2008 Around the ACC: Week 8

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It was certainly a crazy week in the ACC. Virginia Tech, UNC and Wake Forest
all entered the weekend ranked in the Top 25. By Sunday afternoon, they were all
unranked. In the Atlantic Division, four teams are tied at the top with a 2-1
ACC record. In the Coastal Division, three teams have just one conference loss.
It should be a wild finish.

Current Standings

School Conference Overall
Boston College 2-1 5-1
Florida State 2-1 5-1
Maryland 2-1 5-2
Wake Forest 2-1 4-2
Clemson 1-3 3-4
NC State 0-3 2-5
School Conference Overall
Georgia Tech 3-1 6-1
Virginia Tech 2-1 5-2
Virginia 2-1 4-3
North Carolina 1-2 5-2
Miami 1-2 4-3
Duke 1-2 3-3

Atlantic Division

Boston College (5-1, 2-1)

As a result of their 28-23 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday night, the
Eagles now find themselves in a four-way tie for first place in the Atlantic
Division. Despite not scoring in the second half and turning the ball over five
times, BC held on to knock off Tech. The Hokies did not score an offensive
touchdown all night.

BC had exactly 300 yards of total offense, but only 55 of that came in the
second half. The Eagles don’t have a great running game right now, and Chris
Crane is inconsistent. He hit the Hokies for some big plays on Saturday night,
but he also threw three interceptions, two for touchdowns.

The BC defense is good, and they are very good in the front seven. Virginia
Tech couldn’t run the ball at all, except for scrambles by Tyrod Taylor. The
only downside for the Eagles is that linebacker Brian Toal has been lost for the
season with a broken leg.

  • Offensive MVP: Brandon Robinson. 4 catches, 97 yards
  • Defensive MVP: Mark Herzlich. 13 tackles, 1.5 TFL

Up Next: at UNC, Saturday, October 25, Noon, Raycom

Florida State (5-1, 2-1)

Florida State knocked off NC State 26-17 in Raleigh on Thursday night. The ‘Noles
trailed in the fourth quarter, but scored the last 13 points of the game to come
away with the victory. FSU is perhaps the most impressive team in the ACC right

Despite being depth shy and young on the offensive line, the ‘Noles have
started to develop a running game. Antone Smith ran for 89 yards and a touchdown
on Thursday night, continuing his recent streak of good play. Quarterback
Christian Ponder is young and talented, though he is prone to being intercepted
at times.

FSU’s defense allowed NC State to get a running game going, which was
surprising, but overall the ‘Noles have the fastest and most talented defense in
the ACC.

  • Offensive MVP: Christian Ponder. 23-of-35, 254 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Derek Nicholson. 4 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 QB hurry

Up Next: Virginia Tech, Saturday, October 25, 3:30pm, ABC

Maryland (5-2, 2-1)

Maryland continued their odd ways on Saturday. This time they blew out Wake
Forest 26-0 in College Park, and find themselves tied for the top spot in the
Atlantic Division with three other teams. The Terps don’t always play their best
football every week, but when they do they appear to be capable of beating
anyone in the conference.

A big reason for the blowout win was the play of Chris Turner, who was
28-of-41 for 321 yards and a touchdown. When he plays well, Maryland generally
plays well.

The Maryland defense held Wake Forest to 219 yards of total offense. It was
the first time the Demon Deacons have been shutout since 1998.

  • Offensive MVP: Chris Turner. 28-of-41, 321 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Dave Philistin. 10 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack

Up Next: NC State, Saturday, October 25, 3:30 pm, ESPN360

Wake Forest (4-2, 2-1)

Wake Forest is still tied for the lead in the Atlantic Division, despite
Saturday’s 26-0 thrashing at the hands of Maryland. Wake’s defense didn’t play
well, but that was probably a one time thing. The biggest concern of the Demon
Deacons is the struggling offense.

In three ACC games, Wake has scored a grand total of 24 points. That’s an
average of eight points per game. That is not going to win any Atlantic Division
titles. The root of the problem lies with the offensive line, who can not
establish a push at the line of scrimmage for an effective running game.

  • Offensive MVP: D.J. Boldin. 7 catches, 72 yards
  • Defensive MVP: Stanley Arnoux. 12 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

Up Next: at Miami, Saturday, October 25, Noon, ESPNU

Clemson (3-4, 1-3)

With head coach Tommy Bowden out of the picture, as well as offensive
coordinator Rob Spence, things were going to get better, right? Wrong. Clemson
lost at home 21-17 to Georgia Tech on Saturday, and only totaled 249 yards of
total offense. Like Wake Forest, the Tigers’ main problem on offense has been a
bad and injury plagued offensive line.

Clemson has basically no chance to win the Atlantic Division now, and they’ll
probably be lucky to even make a bowl game. The Tigers need more from their
running game, which netted just 51 yards against a stout Yellow Jacket defense.

  • Offensive MVP: Aaron Kelly. 7 catches, 122 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Defensive MVP: Kavell Conner. 12 tackles, 1 fumble recovery

Up Next: Bye, then at Boston College on Saturday, November 1

NC State (2-5, 0-3)

NC State is dead last in the ACC, but with Russell Wilson back at
quarterback, they aren’t too far away from being decent. They lost to Florida
State 26-17 on Thursday night in Raleigh, but they led 17-13 in the fourth
quarter before falling down the stretch.

Russell Wilson doesn’t play like a r-freshman. For the season he is
completing 55.7% of his passes for 713 yards, with six touchdowns and just one
interception. Mike Glennon is the highly-touted quarterback who is red shirting,
but he might have to wait his turn. Wilson is playing pretty well, and should
only get better.

  • Offensive MVP: Russell Wilson. 13-of-25 for 181 yards, 2 touchdown passes
  • Defensive MVP: Willie Young. 10 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks

Up Next: at Maryland, Saturday, October 25, 3:30 pm, ESPN360

Coastal Division

Georgia Tech (6-1, 3-1)

Georgia Tech got another big ACC win on Saturday, this time knocking off
Clemson 21-17 in Death Valley. The Yellow Jackets got another 100 yard rushing
game from Jonathan Dwyer, who finished with 109 yards on 21 carries. The defense
played very well for the most part, ending Clemson’s Willy Korn experiment at
quarterback after one quarter of play.

The Yellow Jackets, despite their loss in Blacksburg, look like they are the
best team in the Coastal Division right now. However, if they finish in a tie
with the Hokies, they’ll lose the head-to-head tiebreaker. As a result, Georgia
Tech must finish a full game ahead of Virginia Tech in the standings to go to
the ACC Championship Game under first year head coach Paul Johnson.

With three of their final four ACC games coming at home, the Jackets have a
fighting chance of doing just that.

  • Offensive MVP: Jonathan Dwyer. 21 carries, 109 yards
  • Defensive MVP: Morgan Burnett. 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 interceptions

Up Next: Virginia, Saturday, October 25, 3:30pm, ESPNU

Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-1)

Virginia Tech suffered a tough 28-23 setback to Boston College on the road on
Saturday night. The Hokies scored two defensive touchdowns and held BC to just
55 yards of offense and no points in the second half, and still couldn’t come
away with the victory.

In many Virginia Tech losses, we can point to special teams as one of the
major reasons. That was the case on Saturday night, as the Hokies gave up a 65
yard punt return for a touchdown by Rich Gunnell.

Of course, there were offensive problems as well. Tech gained just 240 yards
of total offense, 110 of which came on the legs of Tyrod Taylor. Most of those
rushing yards came of scrambles when the original pass play did not work.

Despite their national ranking of 110 in total offense, the Hokies are
actually not in last in the ACC in total offense. That dubious honor falls to NC
State, who trails Virginia Tech by less than one yard per game.

  • Offensive MVP: Tyrod Taylor. 12-of-27 for 90 yards and an interception, 15
    carries for 110 yards
  • Defensive MVP: Purnell Sturdivant. 13 tackles, 2 TFL

Up Next: at Florida State, Saturday, October 25, 3:30pm ABC

Virginia (4-3, 2-1)

Perhaps the most laughed at team in the early stages of the season, Virginia
rallied to win their third straight game on Saturday. The Hoos knocked off UNC
16-13 in overtime in Charlottesville. Virginia tied the game with less than a
minute to play in regulation, held UNC to a field goal in the first possession
of overtime, and then came up with the game-winning touchdown from Cedric

Virginia was +3 in turnover margin, and that’s how they won the football
game. The Hoos intercepted UNC quarterback Cameron Sexton twice, recovered a
fumble, and did not commit a turnover of their own.

As a result of the win, UVA is now tied in the loss column in the Coastal
Division with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. They’ll face the Yellow Jackets in
Atlanta this Saturday.

  • Offensive MVP: Marc Verica. 24-of-38 for 217 yards
  • Defensive MVP: Jon Copper. 16 tackles, 1 TFL

Up Next: at Georgia Tech, Saturday, October 25, 3:30pm, ESPNU

North Carolina (5-2, 1-2)

UNC lost to Virginia 16-13 in overtime on Saturday. They have not won in
Charlottesville since 1981. The Tar Heels were -3 in turnover margin. They have
lost the turnover battle just twice this year, and it’s not a coincidence that
they lost those two games, against Virginia and Virginia Tech.

The Tar Heels are not only without their starting quarterback, but they are
without starting wide receiver and big play threat Brandon Tate as well. With
two huge losses on offense, it’s not surprising that they could only score 10
points against a good UVA defense on Saturday.

UNC’s chances of a Coastal Divison title are rapidly fading. They have now
lost the head-to-head battle against Virginia and Virginia Tech, and both of
those teams are still ahead of them in the standings.

  • Offensive MVP: Shaun Draughn. 30 carries, 138 yards
  • Defensive MVP: Quan Sturdivant. 13 tackles, 1 pass broken up

Up Next: Boston College, Saturday, October 25, Noon, Raycom

Miami (4-3, 1-2)

Miami kept themselves technically in the race with a 49-31 win at Duke on
Saturday. The Hurricanes trailed 24-14 early in the third quarter, but dominated
down the stretch and left Durham with a win.

After Robert Marve struggled yet again, Randy Shannon made a change at
quarterback. Jacory Harris entered the game and rallied the team to a win.
Although he did throw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, Harris
played well. He was 18-of-28 for 185 yards, with four touchdowns and two
interceptions. He also ran for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Miami struggled a bit early in the game, but ultimately did a
good job against a Duke offense that appears to be sputtering out after a fast

  • Offensive MVP: Jacory Harris. 18-of-28 for 185 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2
    interceptions, 53 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown
  • Defensive MVP: Darryl Sharpton. 10 tackles, 1 TFL

Up Next: Wake Forest, Saturday, October 25, Noon, ESPNU

Duke (3-3, 1-2)

Duke’s hot start is likely at an end. The Blue Devils lost to Miami 49-31
over the weekend, and Thad Lewis continued to struggle as he tries to learn
David Cutcliffe’s new offense. Lewis was just 12-of-28 for 130 yards, though he
did throw two touchdown passes.

Duke is playing more confident this year, but when it comes down to it, they
just don’t have the talent.

  • Offensive MVP: Thad Lewis. 12-of-28, 130 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 rushing
  • Defensive MVP: Vincent Rey. 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 interception

Up Next: at Vanderbilt, Saturday, October 25, 3:00

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