Duke's Cutcliffe, Panthers' Rivera ace the weekend
Posted October 14, 2013
Dave Doeren, NCSU, D: The good news is that Brandon Mitchell should be back for the next game.
The bad news is that game will be at Florida State (Oct. 26), and the Seminoles have been KO'ing quarterbacks left, right and dead center.
The injuries have been nonstop, but the offensive execution and schemes have been just as costly. In Saturday’s 24-10 loss to Syracuse, the Pack averaged only 3.7 yards per play and 2.9 on rushes. If those figures don’t improve a lot, there will be no winning record, no bowl and not much to look forward to until Jacoby Brissett gets in the lineup.
Previous grades: Three Bs, one C, one D.
David Cutcliffe, Duke, A: The 35-7 win over Navy was so impressive and so thorough that the Blue Devils have to feel good about this week’s trip to Virginia and games yet to come against the Wolfpack, UNC and Wake Forest.
The most surprising aspect of the 4-2 record is the ground game production being provided by Josh Snead, Jela Duncan, Juwan Thompson and Shaquille Powell. And now with Anthony Boone back at quarterback, the air game will only gain momentum.
At the turn, Cutcliffe is the league coach of the year leader by at least a furlong or two.
Previous grades: One A, two Bs, one C, one D.
Ruffin McNeill, ECU, D: What should have been a win at Tulane ended in a staggering 36-33 triple-overtime loss that may eventually undermine the Pirates’ Conference USA East Division title hopes.
The worst part of it was that Tulane’s standout quarterback Nick Montana was too banged up to play and the Pirates gave up 229 passing yards to freshman sub Devin Powell.
Now 2-1 in the league, ECU will probably have to win out in league games against Southern Miss, Florida International, Tulsa, Alabama-Birmingham and then the finale trip to Marshall (4-2, 2-0).
Previous grades: One A, three Bs, one C.
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers, A: Either Rivera is gradually turning the corner or he’s going to become one of the all-time aces and spaces coaches.
The Panthers have looked like world beaters in two of their past four games and just awful in the other two. In Sunday’s 35-10 win at Minnesota, Cam Newton had one of his best days ever and the defense was stifling when it counted.
The next three games are against St. Louis (3-3), Tampa (0-5) and Atlanta (1-4). Rivera needs to win all three because the ensuing three are against San Francisco (4-2), New England (5-1) and Miami (3-2).
Previous grades: One A, one C, one D, one F.