- Heather Dinich, College Football Reporter
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Tough call this week, but there are only five of these to give away. Had to take into consideration the competition (sorry, Virginia) and impressive performances by a rookie (sorry Christian Ponder). Here's a look at this week's top performers:
Virginia Tech’s defense: Lunch pails for everyone! After having to replace seven starters, Bud Foster’s group finally came together and they did it when it counted most -- on the road against an ACC opponent in a 19-0 win over BC. The Hokies earned their first shutout since 2006, and it was the first time the Eagles had been held scoreless at home since 1998. In the second half, BC only had 39 yards of total offense and didn’t cross midfield.
NC State: It’s impossible to single out one player or coach, as it was a group effort in a 45-28 win over Georgia Tech. NC State linebacker Nate Irving had a career-high 16 tackles, quarterback Russell Wilson threw for a career-high 368 yards and NC State is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2002.
Miami linebacker Sean Spence: He had seven tackles in the first half of a 31-3 win against Pitt and finished with nine tackles for the game. He also had 2.5 tackles for loss including 1.5 sacks. Spence entered the game tied for ninth averaging 2.0 tackles for loss per game.
UNC’s defense: Even though the defense was short-handed in a 17-13 win at Rutgers, UNC couldn’t have won this game without the players it did have on the field. Matt Merletti intercepted Tom Savage’s pass at the Tar Heels’ 6-yard line with less than three minutes remaining, and linebacker Bruce Carter set up 10 points with an interception and a blocked punt.
Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien. It was his first career start, and O’Brien led the Terps to a 42-28 win over FIU. He threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. His performance should give coach Ralph Friedgen a second thought about who his starter will be even when Jamarr Robinson is healthy. O’Brien, who was the first freshman quarterback to start for Maryland since Latrez Harrison1999, and just the fifth in school history, threw touchdown passes of 9 and 68 yards. O’Brien led the Terps on four scoring drives and had an efficiency rating of 168.89, the sixth-highest mark by a freshman in the FBS this season (not including other games today).
Tough call this week, but there are only five of these to give away. Had to take into consideration the competition (sorry, Virginia) and impressive performances by a rookie (sorry Christian Ponder).