ACC Weekend Football Preview: Week 2

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PU PU PLATTER


The Citadel (1-0) vs. Clemson (0-1)

Why The Citadel can win: The Citadel could not catch a more-deflated
Clemson team than they are in week two of the season. If the Tigers come out
completely flat, the Bulldogs could put an early scare into them (last year The
Citadel was tied at 21 with Wisconsin at the half). The Citadel is a pre-season
top 25 FCS team, so they are not without talent. They are led by WR Andre
Roberts, a third team All American in 2007; he recorded 78 receptions for over
1,000 yards last year. In the season opener versus. Webber International,
Roberts had three catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns. The Citadel will have
to pull multiple rabbits out of their hat, or rely on Tommy Bowden to continue
making bone-headed decisions such as the hand off to a true freshmen RB on their
first drive against Alabama instead of senior James Davis.

Why Clemson can win: If you want a glimpse into the heart and fight of
the 2008 Clemson team, pay close attention to how they start this contest. Are
they going to come out like gangbusters or sleep walk through the first quarter?
If it’s the latter, don’t expect this team to be in the ACC championship
game. This is the perfect game for Clemson and their offensive line to pound the
rock with running backs James Davis and CJ Spiller. They saw a total of eight
carries last week, and that is just not going to get it done week to week.
Clemson will put too many athletes on the field for The Citadel to defend. On
the other side of the ball, Clemson should be able to make The Citadel one
dimensional (passing) and tee off on their QB with heavy pressure.

Clemson 40, The Citadel 10


Western Carolina (1-0) vs. Florida State (0-0)

Why Western Carolina can win: The Catamounts will catch FSU early, which
is a bonus as they will be without 12 scholarship players due to suspensions
stemming from last seasons academic scandal. FSU will also be without starting
WR Preston Parker serving a two game suspension for a couple of misdemeanor
charges. If all the suspensions aren’t enough, the Seminoles starting
Kicker/Punter is out with an ACL injury. Beyond that good fortune, Western
Carolina is coming off a 1-10 season and has not won a Southern Conference game
in two years. They will be lead offensively by dual threat QB Adam Hearns.

Why Florida State can win: Florida State kicks off the 2008 campaign with
15 starters returning from their 2007 team that went 7-6. FSU has won their past
18 home openers by an average of 30 points a game. The Seminoles will be lead
this season by their defensive unit, where they have multiple playmakers at each
position group. The Catamounts will be harassed all day by DT Budd Thacker and
DE Everette Brown in the passing game, and LB’s Dekoda Watson and Derek
Nicholson will be there to stuff any run attempts. Offensively, FSU desperately
needs to develop a rush attack behind a line that returns 24 career starts, 5th
worst in D1 football. RB Antone Smith, if given enough touches, should break the
100 yard barrier in this game. Even without Preston Parker to take some of the
defensive focus off him, WR Greg Carr should put up some nice stats.

Florida State 42, Western Carolina 6


Maryland (1-0) vs. Middle Tennessee State (0-1)

Why Maryland can win: The Terrapins will come out once again looking to
run the ball early and often. The rushing attack averaged 6.0 ypc last week
against Delaware. The Terps top two tailbacks (Scott and Megget) averaged 7.5
ypc. You would think that type of production on the ground would have opened up
the passing game. It may have with Chris Turner at quarterback, but Jordan
Steffy just can’t seem to get it done passing the football at this level. It
looks as if QB Chris Turner will get the nod this week, which should help
balance out their attack, or at least improve the passing game. A 14-7 win
against Delaware at home is unimpressive, but thanks to their defense, which
gave up less than 250 total yards, they were able to hold on and win.

Why Middle Tennessee State can win: The Blue Raiders will be at home
playing a Maryland team that struggled to put up points against a FCS team last
week (Delaware). Two years ago Maryland knocked off MTS 24-10, and last year MTS
had UVA on the ropes only to lose by a last second field goal. MTS did not get
much done on the ground in week one versus Troy (only averaged 1.7 ypc), so look
for QB Joe Craddock to test the Maryland secondary with the pass. The Maryland
defense still remains a big question mark and this step up in competition in
week two will be a test to see how far they have come.

Maryland 24 Middle Tennessee State 16


William & Mary (0-0) vs. NC State (0-1)

Why William & Mary can win: The Tribe returns 18 starters from last
year, so they have experience on their side. Offensively the Tribe is led by
all-conference QB Jake Phillips and WR Elliot Mack. It’s no secret NC State
has a suspect defense and a seasoned group such as William & Mary might be
able to exploit them a time or two. On the defensive side of the ball the Tribe
returns nine starters and is returning its top nine tacklers. If they can get
State into some long third down passing situations, there is reason to believe
the Wolfpack QBs will throw one their way. (Last week Pack QB’s combined to go
5-20 with two INTs)

Why NC State can win: They are playing the preseason-rated 5th best team
in the CAA. If they don’t win this one, then which game will they win? It
looks as if QB Daniel Evans will get the nod this week after starter Russell
Wilson got the beat down last week against South Carolina. (Where was the outcry
for some of those late hits? To the head no less???) It’s safe to say the Pack
probably will not be facing that dominant of a defense the rest of the season,
so they have that going for them also. With the potential return of RB Jamelle
Eugene and the continued production from RB Andre Brown, State will have enough
of a run game to wear down a smaller William & Mary defensive line. It is
really hard to find a silver lining after a game such as last Thursday, but it’s
safe to say State didn’t give the Tribe too much to look at on film. It will
be interesting to see who steps up in the receiving department, because it
appears TE Anthony Hill will miss this week’s game.

NC State 24, William & Mary 13


Northwestern (1-0) vs. Duke (1-0)

Why Northwestern can win: They bring back 15 starters (47 lettermen, most
since 1992) from last year’s squad that out-gained Duke by close to 200 yards
(a game they lost). They did that without their top tailback, Tyrell Sutton, a
one-time Big Ten Freshman of the Year who is back for his senior season. The
Wildcats also employ a no huddle style offense and are not afraid of throwing
the ball with senior QB C.J. Bacher (Lead Big Ten in total offense last year).
With eight returning starters on defense, Northwestern should be improved in
this area. Special Teams also remains unchanged from last year and that could be
the deciding factor in a close contest.

Why Duke can win: Duke is HOT! A one game winning streak for Duke
Football is their definition of HOT! Seriously, they did much better than
expected versus a very good JMU team, albeit an FCS team. Duke will have to keep
up with Northwestern’s offense, and the good news for them is Northwestern
didn’t have a great defense last season and those guys returned. In the end it
will be up to QB Thaddeus Lewis being able to make plays with his arm that will
enable them to win this game. Duke’s defense will be tested in this contest,
and Northwestern’s balanced attack will not allow them to key on the run as
they did last week vs. JMU.

Northwestern 28 Duke 21


Richmond vs. UVA

Why Richmond can win: Mike London, a one-time UVA assistant coach under
Al Groh, leads Richmond, yet another FCS team from the CAA facing off versus the
ACC, into Charlottesville. The cupboard at Richmond was not bare when London
arrived. They return 16 starters and two red-shirt seniors who missed the
majority of last year due to injury from a team that reached the NCAA
semi-finals. QB Eric Ward and RB Josh Vaughn will lead this offense that broke
over 13 offensive school records last season. This offense will present a
challenge to UVA. Last week the defense held Elon to 22 yards rushing, so
evidently it is true that “nobody runs on Richmond”.

Why UVA can win: Did Al “The Chessmaster” Groh reveal all his tricks
to his one time assistant, or does he have some tricks up his sweatshirt sleeve?
We shall see. Nothing was learned last week in the game against USC. UVA needs
to establish their running game because that’s where their talent is on
offense. Anticipate a heavy dose of RBs Cedric Peerman and Mikell Simpson. The
jury is still out on QB Peter Lalich, as he doesn’t have much to work with in
the receiving department. Defensively the UVA front seven will need to shut down
the run game and make the Spiders one dimensional.

UVA 23, Richmond 17


HEAVY HORS D’OEUVRES


Mississippi (1-0) vs. Wake Forest (1-0)

Why Mississippi can win: Head Coach Houston Nutt has arrived this season
to breathe new life into a Mississippi team that went 3-9 last season. The
Rebels return 16 starters off last year’s squad and their top 14 tacklers.
Week 1 saw the Rebels post a 41-24 win over the Memphis Tigers. The Rebels will
attack Wake Forest on the ground with a running back-by-committee approach. The
following trio will all see action toting the rock: Dexter McCluster, Cordera
Eason and Brandon Bolden. One time Texas Longhorn Jevan Snead handles the
quarterback position. The Rebels defensive line must be able to get pressure on
Wake QB Riley Skinner who got off to a great start this past week. The Deacons
running game did not fair that well last week, running the ball 44 times for 156
yards (55 yards came on one play with under 2 minutes remaining in the game; you
take that out and they were averaging 2.3 ypc).

Why Wake Forest can win: The Demon Deacons came out in week one on the
road and did what good, sound football teams do; handled their business in
impressive fashion. As always QB Riley Skinner was on point (72% completion
percentage last season), completing 27 of his 36 attempts with three TDs and no
INTs. Wake will look to get stud RB Josh Adams going early and often.  He’s
a true "home run" threat and should have room to operate after a
sluggish week one. The Rebels were not strong defensively last week; they
allowed 28 first downs and over 450 yards to Memphis. That just doesn’t sound
like the kind of unit that will have enough to slow down a very efficient Wake
offense.

Wake Forest 28, Mississippi 14


Georgia Tech (1-0) vs. Boston College (1-0)

Why Georgia Tech can win:

ACC conference play kicks off with this
intriguing match-up. The Yellow Jackets will roll out their new option offense
to the rest of the league starting with BC. New head coach Paul Johnson does
have some good pieces in place to run his offense in QB Josh Nesbitt and RB
Jonathan Dwyer. GT has the benefit of teams only having a few days to work on
their option offense that not too many teams run in D1. Offensively, Nesbitt
will have to make some plays through the air for them to win games they aren’t
expected to. Defensively, GT’s strength is their defensive line, led by senior
DE Michael Johnson and senior DT Vance Walker. Boston College does not appear to
be an explosive offense, and if GT can stuff the run they will be happy to let
unproven QB Chris Crane take his shots through the air (12-18 for 106 yards in
week one).

Why Boston College can win: Looking forward to how this plays out. Boston
College can stuff the run with some of the best teams out there. There is no
room up the middle with huge DT’s Ron Brace and BJ Raji. Will Georgia Tech’s
misdirection style be enough to break long runs from time to time? It’s not
likely Nesbitt can hurt them too much through the air. Offensively, BC should be
able to work the Yellow Jackets’ secondary. QB Chris Crane will have to let it
rip for them to sustain drives and be successful. This game might come down to
mental errors and/or turnovers, neither of which BC had in week one (0
penalties/turnovers)

Boston College 20, Georgia Tech 17


MAIN COURSE


Miami (1-0) vs. Florida (1-0)

Why Miami can win: The Hurricanes last lost to the Gators back in 1985, a
streak of six consecutive wins with the last game coming in 2004. Can the
Hurricanes keep up with the Gators’ offense? The offensive load will lie heavily
on the backs of RB’s Javarris James and Graig Cooper. If they can somehow manage
to wiggle their way to chunks of yardage on the ground, it will take off heaps
of pressure from the young Canes’ quarterbacks. Florida’s secondary is the
weak link on their defense, but with such an inexperienced Hurricane passing
game, it will be hard for them to exploit that. Defensively, while Miami has the
talent/athletes, they may not have the depth/experience needed to slow down the
offensive juggernaut from Florida. For Miami to keep this one tight they will
need Florida turnovers/miscues (13 penalties last week vs. Hawaii) and some big
special teams plays.

Why Florida can win: A bitter rivalry being played in The Swamp, isn’t
that reason enough?? Ok, let me throw in a Heisman Trophy winner, a head coach
with a National Championship on his resume, and while we are at it, SPEED all
over the field!! A primetime, nationally televised game for a couple of freshmen
Hurricane quarterbacks will also play its part. Offensively, the Gators have
some guys to complement and help QB Tim Tebow on the ground this year. Speedster
Chris Raney will team with USC transfer Emanuel Moody in the backfield, and the
always dangerous Percy Harvin is expected to make his return this week as well.
It will be interesting to see if Tebow truly does reduce his role in the running
game. I suspect it will not be a significant change. Florida’s front seven
should be able to bottle up the Miami run game and then confuse the young
Hurricane QB’s into mistakes in the passing game.

Florida 41, Miami 10

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