ACC Weekend Football Preview: Week 5

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Navy (2-2) vs. Wake Forest (3-0)

Why Navy might win: Navy gets Wake Forest in the classic “look ahead”
game for Wake (Clemson Thurs. Oct. 9th), after a big win on the road at
Florida State. Navy, which has only had their two year starting QB, Kaipo-Noa
Kaheaku-Enhada, for the past one and a half games this season, is not as
talented as the Navy teams in the past few years. The Midshipmen rushing attack
will find tough sledding against this fast, athletic Wake Forest defense. Slot
backs Shun White and Jarod Bryant will lead the way with FB Eric Kettani taking
a load off them from time to time to test the middle of the Deacon defense. Last
season, the Mids hung tough with the Deacons, leading 17-14 with four minutes
remaining until the half before the wheels fell off.

Why Wake Forest might win: Wake Forest has a very good and sound football
team on both sides of the ball. They will not beat themselves, which is usually
how games such as this can turn on the better/more talented team. The Deacons
are averaging FIVE takeaways a game while only coughing it up five times in
three games. QB Riley Skinner has been superb this season, completing 70% of his
passes with no interceptions and averaging 234 yards per game. The Navy defense
allowed 300 yard passing games in three of their first four. The focus for Wake
Forest in this game should be jump starting the running game and Josh Adams (avg
3.3 ypc). The Deacons have the 2nd worst rushing offense in the ACC, averaging
just 98 ypg.

Wake Forest 38, Nave 10


Rhode Island (1-3) vs. Boston College (2-1)

Why Rhode Island might win: The Rams unfortunately cannot possibly win
this game. They are being out-gained on average by 105 yards per game and that
is after playing football powers such as Monmouth, Fordham, New Hampshire and
Hofstra. The Rams are a passing team, averaging 296 yards per game. I’m not
sure if that is by choice, or the fact they average 1.8 yards per carry and only
49 rushing yards a game.

Why Boston College might win: Boston College will use the Rhode Island
football team as fodder before the ACC action starts back up the following week.
QB Chris Crane was booed off the field after his poor 1st half performance last
week. He returned in the 2nd half to run for two touchdowns and toss a touchdown
to Brandon Robinson against Central Florida. The Eagles need to get Crane
playing with confidence heading into the meat of the ACC. So far this year he is
completing 52% of his passes with two passing touchdowns and five interceptions.
Beyond that, this game provides them an opportunity to rest anyone dinged up,
and get valuable experience to any back-ups.

Boston College 35, Rhode Island 7


South Florida (4-0) vs. NC State (2-2)

Why South Florida might win: #13 South Florida has to be considered the
front runner to win the Big East at this point in the season, while NC State is
not a contender in the ACC. Talent is definitely in the Bulls’ favor. NC State
has numerous injuries, but the two that will hurt most are to their QB Russell
Wilson, who easily had his best game last week against ECU, and the top
playmaker on defense, LB Nate Irving (5 tfl, 3 ints). The Bulls’ offense is
led by junior QB Matt Grothe. Grothe is completing 65% of his passes with seven
touchdowns to only two interceptions, and he also is leading the team in rushing
attempts on the year with 46. Defensively, NC State is not particularly strong
against the run or the pass, so South Florida should have plenty of scoring
opportunities. DE George Selvie and LB Tyrone McKenzie head up a fast and
athletic South Florida defense.

Why NC State might win: South Florida has played two road games this year
and did not play particularly well in either contest. The Bulls beat Central
Florida in OT and held on to beat a Florida International team that has lost 25
out of their last 26 games. The 7:30pm start in Raleigh should at least provide
a raucous crowd to start this game. QB Harrison Beck will be needed to make
plays through the air, as they aren’t good enough to allow him to just manage
the game. RB Andre Brown should factor significantly in the game plan, as he has
been running strong throughout the year. RB Jamelle Eugene returned last week to
take a little bit of the load off Brown and to keep fresh legs in there at all
times. Can the Wolfpack defense hang tough with their top playmaker Nate Irving
out?

South Florida 27, NC State 14


Virginia ( 1-2) vs. Duke (2-1)

Why Virginia might win: The Cavaliers have won their past six meetings in
Durham and are playing a Duke program that has lost 25 consecutive ACC
conference games. They do not want to be the team to break that streak.
Obviously the Cavs need to establish a running game at some point this season.
Cedric Peerman and Mikel Simpson both have yet to reach 100 yards on the SEASON!
Duke’s defense is giving up 157 yards per game on the ground, so there should
be opportunities for yardage. The bye week came at a great time for the Cavs,
giving them more time to prepare new QB Marc Verica. After giving up over 500
total yards to Connecticut I think it is fair to ask, is there any fight left in
the Cavaliers? Are they packing it in early this season? We are about to find
out this Saturday.

Why Duke might win: How bad is Virginia this year? They are SEVEN point
underdogs to a team that has lost 25 consecutive conference games. Wow! UVA is
ranked dead last in the ACC in total offense and total defense, and they aren’t
that close to 11th place in either. Duke is feeling really good about
themselves, head coach David Cutcliffe has them believing they can compete week
in and week out. Offensively, they average 30 point per game and almost 420
yards per game, and boast the ACC’s best passing offense with 252 yards
per game. QB Thaddeus Lewis is having a great start to the season, having thrown
for 714 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Lewis teamed with WR Eron
Riley is probably the ACC’s best combination. Defensively, Duke is still
lacking, but they should have enough wrinkles in the game plan to confuse and
turnover UVA QB Marc Verica.

Duke 30, Virginia 20


Heavy Hors d’oeuvres


Maryland (3-1) vs. Clemson (3-1)

Why Maryland might win: The Terrapins appear to have righted the
offensive ship these past two weeks, scoring 35 and 51 points, respectively.
They better hope that they have, visiting “Death Valley” and the Clemson
Tigers. The Terps will once again lean on their running game, which rates 2nd
best in the ACC, averaging 197 yards per game. Running back Da’Rel Scott will
return after nursing a sprained shoulder the previous week. The Terps’ ability
to control the clock with the run will be critical for their defense, which is
nursing multiple injuries in the secondary. The secondary was weak to begin the
season and have been underperforming ever since. Clemson QB, Cullen Harper, has
not been sharp so far this season. If the Maryland defense can rattle him early
and keep him off rhythm, they might be able to steal a victory.

Why Clemson might win: Clemson hosts Maryland for their 4th consecutive
home game since the opening loss to Alabama. If QB Cullen Harper is ever to
emerge from his mini-slump this season, the Maryland defense is what the doctor
would prescribe. The Terps rank last in the ACC in pass defense, allowing 279
yards per game. The Tiger passing game should take advantage of multiple
injuries to the Terrapin secondary and attack. WR’s Aaron Kelly, Jacoby Ford
and even CJ Spiller out of the backfield should all have success on Saturday.
Once they have them on their heels with a lead, hand the ball to RB James Davis
and wear them down. The question is can the Clemson offensive line give the
skill players time/holes to do their thing? The Clemson defensive line has not
statistically been as disruptive as pre-season publications suggested. Meaning
they haven’t been in the opponents’ backfield registering sacks or tackles
for loss. Could this be their coming out party?

Clemson 30, Maryland 17


North Carolina (2-1) vs. Miami (2-1)

Why North Carolina might win: Head Coach Butch Davis makes his return to
Miami, but not the old Orange Bowl, as the Hurricanes now reside in Dolphin
Stadium. Talk about killing your home field advantage. There is a lot riding on
this game for the Heels. A loss to both VT and Miami and your chances of winning
the Coastal division tie-breakers at the end of the year are not good. The
Tarheels will be without the services of QB T.J. Yates and have yet to name a
starter between Mike Paulus and Cameron Sexton. Not exactly a confidence booster
for Paulus, huh? Miami’s pass defense has not been that good to date, giving
up 275 yards to Texas A&M and 256 to Florida. The Heels have the wide
receiver talent to exploit them in Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate and Brooks Foster,
it will be a matter of the quarterback getting them the ball on time. Don’t
expect much out of the North Carolina running game this week, Miami has been
stuffing the run (75 yards per game). Brandon Tate will most likely need to
break a punt or kickoff return to make up for the potential drop-off in
offensive production with the new QB.

Why Miami might win: How good is Miami this year? We might get a better
idea this weekend when they face off against North Carolina. Miami has beaten
the Tar Heels the past five games played in Miami. The Hurricane defense should
be able to shut down a below average North Carolina rushing attack. If that
happens, Sexton or Paulus may be in a world of hurt with pressure coming from
all directions. Offensively, the Canes will look to establish RB Graig Cooper,
who is their leading rusher with 181 yards and a 5.2 yards per carry average. QB
Robert Marve (r-Fr.) has been respectable in his two starts against Florida and
Texas A&M, completing 65% of his passes for 281 yards with 2 touchdowns and
1 interception. The Hurricanes will not overwhelm teams with their offense (it’s
not that strong yet), but you just know they have playmakers that can take it to
the house in a blink of an eye.

Miami 17, North Carolina 13


Main Course


Colorado (3-0) vs. Florida State (2-1)

Why Colorado might win: Colorado will come to Jacksonville on a high and
with plenty of confidence after knocking off West Virginia in their last
contest. Offensively, they have been getting good quarterback play from
sophomore Cody Hawkins, who is completing 70% of his passes with 6 touchdowns
and 3 interceptions on the year. He will have to be sharp against this stingy
Florida State defense and focus on protecting the ball. The Buffalos’ rushing
attack is headed by two true freshmen. 5’6, 170lbs Rodney Stewart leads the
team in yardage, while Darrell Scott was touted as the best back coming out of
high school this past year. After three games it’s hard to get a read on the
Colorado defense. They held Colorado State and Eastern Washington under 100
yards rushing, but West Virginia ripped off over 300 yards. The Buffalo pass
defense allowed Eastern Washington to throw for over 300 yards. Regardless, FSU
is coming into this contest scratching their heads on the offensive side of the
ball.

Why Florida State might win: Florida State knocked off this Colorado team
in Boulder just last year, 16-6. The Seminoles welcome back the services of five
defensive starters that had been serving suspensions for the first three games.
Their defense is legit and will only get better as the year goes on. The FSU
defense very easily could overwhelm this Colorado team that is making their
first road trip of the year. Do not forget Eastern Washington (1-AA school) had
Colorado down 24-17 with 4 minutes remaining before losing 31-24. FSU has to be
perplexed at their offense’s ineptitude, that can mostly be blamed on a poor
offensive line and inexperienced quarterbacks (Christian Ponder and D’Vontrey
Richardson) who are both completing just 52% of their passes. Funny thing is,
they have a 5th year senior in Drew Weatherford sitting on the bench who has
produced in years past. FSU still has elite offensive athletes in WR’s Greg
Carr and Preston Parker to name a few, and if they can limit their turnovers,
they should have success at moving the ball against this suspect Colorado
defense.

Florida State 27, Colorado 9

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