Atlantic Coast Conference News and Notes

11:07 AM, Oct 21, 2013   |    comments
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BOSTON COLLEGE: The 3-3 Eagles were idle this past weekend, following a strong performance in a losing effort at then third-ranked Clemson on Oct. 12 (24-14). Steve Addazio's squad, which is 1-2 in ACC play, will attempt to pull even in-conference when Boston College travels to Chapel Hill this weekend to take on North Carolina.

CLEMSON: It was supposed to be a monumental clash between powerhouses, but the first top-five showdown in Death Valley was a bit anti-climatic for the hometown Tigers, as three first half turnovers put Clemson in a hole that it couldn't dig itself out of. The result was a humbling 51-14 rout at the hands of Florida State, dropping Clemson to 6-1 overall and a game behind the Seminoles (in the loss column) in the ACC's Atlantic Division at 4-1. The explosive Tigers managed only 326 total yards of offense and turned the ball over four times, while the defense was gashed for 565 yards. All-American Tahj Boyd had one of his worst outings in recent memory, as he was a mere 17-of-37 passing, for 156 yards and one TD, with two INTs. Sammy Watkins led the way with eight catches, for 68 yards and a score, but offensive highlights were few and far between for the Tigers. The loss ended an 11-game conference win streak for Clemson, which will try to start a new one this weekend on the road at Maryland.

FLORIDA STATE: Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles went into Death Valley and left with a stranglehold on the ACC Atlantic Division, with an emphatic 51-14 rout of then third-ranked Clemson. The big question going into the game was how freshman quarterback Jameis Winston would handle the enormous spotlight. Winston handled it like a savvy veteran, strengthening his Heisman run by throwing for 444 yards and three touchdowns, adding a fourth score on the ground. Wideout Rashad Greene and tight end Nick O'Leary were quite the receiving tandem, with Greene finishing with eight catches, for 146 yards and two TDs, while O'Leary made five catches for 161 yards in the win. In all, FSU amassed 565 yards of total offense, while the defense was masterful in limiting the explosive Tigers to a mere 326 yards and forcing four turnovers. All-American DB Lamarcus Joyner had a huge game, forcing two fumbles and recording an interception in the win. The 6-0 Seminoles (4-0 ACC) return home for a pair of games, starting with this weekend's clash with NC State.

MARYLAND: Starting quarterback C.J. Brown was back under center for the Terrapins against Wake Forest, but struggled after returning this week from a concussion, completing 15-of-24 passes, for just 137 yards and two interceptions. He gave way to backup Caleb Rowe, but it wasn't enough to ignite Maryland, which fell 34-10 in Winston-Salem to Wake Forest. There wasn't much offensive balance for Maryland, which managed a mere 39 yards, thanks in large part to Brown's -35 yards rushing in the loss. Linebacker Marcus Whitfield recorded a sack in the loss and now has 6.5 on the season. Defensive back William Likely led the unit with eight total stops. The 5-2 Terrapins are just 1-2 in conference play this season and will once again look to become bowl eligible this week, although they face a monumental task with powerhouse Clemson coming to College Park.

NC STATE: Still in search of his first ACC win, Dave Doeren leads his Wolfpack into Tallahassee this weekend for a conference showdown with the Florida State Seminoles. NC State was idle this past weekend, off the heels of two straight losses, leaving the Wolfpack at 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the ACC.

SYRACUSE: Georgia Tech's option attack was unstoppable this past weekend and the Orange were the unfortunate recipients of a 56-0 thrashing in Atlanta as a result. Syracuse (3-4, 1-2 ACC) allowed the Yellow Jackets to roll up 394 yards on the ground in the rout. Meanwhile, Syracuse managed a mere 208 yards of total offense, struggling both on the ground (75 yards) and through the air (133 yards), while recording just 10 first downs in the game. Neither Drew Allen (6-of-15 passing, 65 yards, 1 INT) nor Terrel Hunt (7-of-14 passing, 1 INT) were effective under center in the loss. The Orange suffered their first shutout loss since 2007 (35-0 loss at Iowa) and the 56-point margin marked the largest for an SU opponent since Miami-Florida (59-0 in 2001). Syracuse is idle this week and won't get back to work until a home game against Wake Forest on Nov. 2.

WAKE FOREST: There wasn't much more that quarterback Tanner Price could do, as he scored touchdowns rushing, passing and receiving, leading the Demon Deacons to a rather easy 34-10 rout of Maryland this past weekend in Winston-Salem. Price was 26-of-36 passing, for 231 yards in the game and in the process, became third Demon Deacon to eclipse 8,000 yards passing in a career (8,142). Price wasn't the only Wake player to post a record-setting performance, as wideout Michael Campanaro finished with 11 catches, for 122 yards and a score, becoming the school's all-time leader in receptions (217), while moving into fifth place in receiving yards (2,407). With the win, the Demon Deacons moved to 4-3 overall and evened their conference record at 2-2. Winners of two straight, the Demon Deacons will have a tough time making it three in a row with a road date with nationally-ranked Miami-Florida on the docket this weekend.


DUKE: It didn't look good for Duke early in Charlottesville against Virginia this past weekend, as the Blue Devils found themselves in a 22-0 hole at one point. However, Duke went on to score 35 unanswered points to post a 35-22 victory and move to 5-2 overall, while earning its first conference win of the season (1-2). Quarterbacks Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette factored into the win, as Boone threw a pair of touchdown passes, while Connette threw one and rushed for another score. Overall, Duke piled up 472 yards in the game, while holding the struggling Cavaliers to just 363 yards, including a mere seven yards in the third quarter. It was another strong performance for Duke in the second half defensively. Duke has allowed an average of 7.4 points in the second half this season, compared to 16.9 in the first half. The Blue Devils will seek their fourth straight win this weekend, as they take on nationally-ranked Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets dominated in every facet of the game, as they shut out the Syracuse Orange at home in ACC action this past weekend, 56-0. It easily marked Georgia Tech's largest margin of victory in ACC play in school history and moved the Yellow Jackets to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in-conference, while ending a three-game losing streak. Quarterback Vad Lee rushed for two touchdowns and threw for a third score, as Tech piled up 482 yards of total offense, including 394 on the ground. The Yellow Jackets scored seven touchdowns rushing the football, as Justin Thomas (95 yards, 1 TD) and Zach Laskey (75 yards, 3 TDs) played prominent roles. Tech had great success on defense as well, limiting the Orange to just 208 yards of total offense. The victory was the second shutout of the season for Georgia Tech, which hasn't done that since 1985. The Yellow Jackets will attempt to ride the momentum into this week's road game at Virginia.

MIAMI-FLORIDA: Despite losing their top tailback and a dangerous receiving threat, the Miami-Hurricanes overcame the adversity to post a 27-23 road win at North Carolina last Thursday night and remain unbeaten on the season, moving to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. Sophomore tailback Dallas Crawford came to the rescue after Miami lost star RB Duke Johnson to injury in the first quarter, and rushed for a career-high 137 yards, scoring the go-ahead TD with just 16 seconds left in the game. Miami racked up 556 yards of total offense, as Stephen Morris passed for 322 yards in the win. However, Morris compounded Miami's problems with four interceptions, while the usually staunch defense allowed a season-high 500 yards to the Tar Heels. In addition to Johnson leaving the game, WR Phillip Dorsett also left early and is actually expected to miss up to six weeks with an knee injury. Miami, which is 6-0 for the first time since 2004, looks to move to 7-0 when the team plays host to Wake Forest.

NORTH CAROLINA: The Tar Heels almost posted their most impressive win of the season last Thursday night, but allowed a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter to vanish in a 27-23 loss to nationally-ranked Miami-Florida. UNC racked up 500 yards of total offense against one of the better defenses in the conference, but could not hold on for the win, falling to 1-5 overall and remaining winless in ACC play (0-3). The loss spoiled an eye-popping performance by All-American candidate Eric Ebron, as the tight end finished with eight catches, for 199 yards and one TD. Wideout Quinshad Davis also finished with eight catches, going for 81 yards and a score. Quarterback Bryn Renner was able to complete 28-of-36 passes in the loss, for 297 yards. Renner passed Florida State's E.J. Manuel and is now 23rd in ACC history in passing yards with 7,870. The Tar Heels will attempt to end a four-game skein this weekend at home against Boston College.

PITTSBURGH: The Panthers took a break from conference action and stepped out of FBS play as well, as they posted a 35-24 victory over Old Dominion this past weekend. Tailback Isaac Bennett was unstoppable in the win, rushing for a career-high 240 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Tom Savage wasn't needed much, as he completed just 11-of-18 pass attempts, for 104 yards and one TD. Pittsburgh did struggle to contain the Monarchs, who amassed 405 yards of total offense, including 312 through the air. At 4-2, Pittsburgh is off to its best start since 2009 when the team began the year 9-1 and finished 10-3. The Panthers will continue non-conference action this weekend when the team travels to Annapolis to take on Navy.

VIRGINIA: Things looked good for Virginia early on against Duke, as the team opened up a 22-0 lead in the second quarter. However, the wheels fell off the cart the rest of the way and the Cavaliers allowed the visiting Blue Devils to score 35 unanswered points in a 35-22 loss. It marked the fourth straight defeat for Virginia which now sits at just 2-5 overall and an ugly 0-3 in conference play. Tailback Kevin Parks did his best, scoring all three of the team's touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving). Quarterback David Watford was 20- of-38 passing for 263 yards, with one TD and one interception. Watford tied his career high with the 263 passing yards and it was the fourth 200-yard passing game of his career. Parks, who rushed for 50 yards in the loss, added six receptions for 88 yards. Parks ranks eighth on the school's career rushing touchdowns list with 22. The Cavaliers will attempt to end their current skein this weekend, when they play host to Georgia Tech.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies went into this past week's bye with a six-game win streak in tow. Virginia Tech, which is 6-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play, gets back to work this weekend when the team plays host to Duke at Lane Stadium.

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