Around the ACC: September 7, 2009

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The ACC was supposed to be better this year, but it looks the same after one
week of play. Conference teams lost all of their big games to non-conference
foes, and two teams even managed to get knocked off at home by 1-AA competition.
It’s not a good start to the 2009 season.

The ACC won a grand total of four football games over the weekend, and only
one of the victories came against a 1-A team. That was Clemson’s victory over
Middle Tennessee. Two ACC teams have yet to play. Miami and Florida State will
meet tonight on ESPN in a primetime matchup. That game will be covered in next
week’s Around the ACC.

Boston College (1-0, 0-0)

Boston College knocked off Northeastern 54-0 at home on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles put up 441 yards of total offense, despite playing four quarterbacks
who had never taken college snaps. Those quarterbacks combined to go 15-of-22
for 205 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Sophomore tailback
Montel Harris ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, BC held Northeastern to just 131 yards. The Eagles lost
defensive tackles Ron Brace and B.J. Raji to the NFL, and All-ACC linebacker
Mark Herzlich is out for the season while battling cancer. Despite those losses,
the Eagles are off to as good a start as they could hope for. However, they
recorded no sacks in this game, so pass rushing could be an issue this year.

BC gets Kent State at home this Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 2pm on
ESPN360.com.



Clemson (1-0, 0-0)

Clemson easily dispatched Middle Tennessee 37-14 on Saturday in Death Valley.
New starting quarterback Kyle Parker was 9-of-20 for 159 yards, with two
touchdowns and no interceptions. Parker is a r-freshman who was making his first
collegiate start. He also had 25 yards rushing on the day.

However, Clemson didn’t play great football. They fumbled three times, losing
one of them, and this was only a 27-14 game in the fourth quarter. The Tigers
relied on special teams touchdowns from C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford to jump out
to a lead. The offense was very conservative with a new starter at quarterback.

We’ll know more about Clemson when they face Georgia Tech this Thursday night
on ESPN.



Duke (0-1, 0-0)

Duke was hoping to contend for a bowl this year, but that’s unlikely to
happen. The Blue Devils lost to defending 1-AA National Champion Richmond on
Saturday night at home by a score of 24-16. Quarterback Thad Lewis gave a
valiant effort, throwing for 350 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
However, Duke rushed for just 19 yards on the Spiders.

Defensively, Duke allowed just 282 yards of total offense. Despite
out-gaining their opponent and committing no turnovers, the Blue Devils managed
to find a way to lose the football game.

It was a much-anticipated game for Duke. 33,311 fans turned out, which was
the biggest crowd since the 2001 season. However, their team couldn’t get it
done.

Duke faces Army on the road on Saturday at noon. The game will be televised
by the CBS College Sports Network.



Georgia Tech (1-0, 0-0)

All-ACC running back Jonathan Dwyer picked up right where he left off last
season, taking a pitch and running 74 yards for a touchdown on the first play
from scrimmage in Georgia Tech’s 37-17 win over Jacksonville State. Dwyer paced
a running attack that piled up 335 yards. Georgia Tech’s passing game also
looked improved. Josh Nesbitt was 6-of-11 for 141 yards and a touchdown.

The Yellow Jackets didn’t even have all of their weapons on offense. A-back
Roddy Jones was out with a wrist injury, but he is expected to return for
Thursday night’s game against Clemson.

There could potentially be some issues with Georgia Tech’s defensive line.
Jacksonville State running backs Calvin Middleton and Jamal Young both averaged
over five yards per carry, and only combined for three yards of negative plays.

Georgia Tech has a big matchup this Thursday when they host Clemson at 7:30pm
on ESPN.



Maryland (0-1, 0-0)

Maryland went on the road and was annihilated by Cal by a score of 52-13. As
expected, the Terps’ defense was soft, allowing 542 yards of total offense. Cal
tailback Jahvid Best ran for 137 yards on just ten carries, while quarterback
Kevin Riley threw for 298 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

Maryland did get 91 yards rushing from Da’Rel Scott, but their only touchdown
came with just 7:29 remaining in the game. This one was over by halftime, when
the score was 31-6.

Maryland hosts James Madison this Saturday at 6pm on ESPN360. This has the
potential to be another 1-AA win over an ACC team.

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North Carolina (1-0, 0-0)

UNC downed The Citadel 40-6 on Saturday in Chapel Hill. Shaun Draughn rushed
for 118 yards to pace a Tar Heel rushing attack that finished with 261 yards on
the ground. UNC averaged 5.9 yards per carry. As expected, the passing game
struggled after the loss of receivers Brandon Tate, Hakeem Nicks and Brooks
Foster to the NFL. T.J. Yates was just 9-of-20 for 114 yards, with two
touchdowns and an interception.

The UNC defense was dominant, holding The Citadel to just 153 yards of total
offense while intercepting three passes. Overall, the Tar Heels looked good, but
they’ll have to improve their passing game as the season progresses.

UNC gets UConn on the road on Saturday at noon. The game will be televised by
ESPNU.



NC State (0-1, 0-0)

NC State was expected to have a good offense behind All-ACC quarterback
Russell Wilson, but they lost to South Carolina 7-3 in the first game of the
college football season on Thursday night. The Wolfpack finished with just 133
yards of total offense, and Wilson was just 12-of-23 for 74 yards. NC State
averaged just 1.9 yards per carry against the Gamecock defense.

NC State was very good defensively, allowing only 256 yards. South Carolina’s
only touchdown came after the Wolfpack fumbled on their own 14 yard line on
their first play from scrimmage.

It’s a tough start for NC State, but they’ll get a chance to get better
against Murray State this Saturday at 6pm in a non-televised game.



Virginia (0-1, 0-0)

Virginia’s new spread offense didn’t fare well on Saturday, as the Hoos
dropped a 26-14 home game to William & Mary. UVA managed just 268 yards of
total offense as Vic Hall, Jameel Sewell and Marc Verica all took snaps at
quarterback. Sewell threw three interceptions, and that proved to be the
difference.

The UVA defense wasn’t dominant either, as they allowed over 300 yards of
total offense to a 1-AA team. William & Mary’s Jake Trantin was dominant
against the Cavalier offense, finishing with 11 tackles, three tackles for loss,
a sack and a fumble recovery. UVA had a total of seven turnovers, while William
& Mary had just one.

The Hoos have a very tough opponent this Saturday. They will host TCU at
3:30pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.



Virginia Tech (0-1, 0-0)

Virginia Tech led 17-16 early in the fourth quarter, but a worn out defense
eventually succumbed to a physical Alabama offense in a 34-24 loss. Tech’s
offense managed just 155 total yards, and 75 of those yards came on two plays
from Ryan Williams. On the Hokies’ other 49 offensive plays, the offense managed
just 80 yards.

Williams was a bright spot for an otherwise sputtering Tech offense. He
finished with 13 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown. He also caught two passes
for 42 yards. Williams had 113 of Tech’s 155 yards of total offense.

The defense kept Tech in the game until the fourth quarter. At that point
Alabama began to pick on new linebacker Jake Johnson, and the rest of the Tech
defense began to wear down. Alabama held the ball for 37:02, while the Hokies
had it for just 22:58. The Crimson Tide ran 79 plays to Tech’s 51.

The Hokies return to action on Saturday when they host Marshall in Lane
Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30pm, and the game can be viewed on
ESPN360.com.



Wake Forest (0-1, 0-0)

Wake Forest lost all three linebackers and much of their starting secondary,
and they were supposed to struggle against outstanding Baylor quarterback Robert
Griffin. However, it was the front seven that allowed 197 yards on the ground in
a 24-21 home setback to the Bears. Baylor threw for just 169 yards, but the
Demon Deacons couldn’t stop their running game.

Wake’s offense also contributed to the loss. Quarterback Riley Skinner
struggled, throwing three interceptions, and the Demon Deacons averaged just 3.7
yards per carry. Tailbacks Josh Adams and Brandon Pendergrass combined for just
seven carries for 17 yards. Wake must get the ball to their best tailbacks if
they want to succeed on offense.

The Demon Deacons will now host Stanford at noon on Saturday. Raycom will
televise the game. Check your local listings.

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