The ACC picture started to get a little clearer after another weekend of
games. Virginia and Georgia Tech lost, and they’ll need a lot of luck to win the
Coastal. In the Atlantic, it looks like things will come down to Florida State
and Wake Forest. At this point, expect one of the following five teams to
represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl: Florida State, Wake Forest, North
Carolina, Miami or Virginia Tech.
This Week’s Schedule
Tech @ Miami
Carolina @ Maryland
Forest @ NC State
College @ Florida State
Florida State (7-2, 4-2)
Florida State used their athletic defensive front to take advantage of a weak
Clemson offensive line in the ‘Noles 41-27 victory on Saturday. The game was
more high-scoring than anticipated, but it kept FSU in a first place tie in the
loss column in the ACC Atlantic Division.
Florida State racked up 416 yards of total offense against a solid Clemson
defense. Freshman tailback Jermaine Thomas continued his strong play, with 94
yards on just 11 carries. As a team, FSU ran for 266 yards and averaged 7.4
yards per carry, despite starting three true freshmen on the offensive line.
Despite the win, the ‘Noles don’t control their own destiny. If Wake Forest
wins out, they will win the head-to-head tiebreaker over FSU.
- Offensive MVP: Jermaine Thomas. 11 carries, 94 yards
- Defensive MVP: Everette Brown. 5 tackles, 3 TFL, 3 sacks
Up Next: Boston College, Saturday, November 15, 8pm, ABC
Wake Forest (6-3, 4-2)
Wake Forest jumped out to a 28-3 halftime lead over Virginia, then held off a
rally in the second half to win 28-17. The Demon Deacons kept themselves in the
Atlantic Division race with the win.
Wake was outgained by Virginia 307 to 273, but the halftime deficit was too
great for the Hoos to overcome. The Demon Deacon defense was very good, as
usual. They had an important goal line stand in the second half, stopping
Virginia on four consecutive plays from inside the five yard line.
If Wake can beat NC State and Boston College, they will very likely play for
the ACC Championship. They do need Maryland to lose another game, but with the
Terps’ schedule, that shouldn’t be an issue.
- Offensive MVP: Brandon Pendergrass. 27 carries, 110 yards, 1 touchdown
- Defensive MVP: Aaron Curry. 5 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble
recovery, 1 pass broken up
Up Next: at NC State, Saturday, October 15, 3:30pm, ESPNU
Maryland (6-3, 3-2)
Maryland traveled to Blacksburg on Thursday night and got rocked by Virginia
Tech 23-13 in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. The Terps
allowed r-freshman tailback Darren Evans to rush for 253 yards, a school record.
They allowed a Tech offense whose previous high was 377 yards (at Nebraska) to
rack up 400 yards of total offense.
Maryland’s weakness was completely exposed on Thursday night. They don’t have
much talent on defense. The Hokies took advantage of that, running the ball
right at the Terps, who had no answer.
Maryland is still heading to a bowl, and they are still tied in the loss
column atop the Atlantic Division. However, they still have to play North
Carolina, Florida State and Boston College. They aren’t likely to still be in
the race after that stretch of games.
- Offensive MVP: Chris Turner. 19-of-31 for 240 yards, 1 touchdown
- Defensive MVP: Alex Wujciak. 13 tackles, 0.5 TFL
Up Next: North Carolina, Saturday, November 15, 3:30pm, ABC
Boston College (6-3, 2-3)
Boston College is now bowl eligible as a result of a convincing 17-0 win over
Notre Dame on Saturday night in Chestnut Hill. The game was played in a driving
rain, and neither passing offense could do much to expose the opposition’s
vulnerable secondary. The game doesn’t help BC in the ACC race, but it is a
solid win for the Eagles and the league.
BC quarterback Chris Crane was just 9-of-22 for 79 yards, but he didn’t throw
any interceptions. His counterpart, Jimmy Clausen, threw for 226 yards. However,
he also tossed four interceptions, and the Eagles were able to control the ball
and win the game.
BC would have to win out to have a shot to win the Atlantic Division.
- Offensive MVP: Montrel Harris. 23 carries, 120 yards
- Defensive MVP: Paul Anderson. 2 interceptions, 1 returned for a touchdown
Up Next: at Florida State, Saturday, November 15, 8pm, ABC
Clemson (4-5, 2-4)
As a result of their 41-27 loss to Florida State on Saturday, Clemson is all
but eliminated from the Atlantic Division race. At the beginning of the season
Clemson was considered a National Championship sleeper. Now they are just hoping
for a minor bowl, and wondering who will be their coach next season.
We’ve touched on this a number of times before, but Clemson’s offensive line
is probably the worst in the ACC, and perhaps the worst BCS conference line in
the nation. The Tigers surrendered six sacks to Florida State. They moved the
ball fairly well when Cullen Harper wasn’t on his back, but it wasn’t enough.
- Offensive MVP: C.J. Spiller. 13 carries, 66 yards, 1 touchdown. 3 catches, 55
yards, 1 touchdown
- Defensive MVP: Michael Hamlin. 9 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 passes defended
Up Next: Duke, Saturday, October 15, Noon, Raycom
NC State (3-6, 1-4)
NC State finally picked up an ACC win with a 27-17 victory over Duke on
Saturday. This game was even for the most part, and Duke even outgained the
Wolfpack in total yards, but a kickoff return for a touchdown by J.C. Neal made
this one a two possession game, and Duke never really had a great chance.
NC State’s Russell Wilson, the talented r-freshman quarterback, threw for 218
yards and two more touchdowns against the Blue Devils. He is having an excellent
season and he seems to have a bright future.
- Offensive MVP: Russell Wilson. 13-of-25, 218 yards, 2 touchdowns
- Defensive MVP: DeAndre Morgan. 14 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 pass broken up
Up Next: Wake Forest, Saturday, November 15, 3:30pm, ESPNU
North Carolina (7-2, 3-2)
In an important Coastal Division showdown on Saturday, North Carolina took
out Georgia Tech 28-7 at home in Chapel Hill. UNC dominated the game and
continued to look like the most balanced team in the Coastal Division. Some
might wonder how they managed to lose to Virginia Tech and Virginia. The Tar
Heels were in control of those games in the second half, but lost both.
UNC pounded Georgia Tech’s defense with their newfound running game. Shaun
Draughn had 90 yards on 17 carries, while Ryan Houston added 13 carries for 74
yards and two touchdowns.
At this point, North Carolina does look like they could be the best team in
the Coastal Division. However, they’ll have to win out and hope Virginia Tech
drops a game if they want to play for the ACC Championship.
- Offensive MVP: Ryan Houston. 13 carries, 74 yards, 2 touchdowns
- Defensive MVP: Mark Paschal. 10 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
Up Next: at Maryland, Saturday, November 15, 3:30pm, ABC
Miami (6-3, 3-2)
Miami was off this week.
Up Next: Virginia Tech, Thursday, November 13, 7:30pm, ESPN
Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2)
Virginia Tech took full advantage of their yearly Thursday night game in Lane
Stadium by pounding Maryland 23-13. The score sounds close, but the game wasn’t.
Darren Evans ran for a school record 253 yards, and Tech held the ball for over
12 minutes in the fourth quarter to grind out the big victory.
It was a big win for the Hokies. It kept them in a tie in the loss column for
first place in the Coastal Division. If they win out, they will play for the ACC
Championship in Tampa.
Tech has a huge game on Thursday night at Miami. Neither team has a clear
advantage in this one. If the Hokies pass this test, you’ve got to like their
chances of beating Duke and UVA in Blacksburg.
- Offensive MVP: Darren Evans. 32 carries, 253 yards, 1 touchdown. 2 catches
for 20 yards
- Defensive MVP: Cody Grimm. 7 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack
Up Next: at Miami, Thursday, November 13, 7:30pm, ESPN
Georgia Tech (7-3, 4-3)
Georgia Tech got rocked at North Carolina 28-7 on Saturday, basically putting
an end to the Yellow Jackets’ Coastal Division hopes. They have now lost the
head-to-head tiebreaker against both Virginia Tech and UNC, and they have a game
with Miami remaining on their schedule.
As usual, Georgia Tech outgained their opponent (423 to 314), but they
committed three turnovers and could only manage to punch the ball in the end
zone once, on an 85-yard run by Jonathan Dwyer. They are also without All-ACC
left tackle Andrew Gardner, who is done for the season with an injury.
Despite the setback at UNC, this has been an excellent first season for head
coach Paul Johnson.
- Offensive MVP: Jonathan Dwyer. 22 carries, 157 yards, 1 touchdown
- Defensive MVP: Michael Johnson. 6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack
Up Next: Bye, then Miami, Thursday, November 20, 7:30pm, ESPN
Virginia (5-5, 3-3)
Virginia had a chance to be in first place in the Coastal Division after
Saturday. As a result of their 28-17 loss at Wake Forest, the Hoos are now in
fifth place in the division. That’s how even the ACC is across the board this
It was a familiar sight for UVA fans on Saturday. The Hoos came out flat and
looked completely lost on the road. They were down 28-3 at halftime, and though
they played well in the second half, they couldn’t overcome such a horrendous
start. Al Groh’s top priority in the offseason should be to figure out why his
team is so bad when they go on the road.
UVA will now have to win out and hope for losses by teams ahead of them if
they want a chance to go to Tampa.
- Offensive MVP: Kevin Ogletree. 6 catches, 95 yards, 1 touchdown
- Defensive MVP: Jon Copper. 10 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack
Up Next: Bye, then Clemson, Saturday, November 22
Duke (4-5, 1-4)
Duke had a chance to pick up another ACC win and improve their chances at a
bowl game, but they fell to NC State 27-17. The Blue Devils had their chances,
and they actually outgained NC State, but they fell short in the end.
Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis passed for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. Duke
moved the ball well, but couldn’t put the ball in the end zone enough. They also
allowed an 89 yard kickoff return for a touchdown by J.C. Neal. That turned out
to be a backbreaker for the Blue Devils.
- Offensive MVP: Thaddeus Lewis. 37-of-52, 317 yards, 2 touchdowns, 41 rushing
- Defensive MVP: Michael Tauiliili. 18 tackles, 1 TFL
Up Next: at Clemson, Saturday, November 15, Noon, Raycom