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Top Impact Players for 2010

   by ASA - 08/10/2010

A year ago, there were a number of teams that almost assuredly would not have fared as well without that one impact player on either side of the football. What would Nebraska have been without Ndamukong Suh making life a nightmare for opposing offenses? What would Stanford have been without Toby Gerhart bruising his way through the Pac 10? How about Clemson without C.J. Spiller’s big play ability? These players repeatedly helped will their squad to victory (or close to) even when their team if they were out-matched.

This year will be no different. There are a number of individual “playmakers” that should give their team some value in terms of betting. And because the 2010 season is wide open in terms of teams with BCS bowl aspirations, we may see one of these individuals lead their team to the Promised Land.

Dion Lewis (Pittsburgh) – This freshman took the nation by storm with 1,862 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns in his first season as a starter. BIG GAME FACTOR – In the de facto Big East championship game against Cincinnati, Lewis ran the ball 47 times for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns in the one point loss.

Adrian Clayborn (Iowa) – The first and only defender on the list is no slouch. Clayborn had 70 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and 8.5 TFL last season for the 10th ranked defense a year ago. BIG GAME FACTOR – Clayborn blocked a punt and returned it for a winning touchdown against then #4 Penn State. Also, he was the Orange Bowl MVP for Iowa in the win over Georgia Tech.

John Clay (Wisconsin) – The reigning Big Ten offensive player of the year returns after rushing for 1,548 yards and 18 touchdowns on a 5.3 YPC average. BIG GAME FACTOR – Clay ran for 121 yards and scored the Badgers only 2 touchdowns in their upset win against Miami in the Champ Sports Bowl.

Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M) – Johnson leads an A&M team that ranked 5th in total offense a year ago. He threw for 3,579 yards and 30 touchdowns while rushing for 759 yards and 8 more scores. BIG GAME FACTOR – Johnson completed 26 of 33 passes for 342 yards and 4 touchdowns (also ran for 97 yards) against then #2 Longhorns in the near upset of their rival.

Jacquizz & James Rodgers (Oregon State) – Though they are small (5’7” – 190 LBS), these brothers contribute more to their offense than any other combination in college football. They combined for 3,404 total yards and 32 touchdowns in 2009. BIG GAME FACTOR – Though OSU was clearly out-matched by USC, the Rodgers brothers combined for 221 total yards and 3 touchdowns in the 36-42 loss.

Case Keenum (Houston) – Houston has high hopes for their season with Keenum returning for his senior year. Keenum led the nation with 5,671 passing yards and 44 touchdowns. BIG GAME FACTOR – Keenum threw for 801 yards and had 6 total touchdowns in back-to-back wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech last season.

Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) – This dual-threat QB doesn’t get the publicity that he deserves. He threw for 2,052 yards and 20 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,351 yards and 16 touchdowns. BIG GAME FACTOR – Despite being a heavy underdog against undefeated Boise State, Kaepernick kept Nevada afloat with 3 touchdown passes in the narrow loss.

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