Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Best of the worst in the ACC
By ESPN.com staff
Coaches often tell their players that individual rewards come with team success. It's a good way -- and an honest way -- of getting them to buy into selfless play. But there have been some standout performers in the ACC this year who will be overshadowed by their team's losing record.
So, I present to you the best of the worst in the ACC:
WAKE FOREST (4-7) -- DT John Russell. He has started all 11 games, including last week when he played the whole game against Florida State with a cast on his right hand. For the season, Russell has 42 total tackles (17 solo), one quarterback hurry and leads the team with 4.5 sacks for minus-40 yards and eight tackles for a total loss of 49 yards.
NC STATE (4-6) -- QB Russell Wilson. He has 26 touchdown passes this season, the second-highest total in school history for a single year, trailing Philip Rivers’ record of 34 in 2003. He has accounted for 30 total touchdowns on the season (four rushing), tying for second all-time and the most since Rivers was responsible for 30 in 2002. He's throwing the ball a lot more and taking more risks, but he still hasn't thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in a single game.
MARYLAND (2-8) -- LB Alex Wujciak. He has a team-high 113 tackles, including 11 against Virginia Tech. He has averaged 11.3 tackles per game (fourth nationally). In fact, Wujciak ranks first in the country (10.7) on the active career tackles-per-game list. Wujciak has gone over 100 tackles (113) for the second straight season. He is on pace to become the first Maryland defender to post more than 125 tackles (133 in 2008) in back-to-back years since E.J. Henderson (150 in 2001, 175 in 2002).
VIRGINIA (3-7) -- DE Nate Collins. The Cavaliers' defense hasn't been the problem this year. Collins leads UVa with 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. He had 16 tackles against Georgia Tech. He's third on the team with 66 tackles, and could become the first defensive lineman to lead the team in tackles since Chris Slade in 1991. It's currently the most tackles among ACC defensive linemen. Thirty-eight of his tackles have come in the past four weeks.