Around the ACC: October 12, 2009

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With another week of ACC football in the books, there are just two teams
without a conference loss: Virginia and Virginia Tech. The Hoos are having a
good October, as usual, and the Hokies had a dominating performance over a team
that is still in the hunt in the Atlantic Division. The ACC has three ranked
teams, and they all reside in the Coastal Division. Two of them, Virginia Tech and
Georgia Tech, will play each other this weekend.

The Atlantic Division is a mess right now. Two of the preseason favorites,
Florida State and NC State, are now a combined 0-5 in ACC play. Wake Forest sits
atop that division right now, but there are many games to play.

School Conference Overall This

Wake Forest
2-1 4-2
at Clemson, Noon, Raycom

1-1 2-4
vs. UVA, 4pm, ESPNU

Boston College
2-2 4-2
vs. NC State, 3:30pm, ABC

1-2 2-3
vs. Wake Forest, Noon, Raycom

NC State
0-2 3-3
at BC, 3:30pm, ABC

Florida State
0-3 2-4
School Conference Overall This

Virginia Tech
3-0 5-1
at GT, 6pm, ESPN2

1-0 2-3
at Maryland, 4pm, ESPNU

Georgia Tech
3-1 5-1
vs. VT, 6pm, ESPN2

2-1 4-1
at UCF, 7:30pm, CBSCS

1-1 3-3

0-2 4-2


Atlantic Division

Wake Forest (4-2, 2-1)

Wake Forest has won their last two games after losing to Boston College. This
week they beat Maryland 42-32 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score
indicated. They led 42-17 heading into the fourth quarter, and thoroughly
dominated the Terps for most of the game.

The Demon Deacons put up 516 yards of total offense against a very bad
Maryland defense. Riley Skinner was 24-of-33 for 360 yards, with four touchdowns
and no interceptions. Wake also got the running game going, with Josh Adams
rushing for 94 yards on just 13 carries. As a team, Wake ran for 156 yards.

The Wake Forest defense sacked Chris Turner four times and also had an
interception. This defense started the year off slow, but they are improving.

Wake has a big showdown in the Atlantic Division with Clemson this Saturday.
Kickoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be televised by Raycom.

Maryland (1-1, 2-4)

Maryland upset Clemson a week ago, but they were beaten in Winston-Salem
42-32 by Wake Forest this week. They are still tied in the loss column with the
Deacons in ACC play, but this team has too many holes to seriously contend for
the Atlantic Division championship.

The Terps have serious problems on the defensive side of the ball. They rank
last in the ACC in scoring defense (36 ppg), 11th in total defense (406.3 ypg),
last in rushing defense (174.2 ypg), 9th in pass defense (232.2 ypg) and 10th in
pass efficiency defense (143.6).

Maryland has a tough schedule down the stretch as well. They must take on hot
teams in UVA and Duke, and they must also face NC State, Virginia Tech, Florida
State and Boston College. It’s going to be a long year for Maryland.

This week the Terps host Virginia at 4pm, and the game can be seen on ESPNU.

Boston College (4-2, 2-2)

Boston College had won two ACC games in a row before running into a buzz saw
in Blacksburg on Saturday. The Eagles got pounded by Virginia Tech 48-14, and
the Hokies played their backups for most of the second half.

BC quarterback Dave Shinskie was 22nd nationally in pass efficiency heading
into the game, but he was just 1-of-12 for four yards, with two interceptions
against the Hokies. BC couldn’t run and they couldn’t pass, and they couldn’t
stop a powerful Virginia Tech offense and running back Ryan Williams.

Despite that setback, the Eagles are still very much in the race for the
Atlantic Division crown. They hold the tiebreaker over current leader Wake

BC hosts NC State this Saturday at 3:30pm on ABC.

Clemson (2-3, 1-2)

Clemson was off this week. They host Wake Forest this Saturday at noon on

NC State (3-3, 0-2)

NC State was expected to contend for the Atlantic Division crown this year,
but back-to-back losses to Wake Forest and Duke have all but ended that hope.
The Wolfpack not only lost to Duke, they were beaten badly, 49-28. Duke
outgained NC State 502-338, and the Wolfpack’s only touchdown of the second half
came on a kickoff return.

A week after getting shredded by Riley Skinner, the NC State secondary was
burned even more by Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis. Lewis was 40-of-50 for 459
yards and five touchdowns, and he also added a rushing touchdown. The Wolfpack
played two 1-AA teams early in the season, which padded their defensive stats.
The last two weeks have proven that their defense is very weak against the pass.

NC State will try to get back on track this Saturday at Boston College.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30pm on ABC.

Florida State (2-4, 0-3)

Florida State’s defense might actually be worse than Maryland’s. Their latest
loss was a 49-44 setback to Georgia Tech. The FSU defense never forced a single
punt during the game, and allowed 532 yards of total offense. They had no answer
for Georgia Tech’s option, with no forced punts and no forced turnovers.

The once-vaunted Florida State defense is allowing 426.7 yards per game,
including 253.8 yards per game through the air. Both stats rank dead last in the

At least the ‘Noles have an offense. They put up 539 yards against Georgia
Tech, and Christian Ponder was 26-of-36 for 359 yards and five touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Ponder and the FSU offense, the defense isn’t putting up a
fight against anybody.

FSU is all but eliminated from the ACC Atlantic Division race. They are off
this week, and then play at UNC on Thursday, October 22.

Coastal Division

#4 Virginia Tech (5-1, 3-0)

Virginia Tech dominated Boston College in every phase of the game in their
48-14 win on Saturday. The game was 34-0 at halftime, and the Hokies outgained
BC 293 to 3 in the first half. Ryan Williams had another big day for Tech,
rushing for 159 yards on 18 carries, despite playing only one series in the
second half. He leads the ACC in rushing, averaging 122.3 yards per game.

Tyrod Taylor also had another big game, going 7-of-10 for 126 yards with two
touchdowns. Taylor has been dominant since the final drive against Nebraska, and
he is now 10th nationally in pass efficiency with a mark of 159.6. This weekend
he will face a Georgia Tech defense that is 11th in the ACC in pass efficiency
defense. The possibility for another big game is certainly there.

The Tech defense is coming to life as well. They held BC to just 163 yards of
total offense, with most of that coming in the fourth quarter against Tech’s
second and third string defense. A week after looking exploitable in the
secondary against Duke, the Hokies dominated the Eagles.

Virginia Tech has a huge game against Georgia Tech this Saturday at 6pm on
ESPN2. If the Hokies knock off the Yellow Jackets, they will hold the
head-to-head tiebreaker against Georgia Tech and Miami.

Virginia (2-3, 1-0)

Virginia pounded Indiana 47-7 on Saturday, improving their record to 2-3 on
the season. The Hoos put up 536 yards of total offense. Quarterback Jameel
Sewell has finally shaken off the rust after missing the entire 2008 season. He
was 20-of-30 for 308 yards and a touchdown.

Virginia also ran for 231 yards against the Hoosiers, averaging 5.1 yards per
carry. Unfortunately starting tailback Mikell Simpson had to be taken off the
field on a stretcher with a neck injury. Simpson has been released from the
hospital, and is awaiting further tests. He has not been ruled out for this
weekend’s game at Maryland.

Virginia isn’t the bad football team that they appeared to be for much of
September. They’d beat William & Mary if they played again, and they were
very close to beating Southern Miss on the road. They have some winnable games
coming up on their schedule, and they could make a push for a bowl berth.

The Hoos travel to Maryland on Saturday for a 4pm game on ESPNU. They should
be 3-3 after this game, and still undefeated in the ACC.

#19 Georgia Tech (5-1, 3-1)

Georgia Tech proved that emotion can’t overcome execution in a 49-44 win at
Florida State on Saturday night. Florida State players entered the field locked
arm in arm with embattled head coach Bobby Bowden, but the Georgia Tech offense
proceeded to run right through the FSU defense like they weren’t even there.

The Yellow Jackets had no turnovers and they were never forced to punt. They
racked up 532 yards of offense against a porous FSU defense. However, there are
still issues for Paul Johnson’s team. The defense is giving up major yardage,
including 539 against Florida State. Their stats are padded to a certain extend
because they’ve played a 1-AA team and North Carolina’s woeful offense, but against decent competition the Yellow
Jacket defense has been dominated.

That will have to change this week, as another good offensive team comes to
town. Georgia Tech hosts Virginia Tech in a battle that could determine the
Coastal Division championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm on ESPN2.

#9 Miami (4-1, 2-1)

Miami finally played an easy opponent on Saturday, knocking off Florida
A&M 48-16 at home. Jacory Harris was 16-of-24 for 217 yards, with two
touchdowns and two interceptions. As impressive as he’s been this year, Harris
still needs to cut down on his turnovers.

Miami is going to be a tough out for everyone else on their schedule. They
have road games against Wake Forest and UNC, and the Canes will be favored in
both contests. They get Clemson, Virginia and Duke at home before closing their
season with a non-conference game at South Florida. There is a decent chance
that Miami will win out.

This week they play at Central Florida. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm, and
CBS College Sports network will televised the game. UCF is a decent Conference
USA team with the potential to give Miami some trouble, but the Canes should win
if they bring their A game.

Duke (3-3, 1-1)

Duke went on the road and dismantled NC State 49-28 on Saturday. Thaddeus
Lewis was 40-of-50 for 459 yards, throwing for five touchdowns and rushing for
another. He out dueled Russell Wilson, and if the season ended today Lewis would
likely be the First Team All-ACC quarterback.

For the season, Lewis is completing 62.2% of his passes. He has thrown for
1,601 yards, with 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He struggled a bit
at the beginning of the season because he had Swine Flu and an ankle injury in
the month of August, but he’s back to full strength now, as we can see from his
stats the last two weeks.

In fact, Duke had over 30 players infected with the Swine Flu in the month of
August, which made it very difficult to accomplish anything during the
preseason. Without that epidemic, the Blue Devils would have beaten Richmond and
would be sitting at 4-2 right now, in prime position to earn their first bowl
bid since 1994.

The Blue Devils will be off this week, and then they host Maryland on October

North Carolina (4-2, 0-2)

UNC beat Georgia Southern 42-12 on Saturday. Despite the win, the UNC offense
was still unimpressive. They had just 289 yards of total offense, and the
running game averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Part of the reason for the bad
rushing numbers was the fact that the Tar Heels allowed four sacks on the day.

T.J. Yates was 14-of-20, but he still couldn’t complete any passes downfield.
His 14 completions netted just 118 yards. Shaun Draughn had 81 yards on the
ground, and he also led the team in receiving with five catches for 43 yards.

With two of their four wins coming against 1-AA teams, UNC still has a lot to
prove. They are off this week, and then host Florida State on Thursday, October

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