Top-Five Performers vs. MD

Mathias Kiwanuka

A number of Eagles stood out and had solid games on Saturday afternoon. Who made the top five, and more importantly, who's number one?

5). QB Matt Ryan - By the numbers, it seems like this selection is a little unwarranted. This was certainly not Ryan's best day as he turned the ball over twice. He did complete 16 of his 24 passes for 230 yards. He did lead the Eagles to the most important stat of all though, which was a victory. Ryan was very efficient on the opening drive which resulted in the touchdown and a lead that the Eagles would not relinquish. He did a very nice job of managing the game and doing what it takes to win. Sometimes, the wins are not very pretty, as was the case Saturday, but Ryan led the team to what they needed most which was the win.

4). LB Jolonn Dunbar – Dunbar was put in the unenviable position of trying to fill the void left by the injury to Brian Toal. He certainly did his part though to help fans forget that Toal was missing. Dunbar's biggest play of the game undoubtedly was the 94 yard fumble return for touchdown that gave the Eagles a 14-0 lead. Dunbar seemed to have caught a break that he was in the open as soon as he pounced on the ball as he quickly ran out of steam, but was able to stumble his way into the end zone. Dunbar was also solid the rest of the game including 2 passes defended to help the defense get off the field on 3rd down.

3). RB L.V. Whitworth – Even though Whitworth, finished with fewer yards than his counterpart Andre Callender, he gets the nod in the top 5 because of one thing: he did not turn the ball over. Although Callender has shown more explosiveness at times this season, he has also shown more of a propensity to put the ball on the ground than the sure-handed Whitworth. By comparison, Whitworth has not lost a fumble this year while Callender has put 4 on the turf and has lost 3 of them. That is usually a recipe to end up in Coach Tom O'Brien's doghouse, which explains why Whitworth has received the bulk of the carries this season. Not to mention that Whitworth is a pretty good back himself. He finished Saturday with 89 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.

2). DB James Silva – Silva has continued to improve in every game this season. He was again a force against the run, throwing his body around with reckless abandon. Silva racked up 14 tackles against Maryland and was a big reason why the Eagles were able to win despite turning the ball over 4 times. The Eagles were able to overcome the turnovers because the defense both limited the damage when they turned the ball over and also had several takeaways of their own. Silva was responsible for one of those takeaways as he picked off Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach in the endzone. The terps were driving after the Matt Ryan interception, but Silva was having none of it. Even though Silva made an ill-advised attempt to bring it out of the end zone, he prevented what would have been the game-tying touchdown.

1). DE Mathias Kiwanuka – The past 2 games have really been a showcase for the ACC preseason player of the year. Kiwanuka, who finished with another 2.5 sacks, spent the day harassing Hollenbach in the Maryland backfield. Both of the past 2 games have shown the Kiwanuka that BC fans had gotten accustomed to as opposed to the Kiwanuka that had been playing at less than full strength since the Virginia game. His presence in the opponents' backfield makes it that much easier on everyone else on the defense. He makes everyone else around him better as a result of his play which is truly the mark of a great player. It's a shame that he was hurt in the game against Virginia because it would have been interesting to see what a healthy Mathias Kiwanuka would have done against Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

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