Around the ACC: November 2, 2009

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With only the month of November remaining, there are still a lot of questions
to be answered in the ACC. The Atlantic Division is still up for grabs. There
are five teams in that division with either two or three conference losses. In
the Coastal, Georgia Tech and Duke (yes, Duke) sit atop the standings with just
one loss in ACC play.

Who would have thought the Blue Devils would have just one loss heading into
the month of November? That’s exactly the case, as Duke picked up another road
win on Saturday to inch closer to bowl eligibility. Another team from the state
of North Carolina, NC State, remains the only team without an ACC victory this
season.

Atlantic
Division
School Conference Overall This
Week

Boston College
3-2 6-3
Bye

Clemson
3-2 5-3
vs. FSU, 7:45pm, ESPN

Florida State
2-3 4-4
at Clemson, 7:45pm, ESPN

Wake Forest
2-3 4-5
at Georgia Tech, 3:30pm, ABC

Maryland
1-3 2-6
at NC State, 1pm, ESPN360

NC State
0-4 3-5
vs. Maryland, 1pm, ESPN360
Coastal
Division
School Conference Overall This
Week

Georgia Tech
5-1 8-1
vs. Wake Forest, 3:30pm, ABC

Duke
3-1 5-3
at UNC, 3:30pm, ESPNU

Miami
3-2 6-2
vs. Virginia, Noon, Raycom

Virginia Tech
3-2 5-3
at East Carolina, 7:30pm, ESPN

Virginia
2-2 3-5
at Miami, Noon, Raycom

North Carolina
1-3 5-3
vs. Duke, 3:30pm, ESPNU

 

Atlantic Division


Boston College (6-3, 3-2)

Boston College knocked off Central Michigan 31-10 at home on Saturday. It was
a good win for the Eagles, as Central Michigan entered the game with a 7-1
record behind quarterback Dan LeFevour. LeFevour is one of the nation’s better
quarterbacks, but he was limited to just 154 yards passing with an interception
against the BC defense.

The BC offense was very balanced. Montel Harris ran for 136 yards and two
touchdowns on 27 carries, and he also had 37 yards receiving. Quarterback Dave
Shinskie was 18-of-28 for 262 yards, with a touchdown and no interceptions. The
Eagles put up 412 yards of total offense against the Chippewas.

BC has a shot to win the Atlantic division, though they current would not win
the head-to-head tiebreaker with Clemson. The Eagles are off this week, then
travel to Charlottesville to take on Virginia.



Clemson (5-3, 3-2)

Clemson had an easy game against Coastal Carolina, a 1-AA opponent. The
Tigers won 49-3, and now they must prepare to make a run for the Atlantic
Division championship in the month of November.

The Tigers dominated Coastal Carolina with their overall talent advantage,
but there are still concerns. A week after lighting up the Miami defense,
r-freshman quarterback Kyle Parker was back to his normal self. He completed
just 7-of-16 passes for 70 yards, and threw two more interceptions. His play
must improve, or it will be tough for Clemson to get through November unscathed.

The Tigers host Florida State this Saturday at 7:45pm. The game will be
televised by ESPN.


Florida State (4-4, 2-3)

Florida State still isn’t out of the running in the Atlantic Division. They
have put together back-to-back wins over North Carolina and NC State. The Noles
beat the Wolfpack 45-42 on Saturday in an exciting game in Tallahassee. The two
teams combined for over 1,000 yards of total offense.

Quarterback Christian Ponder threw for 277 yards, with a touchdown and two
interceptions. For the first time this year, he was overshadowed by the running
game. Tailback Jermaine Thomas, who has battled injuries, ran for 186 yards and
two touchdowns on just 20 carries. NC State starts two freshmen at defensive
tackle, so their defense is very weak against the run.

The FSU defense is still very bad. They allowed 538 yards of total offense to
NC State. The Wolfpack averaged five yards per carry on the ground, and they
also threw for 349 yards.

Florida State plays at Clemson in a huge Atlantic Division game this Saturday
night at 7:45pm on ESPN.



Wake Forest (4-5, 2-3)

The Demon Deacons lost their third straight game on Saturday. This one was a
heartbreaker, falling at home to Miami 28-27. Wake Forest led 27-14 in the
fourth quarter, but a muffed punt allowed the Canes to get within striking
distance, and then Jacory Harris threw the winning touchdown pass with just over
a minute remaining.

Wake Forest lost this game despite outgaining Miami 555 to 356. Riley Skinner
was brilliant, going 29-of-43 for 349 yards, with two touchdowns and an
interception. Unfortunately Skinner suffered a concussion late in the game, and
might not be available this coming weekend.

Wake was 4-1 at one point, but now they’ve lost three in a row. Their last
two losses have come by a combined four points.

The Demon Deacons play at Georgia Tech this Saturday at 3:30pm on ABC.


Maryland (1-3, 2-6)

Maryland was off this week. They play at NC State this Saturday at 1pm. The
game can be seen on ESPN360.com.



NC State (3-5, 0-4)

After their latest 45-42 setback at Florida State, the Wolfpack went the
entire month of October without winning a football game. The problem rests with
the defense, as they allowed 555 yards of total offense to Florida State.
Russell Wilson threw for 349 yards and five touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to
overcome a bad defensive effort by the Wolfpack.

With a November schedule that includes Clemson, Virginia Tech and North
Carolina, NC State may only have one more good shot at a win. They host Maryland
this Saturday at 1pm on ESPN360.com.

Coastal Division



Georgia Tech (8-1, 5-1)

The offensive juggernaut that is Georgia Tech rolled over Vanderbilt 56-31 on
Saturday night in Nashville. The Yellow Jackets put up 597 yards of total
offense, and Jonathan Dwyer ran for a career-high 186 yards in the victory.
Quarterback Josh Nesbitt had 56 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and he
added 189 yards passing and three touchdowns on just six completions.

Vanderbilt actually led this game 31-28 with a minute remaining in the third
quarter. The Georgia Tech defense still isn’t playing particularly well. They
allowed 397 yards of offense to the Commodores. Virginia Tech transfer tight end
Brandon Barden had three catches for 31 yards to lead Vanderbilt in receiving.

If Georgia Tech wins their final two ACC games against Wake Forest and Duke,
they will play for the ACC Championship in Tampa. They host Wake Forest this
Saturday at 3:30pm on ABC.



Duke (5-3, 3-1)

Duke picked up another ACC win on Saturday, knocking off Virginia 28-17 in
Charlottesville. The Blue Devils not only played well on offense, but their
defense is rapidly improving as well. The UVA offense is nothing to write home
about, but Duke held them to just 196 yards. That’s an impressive day for Duke,
and it’s a major indicator of improvement.

The Duke offense put up 424 yards. Thaddeus Lewis was 24-of-40 for 343 yards,
with a touchdown and an interception. Donovan Varner had seven catches for 113
yards, and Conner Vernon added seven receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.

This isn’t a Duke team that you can take lightly anymore. They have road wins
against NC State and Virginia. They haven’t beaten an ACC team that will go
bowling, but this is still rapid improvement for the Blue Devils. Now they have
confidence that they can win.

Duke will play North Carolina on Saturday at 3:30pm on ESPNU.


Miami (6-2, 3-2)

Miami was outplayed for most of Saturday’s game against Wake Forest, but the
Hurricanes played well enough in the fourth quarter to rally for the 28-27
victory. Miami trailed 27-14 early in the fourth quarter and they were forced to
punt. They were not playing well in any phase of the game. However, momentum
changed quickly when Wake muffed the punt and Miami recovered on the two yard
line. The Canes scored on the very next play, and eventually completed the
comeback.

Jacory Harris was 22-of-43 for 330 yards, with three touchdowns and an
interception. He is having a good season for Miami. Harris still throws too many
interceptions, and he’s still raw as a quarterback, but he’s only a true
sophomore. He’s going to be a good one.

The concern for Miami is their defense. They allowed 555 yards of total
offense to Wake Forest after giving up 410 yards to a below average Clemson
offense the previous week. The Canes have had injury problems on defense, and
that is a major contributing factor.

Miami hosts Virginia this Saturday at noon on Raycom.



Virginia Tech (5-3, 3-2)

Virginia Tech dropped a tough Thursday night game to UNC 20-17 this past
week. The Hokies were beaten at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,
but still had a chance to win the game. However, a fourth quarter fumble by Ryan
Williams gave UNC the ball, and they were able to connect on the game-winning
field goal as time expired.

The most concerning thing about this game was the play of the Hokies’
interior defense. UNC repeatedly ran right up the middle on the Hokies in the
second half. The defensive tackles were blown off the ball, and the inside
linebackers were nowhere to be found. The Tar Heels ran for 181 yards on Tech,
and they haven’t been a good running team this season.

Bud Foster has decided to try a change at the backer position. Lyndell
Gibson, a r-freshman, will start in place of fellow r-freshman Jake Johnson this
Thursday at East Carolina.

The Hokies will take on the Pirates this Thursday night in Greenville at
7:30pm on ESPN.



Virginia (3-5, 2-2)

Virginia was outscored 16-0 over the final 3:45 in a 28-17 home loss to Duke
on Saturday. With the home loss to Duke, the Hoos have basically no shot at a
bowl game this year. They still have to play Miami, Boston College, Clemson and
Virginia Tech in the month of November. It’s possible that they have won their
final game in 2009.

The Virginia offense, which has been the main culprit all season, managed
just 196 yards of total offense against the Blue Devils. The UVA defense, which
has performed well for most of the year, can only do so much.

The Hoos play at Miami on Saturday. The game will be televised by Raycom at
noon.



North Carolina (5-3, 1-3)

The Tar Heels picked up their first win in the ACC this year with a 20-17
victory in Blacksburg on Thursday night. The impressive UNC defensive front
seven was too much for the Virginia Tech offense to handle. Tyrod Taylor was
pressured for most of the night and sacked three times, while Ryan Williams was
shut down, with the exception of a couple of nice runs.

UNC is getting healthier on offense, which has led to improved numbers in the
last two games against Florida State and Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels are
developing a power running attack because their wide receivers are so young.
They ran for 181 yards on the Hokies, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Tech knew
exactly what was coming in the fourth quarter, but they still couldn’t stop it.

UNC is out of the Coastal Division race thanks to their poor start, but a
bowl game is there for the taking. They host Duke this Saturday at 3:30pm on
ESPNU.



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