It's hard to pin point any one particular player. We'll try here, but really, everyone of the defense is a top performer this weekend.
From Kelly Jennings playing the game of his life to Javon Nanton's re-emergence as a stud pass rusher to Kareem Brown's emotion to Orien Harris' ability to swallow up the run up the middle, the ‘Canes defense was fantastic, more than fantastic.
The offense wasn't too shabby itself. Kyle Wright, when not knocked into oblivion by Tech defensive lineman Daryl Tapp controlled the game beautifully.
He didn't make bad decisions and what can you say about Charlie Jones.
Here are our top performers:
1. LB Roger McIntosh – The senior linebacker was everywhere. You think his draft status moved up some after this game? Probably so. He recorded 10 tackles, 9 solo and have 2.5 sacks and recovered a fumble. He seemed to be in every play throughout the game. He seemed to be the spy that was following Marcus Vick throughout and Vick surely felt him.
2. DE Javon Nanton – Nanton put constant pressure on Marcus Vick. He chased him in, out and around the pocket and got to him two and a half times. That's 5.5 sacks in the past two weeks for Nanton who is starting to look like the player he was a few years back when he led the team in sacks. He was dominating around the edges and if he can continue this type of play, the ‘Canes defense is going keep looking sick like it is right now.
3. CB Kelly Jennings – This had to be the best game Mr. Jennings has had in his career. He picked off Marcus Vick twice and provided glue-like coverage to receivers throughout the game. He led his crew of defensive backs to a dominating containment of Vick who only threw for 91 yards. He also had a few pass break ups when not picking Vick off. Another one hit him on the chest. It could have been a trifecta in picks for Jennings.
4. DE Thomas Carroll – You have to give mention to the player that started it all for Miami tonight. Carroll's sack of Vick set the tone for the game when he sacked and stripped Vick at the Va. Tech 29-yard line to set up the ‘Canes opening field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead in the first. Carroll's sack opened the onslaught on Vick as the defense recorded eight sacks on the night.
5. SS Brandon Meriweather – The safety filled the holes big time tonight putting the hits on Mike Imoh and Cedric Humes throughout the game. His run support was big time in containing the Hokies. Meriweather recorded nine tackles, eight solo, second behind McIntosh.
1. RB Charlie Jones – Is there any doubt about this stud running back? Larry Coker said on ESPN following the game that Jones plays the way he practices. So why the heck hasn't he played A LOT more? Jones filled in for an injured Tyrone Moss like a pro, like a champion. He gashed the Hokies for 24 carries and 97 yards and a touchdown. Whether or not Moss is healthy enough to play again this year or even next, a performance like this might be enough to make Jones the permanent starter.
2. OT Eric Winston – It's hard to simply pick out one offensive lineman when the entire line played very well, but Winston was dominating on the left side. Jones followed him most of the game for a majority of his yards. Winston is starting to look like the All-American the ‘Canes expected him to be. His leadership was clearly felt last week against North Carolina when he played sick as a dog. This week, healthy, we saw how he can own his opponent.
3. QB Kyle Wright – Wright played wonderfully. Other than a poor throw for an interception with the ‘Canes leading 27-0 in the fourth quarter, Wright controlled the game very well. He missed a couple of potential touchdown passes to Greg Olsen, but was rather accurate overall. He didn't take sacks, in fact, his only sack was a two yard loss that on the next play he found Darnell Jenkins for an eight-yard touchdown pass. He made good decisions, made smart throws and didn't force things. He threw the ball away when he had to and simply managed the game very well completing 13 of 22 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. It was spectacular, but it was steady efficient and what the ‘Canes needed to win.
4. FB Quadtrine Hill – Hill does not do anything spectacular, but he may very well be the ‘Canes most consistent player on the offense. He caught four passes for 37 yards out of the back field, three of them went for first downs. He also rushed four times for 27 yards and paved holes all game for Jones and Moss. Hill may not get drafted, but he will be a professional football player because he does what his team needs him to do and does it well.
5. WR Darnell Jenkins – Nuke had one of his best games as a ‘Cane. Although only catching three passes for 33 yards, one was an eight-yard touchdown reception that he made a fine grab on, one that gave Miami a controlling 20-0 lead in the third quarter. He didn't have any drops, and one of his other two receptions was for a big first down on the drive he caught the touchdown pass on.
Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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