The ACC has taken a lot of heat this year, but Saturday was a better day when
it comes to out-of-conference games. ACC teams knocked off ranked teams in
Rutgers and Alabama and also defeated Pitt. The two most impressive teams in the
first four weeks, Clemson and Boston College, struggled in Week Five. Once
again, it’s obvious that the ACC is wide open.
Boston College (5-0, 3-0)
BC is the best team in the ACC by default because of Clemson’s loss, but the
Eagles didn’t look impressive on Saturday. They got by 1-AA UMass 24-14 in
Chestnut Hill, and the game was closer than that in the third quarter. BC led
just 17-14 before Andre Callender’s 4 yard run late in the third made it 24-14.
Callender ran for 115 yards, but it took him 32 carries to get there, giving
him just 3.6 yards per carry against a 1-AA team. Matt Ryan wasn’t particularly
sharp either, throwing for just 204 yards, which is a below average game for
him. The Eagles didn’t get to give their backups much work, which is generally a
focus against 1-AA teams.
- Offensive MVP: Rich Gunnell. 6 catches for 97 yards
- Defensive MVP: Jamie Silva. 7 tackles
Up Next: Bowling Green in Chestnut Hill
Clemson (4-1, 2-1)
Clemson was rolling right along until they ran into a Georgia Tech team with
its back against the wall. The Yellow Jackets couldn’t afford to start 0-3 in
ACC play, and they didn’t, because they thrashed the Tigers 13-3 in Atlanta.
Clemson played poorly offensively, especially up front.
Tailback C.J. Spiller was limited to two rushing yards on nine carries, and
quarterback Cullen Harper was sacked six times. Clemson’s receivers had six
drops in the first half alone, including a would-be touchdown. The Tigers also
missed four field goals. Overall, it was an ugly day for the Clemson offense,
who showed that they have a lot of trouble moving the football against a team
with a good defense.
The Tiger defense played well against Georgia Tech, allowing just 256 yards
of total offense, but it wasn’t enough.
- Offensive MVP: None deserving
- Defensive MVP: Phillip Merling. 8 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 fumble recovery.
Up Next: Virginia Tech in Clemson
Duke (1-4, 0-2)
Duke gave Miami all they could handle in Coral Gables, falling 24-14. The
game was very close, with Miami leading just 17-14 until their touchdown with
2:15 left in the game. It’s the second year in a row Duke almost beat Miami.
Last year Duke threw an interception in the end zone while going for the winning
Despite being sacked nine times, Duke quarterback Thad Lewis had an excellent
game against the Canes. He completed 66.7% of his passes and threw for 241
yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The true sophomore is having a
great season and could be one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC before his
career is over. He might be already.
- Offensive MVP: Thad Lewis. 18-of-27 for 241 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0
- Defensive MVP: Patrick Bailey. 2 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks.
Up Next: Wake Forest in Durham.
Florida State (3-1, 0-1)
Florida State looked good on Saturday, knocking off Alabama 21-14 in
Jacksonville. FSU’s defense played very well, and the Noles made a quarterback
change during the second quarter, going from Drew Weatherford to Xavier Lee. The
change jumpstarted them to the win.
Lee looks to have locked down the quarterback position, assuming he can keep
playing well. He dominated Alabama in the second half with his arm and his legs,
and FSU’s vaunted receivers finally played up to their big play potential. It’s
still a long way to go this season, but the Noles are improving. Their win at
Colorado also looks more impressive, as the Buffalos beat Oklahoma over the
- Offensive MVP: Xavier Lee. 12-of-19, 224 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception.
11 carries, 59 yards
- Defensive MVP: Everette Brown. 3 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Up Next: NC State in Tallahassee
Georgia Tech (3-2, 1-2)
Georgia Tech had lost two games in a row but stopped the bleeding with a 13-3
win over previously unbeaten Clemson in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets shut down
Clemson’s vaunted running game, sacked Cullen Harper six times, and got their
running game back on track.
Tashard Choice had 32 carries for 152 yards and a touchdown, while backup
Rashaun Grant averaged 4.8 yards per carry. The best and most experienced
offensive line in the ACC appears to be back on track. However, GT is still one
dimensional. Taylor Bennett was just 7-of-15 for 67 yards, with an interception.
- Offensive MVP: Tashard Choice. 32 carries, 152 yards, 1 touchdown.
- Defensive MVP: Phillip Wheeler. 7 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 pass
Up Next: Maryland in College Park
Maryland (3-2, 0-1)
Maryland pulled a shocker on Saturday, knocking off #10 Rutgers on the road
34-24. The Terps racked up 458 yards of total offense and may have found
themselves a new quarterback. Jordan Steffy was hurt during the game, and Chris
Turner came in and completed 14-of-20 passes for 149 yards.
The Terps dominated the game on the ground. Keon Lattimore ran for 124 yards
and a touchdown, while Lance Ball added 90 yards and two touchdowns. It could
have been worse, but Maryland missed three field goals.
- Offensive MVP: Keon Lattimore. 34 carries, 124 yards, 1 touchdown.
- Defensive MVP: Erin Henderson. 11 tackles, 1 fumble recovery.
Up Next: Georgia Tech in College Park.
Miami (4-1, 1-0)
After blowing out Texas A&M, Miami came back down to earth with a
performance that was more in line with their first three games of the season.
The Canes beat the Blue Devils 24-14 on Saturday. A Kyle Wright touchdown pass
to DajLeon Farr with 2:15 remaining in the game clinched it for Miami.
Wright was very efficient again but also threw two interceptions. The Miami
defense sacked Duke quarterback Thad Lewis nine times, but also allowed over 300
yards of total offense to a Duke team with no running game. We’ll learn more
about Miami as they begin to play better competition.
- Offensive MVP: Graig Cooper. 12 carries, 101 yards, 1 touchdown. 1 catch, 25
- Defensive MVP: Calais Campbell. 8 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced
Up Next: UNC in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina (1-4, 0-2)
North Carolina played well in Blacksburg on Saturday, but ultimately fell
17-10. The Tar Heels had two costly second half turnovers, despite dominating
the final 30 minutes on the stats sheet.
UNC finally got some production from their running game, with Anthony Elzy
running for 74 yards and averaging 6.7 yards per carry. The UNC defense held
Virginia Tech to 241 yards of total offense, which was less than UNC allowed
1-AA James Madison in the season opener.
- Offensive MVP: Anthony Elzy. 11 carries, 74 yards, 1 touchdown. 2 catches, 25
- Defensive MVP: Deunta Williams. 9 tackles, 1 interception.
Up Next: Miami in Chapel Hill.
NC State (1-4, 0-2)
NC State hung in there with high-octane Louisville, but five turnovers did
the Wolfpack in, and they lost 29-10. NC State has beaten only 1-AA Wofford this
year, and they are having major problems defensively, primarily against the run.
Louisville ran for 251 yards against the Wolfpack, averaging 5.3 yards per
carry. NC State can move the football, but they are having major problems at
quarterback. Harrison Beck threw two more interceptions on Saturday.
- Offensive MVP: Andre Brown. 16 carries, 92 yards. 5 catches, 38 yards.
- Defensive MVP: Ernest Jones. 13 tackles, 0.5 TFL.
Up Next: Florida State in Tallahassee
Virginia (4-1, 3-0)
UVA stomped Pitt 44-14 in Charlottesville on Saturday night. The Hoos got up
27-0 at the end of the first quarter over the mistake-prone Panthers and coasted
to the easy victory. Jameel Sewell threw for three touchdown passes and also
abused the Panthers with his legs.
The UVA defense played well, holding Pitt to 288 total yards. The Panthers
were in a hole from the very beginning. They tried an onside kick on the opening
kick, which failed and resulted in a short UVA touchdown. They also fumbled a
kickoff, which resulted in a UVA touchdown.
- Offensive MVP: Jameel Sewell. 16-of-31, 169 yards, 3 touchdowns. 12 carries,
- Defensive MVP: Jon Copper. 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Up Next: Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro
Virginia Tech (4-1, 1-0)
Virginia Tech struggled on offense, but the defense came up with two critical
turnovers in Tech’s 17-10 ACC victory over UNC in Lane Stadium. The Hokies did
just enough to win the game, although they were beaten in almost every
statistical category, especially in the second half.
Tech’s offense managed just 241 yards. Tyrod Taylor looked like a confused
freshman, and although Branden Ore rushed for a season-best 93 yards, he looked
hurt and hesitant. The defense posted six sacks, including three by whip
linebacker Cam Martin.
- Offensive MVP: Eddie Royal. 4 catches for 14 yards. 2 carries for 60 yards.
- Defensive MVP: Xavier Adibi. 15 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1
pass defended, 1 quarterback hurry.
Up Next: Clemson in Death Valley
Wake Forest (2-2, 1-1)
Wake had a bye this past Saturday.
Up Next: Duke in Durham