2008 Around the ACC: Week 1

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The ACC took one on the chin this weekend. The highly-touted Clemson Tigers
were spanked by Alabama in the Georgia Dome, and Coastal Division favorite
Virginia Tech was knocked off by East Carolina. Even North Carolina, the
preseason #2 in the Coastal, was nearly beaten by a 1-AA team. Overall, it was a
bad weekend for a conference that appears to have gotten even worse since last

Boston College (1-0)

Boston College lost All-Everything quarterback Matt Ryan, and broke in new
starter Chris Crane against Kent State on Saturday. Crane didn’t do much through
the air, throwing for just 106 yards, but he did run for 47 yards and two
touchdowns, and he did not turn the ball over. The Eagles won 21-0.

BC true freshman tailback Josh Haden had 15 carries for 68 yards, while Jeff
Smith had 11 carries for 74 yards. As a team, the Eagles 230 yards and averaged
4.9 yards per carry, much better output than was expected for a team that lost
their top two running backs.

BC’s defense was dominant, shutting out Kent State and holding them to 260
total yards. With the rest of the conference completely unimpressive in the
first week, the Eagles are a team to watch. We’ll know more about them when they
play Georgia Tech this week.

  • Offensive MVP: Chris Crane. 12-of-18, 106 yards, 47 rushing yards, 2 rushing
  • Defensive MVP: B.J. Raji. 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack

Up Next: Georgia Tech, Saturday, Noon, Raycom

Clemson (0-1)

Expected to carry the torch for the ACC this year, the Clemson Tigers were
crushed by Alabama on Saturday night. James Davis and C.J. Spiller, playing
behind a very bad offensive line, were held to just 20 yards on the ground. As a
team, Clemson had exactly zero rushing yards on 14 attempts in the 34-10 loss.

The defense wasn’t much better. The Alabama offensive line dominated the
Clemson front seven, racking up 230 yards on the ground. Crimson Tide
quarterback John Parker Wilson also threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

Clemson’s only touchdown came on a kickoff return by C.J. Spiller. It was a
big-time kick to the gut of a team who expected to do special things this year.

  • Offensive MVP: None
  • Defensive MVP: Kavell Connor. 16 tackles, 0.5 TFL

Up Next: The Citadel, Saturday, 3:30pm, ESPN360

Duke (1-0)

Duke was one of the ACC’s more impressive teams on Saturday, whipping 1-AA
powerhouse James Madison 31-7. The Blue Devils found a running game, running for
218 yards as a team and averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

Clifford Harris had 95 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Quarterback
Thad Lewis was efficient, throwing two touchdowns with no interceptions. Big
play wide receiver Eron Riley pulled in both touchdowns from Lewis.

Much maligned in the past, the Duke offensive line allowed just two tackles
for loss by JMU’s defense. In the past, this probably would have been a close
game, and maybe even a Duke loss. It was a very successful start to the David
Cutcliffe era.

  • Offensive MVP: Clifford Harris. 17 carries, 95 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Defensive MVP: Welsey Oglesby. 4 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack

Up Next: Northwestern, Saturday, 7pm, ACC Select

Florida State (0-0)

Florida State was off this week.

Up Next: Western Carolina, Saturday, 6pm

Georgia Tech (1-0)

Georgia Tech got the Paul Johnson era off to a good start on Thursday night,
beating Jacksonville State 41-13. The Yellow Jackets had 349 rushing yards and
six rushing touchdowns, averaging 7.6 yards per carry.

Quarterback Josh Nesbitt ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns. However, his
passing performance left something to be desired. He was just 5-of-12 for 87
yards. Running back Jonathan Dwyer, who looks like he’s going to be a load this
year, had 11 carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns. The offense did fumble
the ball twice, which isn’t surprising considering this is their first game
running the option offense.

Defensively, Georgia Tech limited Jacksonville State to just 258 yards of
total offense and sacked the quarterback four times.

  • Offensive MVP: Jonathan Dwyer. 11 carries, 112 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Defensive MVP: Morgan Burnett. 4 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 2 interceptions, 2 passes

Up Next: at Boston College, Saturday, Noon, Raycom

Maryland (1-0)

Maryland beat 1-AA powerhouse Delaware 14-7. It was not an impressive
performance from senior quarterback Jordan Steffy, who won the job in August. He
was just 10-of-18 for 115 yards and two interceptions.

The good news is that Maryland got the running game going, despite losing
their top two backs from last season. Tailback Da’Rel Scott had 26 carries for
197 yards, while Davin Meggett had seven carries for 52 yards and a touchdown.

The Maryland defense held Delaware to 249 total yards of offense, and won the game
for the Terps despite a struggling passing attack from the offense.

  • Offensive MVP: Da’Rel Scott. 26 carries, 197 yards
  • Defensive MVP: Terrell Skinner. 6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 interception, 1 pass

Up Next: at Middle Tennessee State, Saturday, 7pm, Comcast

Miami (1-0)

Miami blasted a bad 1-AA team in Charleston Southern 52-7 on Thursday night.
True freshman quarterback Jacory Harris got the start in place of the suspended
Robert Marve. Harris threw for 190 yards and a touchdown, and also added a
touchdown on the ground.

Tailback Javarris James ran for 73 yards and a touchdown to pace a rushing attack that
totaled 224 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Charleston Southern had
just 126 yards against a good Miami defense.

Miami will get tested this week, as they travel to Gainesville to take on
Florida in The Swamp.

  • Offensive MVP: Jacory Harris, 16-of-26, 190 yards, 1 touchdown, 22 rushing
    yards, 1 touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Spencer Adkins, 2 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks

Up Next: at Florida, Saturday, 8pm, ESPN

North Carolina (1-0)

North Carolina safety Deunta Williams was quoted before the season as
saying “We’re going to win the ACC.” After Saturday night, he might want to
re-think that. UNC barely got past 1-AA McNeese State 35-27, and even got
out-gained in the process.

Brandon Tate single handedly won the game for UNC. The wide receiver had 106
yards rushing, 93 yards receiving, 142 yards in punt returns and 56 yards in
kickoff returns. He had a receiving touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown,
and he was probably the ACC’s best overall player in week one.

The UNC defense was beaten for 391 yards, and did not look like the improved
unit that many thought they would be.

  • Offensive MVP: Brandon Tate. 4 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown, 3
    carries for 106 yards, 142 punt return yards and a touchdown, 56 kickoff return
  • Defensive MVP: E.J. Wilson. 8 tackles, 3 tackles for loss

Up Next: at Rutgers, Thursday, September 11, 7:30pm, ESPN

North Carolina State (0-1)

NC State got the weekend off to a bad start for the ACC on Thursday night,
getting trounced by South Carolina 34-0. It could have been worse, but the
Gamecocks started an ineffective first-time starter at quarterback. When past
starter Chris Smelley came into the game, the rout was on.

The NC State offense was woefully inept. They gained just 138 yards of total
offense. Through the air, they were just 5-of-20 with two interceptions. QB
Russell Wilson was knocked out with a concussion, and Daniel Evans was
overmatched and ineffective in relief.

The Wolfpack held up pretty well defensively, but they were out of gas at the
end of the game because they were on the field so much. Right now, NC State
might be the worst team in the ACC, and that says a lot.

  • Offensive MVP: Andre Brown. 21 carries, 108 yards
  • Defensive MVP: Nate Irving. 9 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 interception

Up Next: William & Mary, Saturday, 6pm

Virginia (0-1)

As expected, Virginia got whipped by USC 52-7 on Saturday in Charlottesville.
There’s not much we can tell from this game, other than the fact that USC is
really good. The Trojans had 558 yards of total offense, while limiting the UVA
offense to just 187. Peter Lalich made his first start at quarterback for the
Hoos, and he struggled, though the running game struggled just as badly.

The UVA defense could not stop the USC offense at all. The Trojans punted
just twice in the game, and UVA had just one tackle for loss. The Hoos will look to get back on track against Richmond.

  • Offensive MVP: John Phillips. 5 catches, 33 yards
  • Defensive MVP: none

Up Next: Richmond, Saturday, 3:45pm, ESPNU

Virginia Tech (0-1)

The Hokies led 22-13 but allowed two touchdowns in the final minutes of the
game, and East Carolina walked away with a 27-22 victory. Virginia Tech
struggled offensively and defensively in this one, and though special teams did
their best to keep the Hokies in it, they lost the game by allowing a blocked
put for a touchdown at the end.

Virginia Tech had just 243 yards of total offense against a good ECU defense,
and the passing game struggled all day. Tech got in the red zone on their first
two drives, but failed to come away with any points.

The Hokies scored one defensive touchdown, scored one offensive touchdown on a short
drive aided by a special teams turnover, and blocked an extra point that was
returned for two points.

Cornerback Stephan Virgil outscored the Virginia Tech offense 8-6, if you
throw out the Hokies’ short 25-yard drive that began because ECU fumbled a

  • Offensive MVP: Kenny Lewis. 11 carries, 62 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Stephan Virgil. 6 tackles, 1 fumble return for a TD, 1 blocked
    PAT returned for 2 points.

Up Next: Furman, Saturday, 1:30pm, ACC Select

Wake Forest (1-0)

By default, Wake Forest looks like the best team in the ACC right now. The
Demon Deacons whipped Baylor 41-13 on the road on Thursday night, and looked
impressive on both sides of the football.

Quarterback Riley Skinner was 27-of-36 for 220 yards and three touchdowns. He
did not throw an interception, which he struggled with last year. He completed
passes to eight different Wake Forest players.

Wake held Baylor to just 250 yards of total offense and forced five
turnovers. It was a dominating performance by a well-coached football team.

  • Offensive MVP: Riley Skinner. 27-of-36 for 220 yards, 3 touchdowns
  • Defensive MVP: Aaron Curry. 7 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks

Up Next: Ole Miss, Saturday, 3:30pm, ABC/ESPN2

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