2008 Around the ACC: Week 4

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Now that was a nice weekend for the ACC! NC State knocked off East Carolina
in Raleigh, Miami pounded Texas A&M in College Station, and Georgia Tech
spanked an SEC team in Atlanta. That’s easily the best weekend the ACC has had
in quite some time. There were also big games in Chapel Hill and Tallahassee
that helped sort out the ACC pecking order.

Boston College (2-1, 0-1)

BC’s 34-7 win over UCF might look impressive on paper, but the Eagles had to
fight for it. Quarterback Chris Crane was benched at one point because of three
interceptions, but he returned to account for three touchdowns in the second
half. He was 16-of-34 for 207 yards, with one touchdown pass and three
interceptions. He also had two rushing touchdowns.

The BC offense put up 411 yards on the day, but the Eagles trailed this game
at halftime thanks to Crane’s turnovers. Defensively, BC held UCF to 252 yards
of total offense. At this point, Boston College is similar to many other ACC
teams. They have a very good defense, and a struggling offense.

BC gets Rhode Island next, and then begins their ACC slate against NC State.

  • Offensive MVP: Brandon Robinson. 7 catches, 109 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Brian Toal. 13 tackles, 2 TFL

Up Next: Rhode Island, Saturday, September 27, 1pm, ESPN360

Clemson (3-1, 1-0)

As expected, Clemson exploded on South Carolina State for a 54-0 win on
Saturday in Death Valley. The Tigers racked up 416 yards of total offense, while
limiting South Carolina State to just 152.

However, Cullen Harper struggled. He was 15-of-24 for 151 yards, but had two
interceptions and did not throw a touchdown. He was also sacked twice. Clemson’s
running game averaged just 4.1 yards per carry. In most years, that’s generally
much higher against a 1-AA opponent. Clemson’s offensive line is still

  • Offensive MVP: James Davis. 11 carries, 95 yards, 3 touchdowns
  • Defensive MVP: Dorell Scott. 3 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack

Up Next: Maryland, Saturday, September 27, Noon, Raycom

Duke (2-1, 0-0)

The Blue Devils were off in preparation for their big game against UVA this

Up Next: UVA, Saturday, September 27, Noon, ESPNU

Florida State (2-1, 0-1)

Florida State embarrassed themselves on Saturday night. The Seminole offense
was awful in a 12-3 home loss to Wake Forest, committing a total of seven
turnovers. Quarterback Christian Ponder, who wondered out loud during the week
how Wake Forest would be able to stop the ‘Noles, was 6-of-18 for 52 yards, with
three interceptions.

His backup, D’Vontrey Richardson, was also 6-of-18. He threw for 66 yards and
two interceptions. In their last two home meetings with Wake Forest, the ‘Noles
have scored a total of three points.

The game could have been a lot worse, as Wake Forest’s All-ACC kicker Sam
Swank missed three field goals. Wake also had a touchdown called back on a
penalty, and fumbled at the FSU two yard line.

While the offense struggles, fifth-year senior Drew Weatherford continues to
sit on the bench as the third string quarterback.

  • Offensive MVP: None
  • Defensive MVP: Derek Nicholson. 7 tackles, 2.5 TFL

Up Next: Colorado in Jacksonville, Saturday, September 27, 3:30pm, ABC

Georgia Tech (3-1, 1-1)

Georgia Tech continued to improve on Saturday, this time thrashing
Mississippi State 38-7 in Atlanta on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets had 500 yards
of total offense, and the Bulldogs seemed totally incapable of stopping them.
Keep in mind that this is a Mississippi State team which held Auburn to just
three points in their previous game.

GT quarterback Josh Nesbitt was injured early in the game, and true freshman
Jaybo Shaw did an excellent job running the offense in relief. B-back Jonathan
Dwyer had nine carries for 141 yards and a touchdown. The Hokies are the only
team to hold Dwyer below 100 yards so far this season.

Georgia Tech looks like a legit contender in the Coastal Division. However,
Virginia Tech holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.

  • Offensive MVP: Jonathan Dwyer. 9 carries, 141 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Michael Johnson. 2 tackles, 1 TFL,1 sack, 1 fumble
    recovery, 2 passes defended,1 blocked kick

Up Next: Bye, then Duke on October 4

Maryland (3-1, 0-0)

Maryland drilled Eastern Michigan 51-24 on Saturday, despite being without
tailback Da’Rel Scott. Backup quarterback Josh Portis was used to carry the ball
on occasion, and he finished with 98 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Chris
Turner also threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two picks.

However, the Maryland defense is still a major question mark. They allowed
453 yards of total offense to Eastern Michigan, including 278 through the air.
The Terps defense will have to toughen up as the season goes on.

  • Offensive MVP: Josh Portis. 9 carries, 98 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Alex Wujciak. 10 tackles, 1.5 TFL

Up Next: at Clemson, Saturday, September 27, Noon, Raycom

Miami (2-1, 0-0)

Miami had a big win for the ACC on Saturday, blowing out Texas A&M 41-23
on Saturday in College Station. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicated,
with the Aggies scoring the final 13 points.

The Miami offense had 398 yards, with tailback Craig Cooper running for 128
yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries. Quarterback Robert Marve was
16-of-22 for 212 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.

This is the second year in a row Miami has blasted the Aggies. Last year they
won 34-17 at home. They appear to have a major speed advantage over Texas

  • Offensive MVP. Robert Marve. 16-of-22 for 212 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1
  • Defensive MVP: Eric Moncur. 2 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 forced
    fumble, 1 interception

Up Next: North Carolina, Saturday, September 27, Noon, ESPN2

North Carolina (2-1, 0-1)

In the biggest game for UNC football in quite some time, the Tar Heels
allowed 17 unanswered points in a 20-17 loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday. In
the process, starting quarterback T.J. Yates was knocked out of the game with a
fractured ankle, and he will be out for at least six weeks.

The running game appears to be what will hold UNC back this year. Tailback
Greg Little is not an impressive runner. He had 18 carries for 71 yards against
the Hokies, but 50 came on one run. His other 17 carries netted just 21 yards.
When you have a 50 yard run in a game, you shouldn’t average less than four
yards per carry.

If T.J. Yates isn’t ready to go this week, the Tar Heels could be knocked out
of the Coastal Division race in a hurry. They travel to Miami on Saturday, and
backup quarterback Mike Paulus had a tough day against a rapidly improving
Virginia Tech defense.

  • Offensive MVP: T.J. Yates. 11-of-18 for 181 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Mark Paschal. 12 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 interception

Up Next: at Miami, Saturday, September 27, Noon, ESPN2

NC State (2-2, 0-1)

NC State, left for dead by most sportswriters, upset East Carolina 30-24 in
overtime on Saturday in Raleigh. NC State r-freshman quarterback Russell Wilson
was impressive, completing 21-of-31 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns. A
good passing game can beat a vulnerable ECU secondary, but Virginia Tech and WVU
just couldn’t get it going through the air.

The game was dead even through four quarters of play, and it was nearly dead
even on the stats sheet as well. NC State finished with 384 yards of total
offense, while East Carolina had 383. A fumble by ECU quarterback Patrick
Pinkney in overtime was the difference.

Defensively, linebacker Nate Irving is rapidly becoming arguably the best
linebacker in the ACC.

  • Offensive MVP: Russell Wilson. 21-of-31 for 210 yards, 3 touchdowns
  • Defensive MVP: Shea McKeen. 7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Up Next: South Florida, Saturday, September 27, 7:30pm, ESPNU

Virginia (1-2, 0-0)

Virginia was off. They’ll take on Duke this coming Saturday. A loss could
mean a last place finish in the Coastal Division this year.

Up Next: @Duke, Saturday, September 27, Noon, ESPNU

Virginia Tech (3-1, 2-0)

With Saturday’s 20-17 win over UNC, Virginia Tech is 2-0 in the ACC, with the
head-to-head tiebreaker over Coastal Division contenders Georgia Tech and North
Carolina. Despite the loss to East Carolina, that’s a pretty good way to start
the season.

The Hokies struggled offensively early in the game, but were much better in
the second half. The defense gave up a couple of big plays as expected, but
overall they were very good. They applied pressure on the quarterback, getting
four sacks and eventually knocking T.J. Yates out of the game. Mike Paulus
entered and threw two costly interceptions.

The Tech defense not only had four sacks, but they hurried the UNC
quarterbacks a total of 12 times.

The stats weren’t necessarily there for Tyrod Taylor, but he made a few
critical plays in the second half to get the offense moving in the right
direction. The Hokies now play two out-of-conference games against Nebraska and
Western Kentucky before returning to ACC play.

  • Offensive MVP: Tyrod Taylor. 11-of-21 for 125 yards, 2 interceptions,
    12 carries for 35 yards
  • Defensive MVP: Orion Martin. 3 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Up Next: at Nebraska, Saturday, September 27, 8pm, ABC

Wake Forest (3-0, 1-0)

Are they really an underdog anymore? Wake Forest went into Doak Campbell
Stadium and beat Florida State 12-3 on Saturday night, forcing seven turnovers
and making the Seminole quarterbacks look silly.

As noted above, the game could have been a lot worse. Riley Skinner fumbled
on the FSU two yard line, Wake had a touchdown called back because of a penalty,
and the normally reliable Sam Swank missed three field goals that were well
within his range. The Demon Deacons didn’t play as well as they were capable,
and they still came away with the win.

If Wake beats Clemson on Thursday, October 9 in Winston-Salem, who in the
Atlantic Division can challenge them?

  • Offensive MVP: Riley Skinner. 17-of-29, 217 yards
  • Defensive MVP: Alphonso Smith. 3 tackles, 1 interception, 4 passes

Up Next: Navy, Saturday, September 27, 3:45pm, ESPNU

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