2016 Top Performers: Week 13

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New Mexico running back Teriyon Gipson (7) (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

New Mexico running back Teriyon Gipson (7) (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Editor’s Note: Every week throughout the college football season we will identify top performers from seven different position groups that are listed on our Big Board and highlight their performances in our “Weekly Top Performers” feature. Check out this week’s seven top performers below… 

 

QUARTERBACK – Greg Ward, Jr., Houston

Greg Ward, Jr. almost did it all for Houston, putting a strong exclamation point on the end of the regular season for the Cougars. After coming off three straight wins, including an upset over Louisville the prior week, Ward had by far his best game as a quarterback. Against Memphis, the senior notched career highs with 487 passing yards and four touchdowns while completing 47 of his 67 pass attempts. That, along with his 65 rushing yards, gave him a whopping 552 total yards. Ward’s final touchdown pass gave the Cougars a brief lead in the final minute, as Houston came roaring back from a 17-point deficit before falling 48-44 to Memphis. 

RUNNING BACK – Teriyon Gipson, New Mexico

With his eyes set on his first 1,000-yard season, it was going to take some incredible effort for Gipson to accomplish that feat in New Mexico’s game against Wyoming. The tailback managed to accomplish his goal, thanks to a career day on just 13 carries. Gipson took those few chances and converted them into 217 rushing yards for a 16.7 per carry clip. He also chipped in with two scores, as the Lobos took home a 56-35 win and Gipson ran his season rushing total to 1,209 yards.

WIDE RECEIVER – Amba Etta-Tawo, Syracuse

At one point the leading receiver in the country, Etta-Tawo struggled to find the same sort of production during the latter part of the season. The past six games saw him break the century mark once and never find the end zone more than once. All that pent-up frustration was unleashed against Pittsburgh. Etta-Tawo’s thirteen catches marked a season high, and he torched the Pittsburgh secondary to the tune of 178 receiving yards and five touchdowns in a 76-61 loss that stands as the highest scoring FBS game in history.

OFFENSIVE LINE – Dion Dawkins, LT, Temple

Temple needed a win against East Carolina if it was to land a spot in the AAC championship game, and the Owls did so on the strength of their offensive line. Dawkins, in particular, shone brightly, helping seal the edge and overpower defenders to allow his running backs room to gain 256 total yards and five touchdowns. While the passing game wasn’t a major focus, Dawkins helped keep his quarterback clean in the pocket, and the Owls won comfortably, 37-10. 

DEFENSIVE LINE – Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

The Game,” as the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry game was known to many, was played on such a rarefied stage that it was bound to require someone to step up in crunchtime. For the Wolverines, that player was Taco Charlton, a man who did his utmost to get Michigan the victory. From his defensive end spot, Charlton wreaked havoc on the Ohio State offense, hitting Buckeyes behind the line to the tune of three tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks on the day.

LINEBACKER – Keion Adams, OLB, Western Michigan

Western Michigan has been destroying opponents left and right this season, and last Friday was more of the same for these Broncos. Adams was all over the field, notching six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in a 55-35 win.

DEFENSIVE BACK – Tedric Thompson, SS, Colorado

In a game to decide Colorado’s Pac-12 fate, hard-hitting senior Tedric Thompson delivered one more crushing defeat to the his opponent. This time, it was Utah, which saw Thompson tally four tackles and display deft pass coverage skills. He also batted away four passes (a season-high) and registered two interceptions, returning them for a total of 51 yards. What’s more, Thompson helped limit the Utah passing attack to just 160 yards as Colorado won 27-22.

 

– David Chough
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Analyst

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collegiatebowlfinalNFLPA Collegiate Bowl logo on the side wall during the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl American team practice on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 in Carson, Calif. (Ric Tapia/AP Images for NFLPA)