3. Boston College LBs Mark Herzlich, Mike McLaughlin and Robert Francois
Defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani's underrated defense got the job done once again in Week 12, with the Eagles limiting Florida State to 73 net rushing yards and intercepting Seminoles QB Christian Ponder three times in a 27-17 victory in Tallahassee. The biggest play came from DS Marcellus Bowman, who returned an interception 87 yards for a score, but the linebacker play throughout the evening was most impressive. Herzlich, McLaughlin and Francois led the charge with 20 combined tackles. Herzlich is the standout of the group; he had the fewest total tackles of the group yet still made the biggest impact by breaking up two passes and sniffing out a reverse and stuffing it for a 3-yard loss.
Boston College freshman RB Montel Harris also deserves some credit for his relentless effort. The Jacksonville, Fla., native consistently churned out productive carries, especially when the Eagles were clinging to a second-half lead. His nine carries were vital to a fourth-quarter drive that lasted 8:55 and led to a game-clinching 30-yard field goal. Harris finished with 121 yards on 25 carries.
4. Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers
Rodgers is best known for his 186-yard rushing performance in the Beavers' upset win over USC, but he is proving to be more than a one-hit wonder. Rodgers paced the Oregon State attack once again against California, running for 144 yards on 27 carries in a 34-21 win over the Golden Bears. He now is just 267 yards shy of eclipsing the 1,500-yard rushing mark as a true freshman. Meanwhile, the Beavers now have won five straight and are two victories away from claiming what would be a shocking Pac-10 title.