While the elite stars continue to get all the attention leading up the BCS bowl games, there are plenty of lesser known players that will step up and perform at a high level in January.
Guys like Andrew Luck, LaMichael James, Montee Ball, Trent Richardson and Tyrann Mathieu will of course produce for their teams, but other athletes will be just as good.
Don't be surprised if someone other than the star of the team has the best game.
With that said, here are three underrated players that will step up on the big stage.
Stepfan Taylor, RB
The Stanford Cardinal's top running back carried the ball 207 times for 1,153 yards. Taylor averaged 5.6 yards per carry and scored 10 total touchdowns on the year.
Against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Fiesta Bowl, Taylor will be relied on to help open up the pass for Andrew Luck.
The Cowboys knows that Luck will be airing it out, which means Taylor needs to help ensure Stanford has a solid run game, which will make life difficult for Oklahoma State.
He performed well in the clutch against Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl last year and he'll do the same in the Fiesta Bowl this year. It sure doesn't hurt that the Cowboys have the 107th best defense in the country.
De'Anthony Thomas, ATH
The Oregon Ducks playmaker led the team in receiving with 42 receptions for 571 yards and nine touchdowns, which is very impressive considering the fact that he's listed as a running back.
One of the most sensational true freshman all season, Thomas also had 53 carries for 440 yards and five touchdowns. Averaging 8.3 yards per carry is scary good.
Plus, he had 858 kick-return yards, scoring two times on some fantastic plays.
Thomas is a dynamic force who's extremely dangerous with the ball in his hands. LaMichael James and Darron Thomas get most of the love on the team, as well as backup running back Kenjon Barner.
However, Thomas will have a big impact in the Rose Bowl, proving to be one of the best pickups the Ducks landed in quite some time.
Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB
The Michigan Wolverines top running back carried the ball 174 times for 1,101 yards, averaging 5.8 yards per carry and scoring 10 total touchdowns.
Denard Robinson gets all the hype for the Michigan offense, and rightfully so. The quarterback lead the team in rushing, but if it weren't for the phenomenal play of Toussaint this season, Robinson and the Wolverines wouldn't be preparing to fight the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Sugar Bowl.
The Hokies run defense has been pretty good this season, but they're going to struggle to stop both Robinson and Toussaint. Their main priority is to shut down Robinson, which means Toussaint will slip through the cracks and make the Hokies pay.
The sophomore running back got better as each game went on, finishing the year with three straight games with 120 or more rushing yards. Expect him to deliver once more for Michigan, helping secure a big victory for the Wolverines.
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