Atlantic Coast Conference News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
BOSTON COLLEGE: Andre Williams hasn't been mentioned among the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy, but after another eye-popping performance, this time a school-record 339 yards against NC State, maybe he should. The record-setting day for Williams also set a new school record for career rushing and puts him well within reach of the sacred 2,000-yard mark, as he sits at a national-best 1,820 yards on the year with two games left in the regular season. It also set an ACC record for rushing in a game and represents the best day for a runner in the FBS this season. The Eagles rushed for 420 yards total against NC State, the most rushing yards for the Eagles in a game since 518 against UMass in 1973. With the 38-21 victory over NC State, the Eagles moved to 6-4 overall (3-3 ACC) and became bowl eligible in Steve Addazio's first season at the helm.
CLEMSON: The Tigers jumped out to a 27-10 first half lead, effectively stopping Georgia Tech from chewing up the clock with its potent ground game, and cruised to a 55-31 victory in Death Valley last Thursday night. The Yellow Jackets did manage to rush for 253 yards, but they were hollow yards, as Clemson amassed 556 yards, keeping their foe at arm's length in the game. All-American quarterback Tahj Boyd had another strong outing, completing 20- of-26 passes, for 340 yards and four TDs. However, he did go the sideline with a collarbone injury and didn't return to action. Fellow All-American Sammy Watkins had five catches, for 104 yards and two TDs in the win, but was outdone by Martavis Bryant, who hauled in five balls, for 176 yards and one score. With the win, Clemson moved to 9-1 on the year and finished conference play at 7-1. The Tigers close out the regular season against a couple of instate rivals in the Citadel and South Carolina.
FLORIDA STATE: The Seminoles handled there last ACC game of the year much like the rest of them, blowing out Syracuse, 59-3 to finish undefeated in league play, finishing 8-0 in the ACC for the first time since 2000. At 10-0 on the season, FSU moved one step closer to earning a spot in Pasadena for a shot at the national title. In the rout of the Orange, the Seminoles needed quarterback Jameis Winston's services for just two quarters, as he completed 19-of-21 passes, for 277 yards and two touchdowns before halftime. In all, Florida State rolled up 523 yards of total offense on the Orange. Meanwhile, Syracuse managed just 247 yards of total offense, with a good portion of that coming against FSU's reserves over the final two quarters. The Seminoles will close out their home slate this weekend against Idaho before the regular- season finale at Florida.
MARYLAND: Quarterback C.J. Brown rushed for 122 yards and scored the winning touchdown in overtime, as Maryland edged out Virginia Tech in Blacksburg 27-24. With the win, Randy Edsall's Terrapins moved to 6-4 on the year and became bowl eligible. Maryland managed a modest 319 yards of total offense, but held the hometown Hokies to just 264. Brown, who averaged 5.3 yards per carry and scored twice on the ground, also passed for 135 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, Maryland recorded 11 TFL and seven sacks, both season- highs. The win halted a five-game losing streak to Virginia Tech and a three- game skid entering the game. Maryland will close out its home slate this weekend against Boston College.
NC STATE: Despite allowing Boston College and more specifically Andre Williams run up and down the field, NC State was still in its contest with the Eagles in the fourth quarter, before falling 38-21 in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles rushed for 420 yards (339 from Williams) in handing NC State its sixth straight loss and keeping the Wolfpack winless in ACC play (0-7) with only one conference game left on the schedule. In the loss to BC, NC State had success through the air (325 yards), as Pete Thomas got the nod under center and completed 22-of-33 passes for 207 yards and one TD. J Ramos led the way downfield with five catches, for 109 yards and one TD. At 3-7 overall and two games left, Dave Doeren will be saddled with a losing record in his first season in Raleigh. Still, the Wolfpack will attempt to finish strong, starting with this weekend's matchup with East Carolina.
SYRACUSE: It was going to be a monumental task for Syracuse to continue its winning ways this past weekend, an unfortunately for the Orange, they weren't up for the challenge, as their two-game win streak came to a crashing halt in Tallahassee with a 59-3 drubbing at the hands of second-ranked Florida State. There weren't a whole lot of offensive superlatives to take from the lopsided loss, as Syracuse was held to a meager 247 total yards. Redshirt freshman tailback Devante McFarlane led the ground game with 81 yards, while fellow youngster George Morris II added 67. The Orange utilized three quarterbacks in the game, with starter Terrel Hunt (10-of-18 passing, 75 yards) providing the most in terms of production. Syracuse had an eight-quarter span without allowing a touchdown snapped in the first quarter, as the Seminoles scored four touchdowns in the frame. Free safety Durell Eskridge did record his fourth interception of the year and finished tied for the team-lead in tackles with seven. At 5-5 overall (3-3 ACC), the Orange are still seeking bowl eligibility, as they close out the regular season at home against Pittsburgh this week and Boston College next.
WAKE FOREST: The Demon Deacons limped into their bye this past weekend off a humbling 59-3 rout at the hands of powerhouse Florida State on Nov. 9, giving the team three straight losses heading into the home stretch. Wake Forest, which is 4-6 overall (2-5 ACC) must win out, against Duke this week and at Vanderbilt next to secure bowl eligibility.
DUKE: The amazing run for Duke continued at home against nationally-ranked Miami-Florida, as the Blue Devils used a devastating ground game to post their sixth straight victory, in a 48-30 decision over the Hurricanes. Duke trailed 17-7 after one quarter of play but outscored Miami 4-13 the rest of the way. Junior QB Brandon Connette rushed for four touchdowns in the game and threw for a fifth, as Duke moved to 8-2 on the season and into sole possession of first place in the Coastal Division standings at 4-2. Duke amassed a season- high 543 yards against Miami. The Blue Devils rushed for 358 yards in the game, led by Josh Snead's 138 yards on just nine carries. Jela Duncan finished just under the century mark with 98 yards, while Connette added 37 yards. After topping Virginia Tech during its current win streak, Duke has now dropped two ranked opponents in a season for the first time since 1971. Duke can take a huge step towards a spot in the ACC Championship Game with a win this weekend at Wake Forest.
GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets were overmatched in a 55-31 loss to Clemson this past weekend in Death Valley. Georgia Tech rushed for 248 yards and while that is usually a strong effort for a team, it was well below Tech's season average (311). Tailback Robert Godhigh had a strong game in defeat, rushing for 126 yards and two TDs, while catching five balls, for 103 yards. In all Georgia Tech put up 440 yards of offense, but it was more than 100 yards less than Clemson (551). The 55 point surrendered to Clemson marked the most the Yellow Jackets have given up to the Tigers since 1903 (73). At 6-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play, Georgia Tech is bowl eligible, but sits behind Duke in the Coastal Division standings. Tech's league slate is over with Alabama A&M and arch rival Georgia left on the docket.
MIAMI-FLORIDA: The Hurricanes' season continued to unravel this past weekend, as a 48-30 loss to Duke was the third straight setback for Miami, leaving the team on the outside looking in at the Coastal Division title at a mere 3-3 in ACC play. Miami put up strong offensive numbers in the game, as quarterback Stephen Morris passed for 379 yards and two TDs, while tailback Dallas Crawford rushed for 115 yards, as UM racked up 543 yards. Sophomore WR Herb Waters recorded a career-high 9 receptions and 116 receiving yards. With his performance, Morris became the fourth QB in Miami history to eclipse the 7,000-yard career passing mark (7,226). However, the 'Canes yielded 565 yards to the Blue Devils, fueled by 358 rushing yards. Al Golden's squad will try to end its slump and get back into the win column this weekend, closing out their home slate against Virginia.
NORTH CAROLINA: Freshman wideout Ryan Switzer returned two punts for touchdowns, leading the Tar Heels to a 34-27 victory over Pittsburgh this past weekend on the road. The victory was the fourth straight for Larry Fedora's squad, which returned to .500 on the season (5-5) and over that mark in conference play (4-3). Quarterback Marquise Williams wasn't particularly effective throwing the football (15-of-27, for 173 yards), but did lead the team in rushing with 79 yards and two TDs. The defense limited the Panthers to 359 yards and while it was guilty of 313 yards allowed through the air, it did get a lot of pressure on the Pitt quarterback, recording seven sacks. The star on that side of the football for UNC was defensive end Kareem Martin, who posted eight tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Once buried at 1-5, the Tar Heels are very much in the bowl picture, closing out the season at home against Old Dominion this weekend and Duke after that.
PITTSBURGH: James Connor rushed for 102 yards and one TD, while Tom Savage threw for 313 yards and two scores, but Pittsburgh's special teams allowed two punt returns for touchdowns, as the Panthers fell at home to North Carolina this past weekend, 34-27. The Panthers overcame a 27-3 deficit to tie things up in the fourth quarter and then had an opportunity on the last drive of the game but were thwarted on a fourth-and-l on the UNC 26 to end the threat. Savage completed 23-of-38 passes in the game and was under constant pressure, getting sacked seven times. Star defensive tackle Aaron Donald continued his strong season with five tackles, three TFL and one sack. He know has 10 sacks on the season and his 22.5 TFL lead the nation. The Panthers have long been out the ACC race, but at 5-5 overall, hold out hope for bowl eligibility, something they can achieve this weekend at Syracuse or in the regular-season finale at home against Miami-Florida.
VIRGINIA: With a seven-game losing streak in tow, the Cavaliers were idle this past weekend. Mike London's squad, which is winless in league play (0-6) and just 2-8 overall, will be fighting an uphill battle to secure at least one conference victory, as Virginia closes out the year at Miami this weekend and then home against rival Virginia Tech to close out the season.
VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies allowed Maryland QB C.J. Brown to score on a three- yard TD run in overtime, as they fell at home to the Terrapins this past weekend, 27-24. The loss ended a five-game win streak against Maryland for Virginia Tech and seriously put a damper on Tech's Coastal Division hopes, although the Hokies (7-4 overall, 4-3 ACC) are technically still alive in the division race, but need some help. The Hokies held an eight-minute advantage in time of possession, but did little with it, amassing just 264 yards of total offense, including a mere 54 yards rushing. Quarterback Logan Thomas was 19-of-31 passing, for 210 yards and two TDs, one of which went to WR Willie Byrn, who hauled in six balls, for 69 yards to pace the team. With losses in three of their last four games, the Hokies will take advantage of a much- needed bye this weekend before closing out the regular season at rival Virginia on Nov. 30.
11/18 11:06:36 ET