last five games, including 198 yards and four touchdowns against UAB last week in the team’s first win of the year. For the season, he’s totaled 1,114 yards and nine touchdowns on 5.2 yards per carry. The Owls go on the road to take on another below-average Sun Belt team, Louisiana-Monroe, this week. FAU obviously will not be bowling this year, so look for Morris to try and go out with a bang in his final collegiate game. The team’s starting quarterback only has seven touchdowns to 14 interceptions, so most of the entire offense will have to continue to go through Morris once again.
Chris Nwoke, Northern Colorado—Nwoke is all that he can for a team that has lost seven straight games after starting 3-1. He’s had two 200-plus yard rushing games this season, his second a 269-yard, two touchdown performance last week in a loss against Air Force. The sophomore has had a good year for the Rams, rushing for 1,115 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Nwoke has scored in five out his last six games, and looks like a good bet to find the end zone again this week. The Rams’ opponent, Wyoming, ranks 100th in total defense, giving up 434.8 yards per game this season, and gave up 200 yards on the ground last week. With Nwoke coming back next season, he should be looking to do anything he can to end the season on a positive note and get a win over the 7-4 Cowboys this Saturday.
Nick Toon, Wisconsin—Toon is often overlooked on the Badgers, having to stand in the shadow of quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Montee Ball. However, Toon is consistent as he ranks third all-time in receiving yards for the Badgers’ with 2,309. The son of former New York Jet Al Toon, the senior is leading the team with 52 receptions, 788 yards, and nine touchdowns this year. He had a down month in October but has bounced back in November, grabbing three scores in his last three games, including an 8-catch, 100-yard, two-touchdown game on Nov. 17. QB Wilson does like to spread it around as four different receivers have five-plus scores for the year. However at 6’3, 220-pounds, Toon is still the go-to guy and the high-powered Badger offense should continue to put up many points in the inaugural Big Ten Championship this weekend against Michigan State.
Jalen Saunders, Fresno State—Saunders has been killing it lately for the Bulldogs, scoring seven touchdowns in his last six games, though the team has only gone 2-4 in that span. His signature game came three weeks ago against New Mexico State in which he had 7 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore has added value because Bulldogs have also been known to call up a reverse or two for Saunders; he usually gets about one opportunity a game and has taken two of them the house this season. Saunders will have every chance to extend his scoring streak and his WAC-leading 11 TDs this week against San Diego State.
Joseph Fauria, UCLA—Fauria has been a steadying option for quarterback Kevin Prince this season. Fauria’s 30 catches are the second-most on the team, but his six touchdowns are by far the most by a Bruin. If UCLA gets down into the red zone, Prince is most likely going to look for Fauria for the touchdown; of his 9 red zone receptions, all but three have gone for scores this year. The Bruins take on Oregon this week in a very tough matchup. But opponent scoring should mean that UCLA may have to open up the passing game early in order to keep up. Look for Prince to continue to look to Fauria for support this Friday.