2007 Around the ACC: Week 9

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It was another wild weekend in ACC play, as two Coastal Division teams
suffered their first ACC losses of the season. Also, two Atlantic Division teams
because bowl eligible on Saturday. It should be a fun month of November, as
three ACC teams are just one win shy of being bowl eligible, and another is just
two games away. How will it all shake out? Time will tell.

New this week in “Around the ACC”: Since the end of the season is approaching, remaining games are listed near the top of the article now, instead of listing “Up Next” in each team’s section.

Current Standings and Remaining Games

School Conference Overall Remaining
Boston College 4-0 8-0 FSU (11/3)
@MD (11/10)
@Clemson (11/17)
Miami (11/24)
Wake Forest 4-1 6-2 @UVa (11/3)
@Clemson (11/10)
NC State (11/17)
@Vandy (11/24)
Clemson 3-2 6-2 @Duke (11/3)
Wake (11/10)
BC (11/17)
@S. Carolina (11/24)
Florida State 2-3 5-3 @BC (11/3)
@VT (11/10)
MD (11/17)
@Florida (11/24)
Maryland 1-3 4-4 @UNC (11/3)
BC (11/10)
@FSU (11/17)
@NC State (11/24)
NC State 1-3 3-5 @Miami (11/3)
UNC (11/10)
@Wake (11/17)
MD (11/24)
School Conference Overall Remaining
Virginia 4-1 7-2 Wake (11/3)
@Miami (11/10)
VT (11/24)
Virginia Tech 3-1 6-2 @GT (11/1)
FSU (11/10)
Miami (11/17)
@UVa (11/24)
Miami 2-2 5-3 NC State (11/3)
UVa (11/10)
@VT (11/17)
@BC (11/24)
Georgia Tech 2-3 5-3 VT (11/1)
@Duke (11/10)
UNC (11/17)
Georgia (11/24)
North Carolina 1-3 2-6 MD (11/3)
@NC State (11/10)
@GT (11/17)
Duke (11/24)
Duke 0-5 1-7 Clemson (11/3)
GT (11/10)
@Notre Dame (11/17)
@UNC (11/24)

Boston College (8-0, 4-0)

Boston College looked dead in the water with just minutes remaining in their
game with Virginia Tech on Thursday night. However, Heisman Trophy candidate
Matt Ryan delivered down the stretch with two late touchdowns to knock off the
Hokies 14-10.

With the win, Boston College is still at undefeated at the top of the ACC
standings, and ranked #2 in the nation. If the season ended tomorrow, the Eagles
would be playing for the National Championship. There’s still a long way to go,
but BC might have gotten past their toughest hurdle on Thursday night.

  • Offensive MVP: Matt Ryan. 25-of-52, 285 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
  • Defensive MVP: Nick Larkin. 5 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks

Clemson (6-2, 3-2)

Clemson became bowl eligible with their 30-17 win over Maryland on Saturday.
The game wasn’t as close as the final score indicated, as the Tigers led 30-3 at
one point in the second half.

First year starter Cullen Harper has already set 19 Clemson passing records,
and we aren’t even done with the season yet. He is completing 65.1% of his
passes for 1,982 yards, with 21 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Harper
is having an amazing season. The Willy Korn era has been put on hold until 2009,
as Harper is just a junior.

  • Offensive MVP: Cullen Harper. 20-of-26, 179 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Defensive MVP: Tramaine Billie. 9 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack

Duke (1-7, 0-5)

The Blue Devils played as well as can be expected at Florida State, but
eventually succumbed to the more talented Seminoles 25-6. As usual Duke was one
dimensional, rushing for just nine yards and throwing for 213. However, they can
take away one positive from this game … quarterback Thad Lewis was sacked just
once by the mighty Florida State defense.

Duke’s defense, which is suffering from a horrible number of injuries, was
thrashed by FSU. The ‘Noles gained 534 yards of total offense, including 195 on
the ground and 339 through the air. However, FSU couldn’t do much in the red
zone and had to settle for field goals most of the day.

  • Offensive MVP: Jomar Wright. 7 catches, 141 yards.
  • Defensive MVP: Michael Tauiliili. 9 tackles, 1 TFL

Florida State (5-3, 2-3)

The Seminoles got back on track by beating Duke 25-6 on Saturday night in
Tallahassee. FSU had 534 yards of total offense, and quarterback Drew
Weatherford put up very impressive numbers against a very bad Duke secondary.
The good news for FSU is that they got something out of their running game, with
146 yards from Antone Smith. However, remember that Duke’s defense is missing
some key starters due to injury.

A big concern for Florida State is their play in the red zone. Despite their
534 yards of offense, they scored just two touchdowns, while Gary Cismesia
kicked four field goals.

Florida State’s defense was good as usual, holding the Blue Devils to just
222 yards of total offense. The ‘Noles rarely have to worry about problems on
the defensive side of the ball.

  • Offensive MVP: Drew Weatherford. 35-of-47 for 339 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Dekoda Watson. 4 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack

Georgia Tech (5-3, 2-3)


Maryland (4-4, 1-3)

Maryland was thoroughly thrashed by Clemson 30-17 at home on Saturday. It was
Maryland’s second home loss in a row, and the wheels look like they’re coming
off in College Park. The Terps have had to deal with numerous injuries, and just
don’t have the depth to overcome them.

Maryland was a little soft on defense to begin with, but their offensive line
is banged up, and they don’t have an effective quarterback on offense. As a
result, they have one of the ACC’s worst defenses, and their offense is one
dimensional. That’s a recipe for losing football games. With a tough schedule
coming up, Maryland could find themselves at home for the Holidays.

  • Offensive MVP: Chris Turner. 19-of-31, 217 yards, 1 interception
  • Defensive MVP: Erin Henderson. 15 tackles, 1.5 TFL

Miami (5-3, 2-2)


North Carolina (2-6, 1-3)

North Carolina actually outgained Wake Forest, but they turned the ball over
and played poorly on special teams in their 37-10 loss to the Demon Deacons on
Saturday. The Tar Heels did manage to gain 313 yards of offense, but much of
that came in the fourth quarter after the game was already decided.

T.J. Yates played well for UNC, with the exception of two interceptions
thrown to Aaron Curry. One set up a touchdown, and the other was returned for a
touchdown. Yates is still just a r-freshman and is learning the game. He’s looks
like he’s going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC down the line.

The Tar Heels have a solid shot to win three of their last four games and end
2007 on a good note.

  • Offensive MVP: Hakeem Nicks. 9 catches, 87 yards.
  • Defensive MVP: Hilee Taylor. 4 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack

NC State (3-5, 1-3)

Tom O’Brien picked up his first-ever ACC win at NC State, while the Wolfpack
handed UVA their first ACC loss of the season. NC State beat the Hoos 29-24 in
Raleigh on Saturday.

Quarterback Daniel Evans and wide receiver Donald Bowens had huge games.
Evans threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, while Bowens had 202 yards
receiving and two touchdowns. The Wolfpack also got 112 yards rushing from Jamal
Eugene, their third string running back.

That’s two straight wins for NC State, against ECU and UVA, and all of a
sudden a .500 record isn’t out of the question. It’s not probable, but you can’t
count them out at this point.

  • Offensive MVP: Donald Bowens. 11 catches, 202 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Defensive MVP: Willie Young. 6 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 forced

Virginia (7-2, 4-1)

Virginia had a chance to put some distance between themselves and Virginia
Tech in the Coastal Division, but they blew it by losing to NC State 29-24 in
Raleigh on Saturday. UVA’s offense played well against a Wolfpack defense that
hasn’t stopped anybody all year, but the Cavalier defense was nowhere to be

UVA allowed 431 yards of total offense, and their secondary was abused by
Daniel Evans and Donald Bowens.

With the way Virginia had been living on the edge all season, they had to
drop a game at some point, and Saturday was it. They’ll look to get back on
track at home against Wake Forest this weekend in what should be a great ACC

  • Offensive MVP: Mikell Simpson. 21 carries, 81 yards, 1 touchdown. 4
    catches, 35 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Ras-I Dowling. 7 tackles, 1 INT, 5 passes defended

Virginia Tech (6-2, 3-1)

If I had told you before the game that the Hokies would rush for more yardage
than anyone has had on BC all year, would win the time of possession battle, and
Matt Ryan would complete less than 50% of his passes with two interceptions, you
probably would have picked a VT victory. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, as
Tech lost 14-10.

The Hokies got a brilliant game out of their defense for the most part,
confusing Matt Ryan and dominating the BC offensive line, but they couldn’t get
enough points out of their offense to win the game.

Thanks to Virginia’s loss at NC State, the Hokies still control their own

  • Offensive MVP: Eddie Royal. 4 catches, 77 yards, 1 TD
  • Defensive MVP: Chris Ellis. 4 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 7 QB hurries, 2
    passes defended

Wake Forest (6-2, 4-1)

Courtesy of their 37-10 win over UNC, Wake Forest is back in the Top 25,
checking in at #21 in the A.P. Poll. Wake has won six straight games after
starting 0-2, and would be 7-1 had Riley Skinner not missed the Nebraska game
due to injury.

Wake Forest won this game with special teams and defense. That probably
sounds familiar to you. Kevin Marion had one kickoff return for a touchdown and
returned another kickoff deep into UNC territory that set up a touchdown.
Linebacker Aaron Curry had two interceptions. One set up a touchdown, and the
other he returned for a touchdown.

Wake Forest is similar to Virginia Tech’s early-to-mid 1990s teams. They have
some players who are more talented than given credit for, and they have some
other players that are just good team players. The Demon Deacons play excellent
defense, and their kicking game is outstanding.

  • Offensive MVP: Josh Adams. 18 carries, 82 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Defensive MVP: Aaron Curry. 7 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown
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