Rose Bowl 2012: Who'll Be the Unsung Hero in Clash Between Oregon and Wisconsin?

Michael MillSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 1, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03:  Jared Abbrederis #4 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs with the ball against the Michigan State Spartans during the Big 10 Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There will no shortage of talent on the field at any time during this year's Rose Bowl game between the Oregon Ducks and Wisconsin Badgers. Some of the best offensive talent will be taking the field and putting on a show in one of the most prestigious games college football has to offer.

Everybody knows what to expect from stars like Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, Kejon Barber, Russell Wilson, Montee Ball and Nick Toon. These guys are going to come to play. We can expect amazing things from them. However, it seems like, every year, it's not the big-name stars that step up with the game on the line. There is almost always an unsung hero who emerges that nobody would have expected. They are typically the difference in a close game.

Who will they be? We already know the stars, but which of the overlooked players will steal the spotlight?

Keep an eye on freshman running back De'Anthony Thomas out of Oregon. He is the No. 3 running back on the roster, but he actually leads the team in receiving this year. He has an 8.3 yards per carry average when the ball is handed to him. He also has 42 receptions for 571 yards this year. and his 14 total touchdowns makes him one of the overlooked threats on the Ducks' roster.

If this game turns into the shootout that many are expecting it to be, he will be one of Darron Thomas' primary targets.

James and Barber can only steal the show if the Ducks run away with the game. If it's close, look for De'Anthony Thomas to emerge as the star.

Like Oregon, if this game turns into a shootout, expect it to be a wide receiver who emerges on Wisconsin to take over the game.

With all the attention on Nick Toon, there will be huge opportunity for sophomore Jared Abbrederis to have a big game. Statistically, Abbrederis is right with Toon in terms of production this season. He just hasn't received the same amount of attention as the potential first round draft pick.

Abbrederis has 814 receiving yards and seven touchdowns this season. Wilson will not hesitate to throw his way, even with the game on the line.

The beauty of the unsung hero is that nobody can really predict who it will be. Somebody could step up that hasn't even appeared on the stat sheets this season.

Who will that be? Only time will tell.