The ACC wasn’t on college football’s center stage this past weekend, but it had five important non-conference games to gauge its overall strength. The result was underwhelming, as two teams escaped against so-so opponents, two were blown out, and another surprisingly picked up a solid win.
The top performers who helped the league won’t include Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco, N.C. State safety Earl Wolff, Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, or Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington. Here is this week’s Honor Roll:
Perry Hills, Maryland — The true freshman quarterback only completed 11 of 21 pass attempts, but they went for 190 yards and two scores without an interception. His positive play helped infuse the Terrapins with the confidence to beat Temple, 36-27, a week after escaping FCS member William & Mary, 7-6. Hills’ performance was about more than stats.
Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest — The multi-talented Demon Deacon once again torched an opponent by catching 13 passes for 164 yards and running once for 9 yards in a one-point win over North Carolina. Campanaro is developing into one of the best players in the ACC.
Steve Greer, Virginia — The ferocious linebacker was in on 15 tackles, including two sacks, in helping the Cavaliers hold off Penn State, 17-16 at Scott Stadium. He was also in on another tackle for a loss of yardage. Greer can flat out play.
A.J. Blue, North Carolina — The redshirt junior, who has been through so much in his UNC career, including an ACL injury, ran the ball 19 times for 106 yards, and scored a touchdown filling in for superstar tailback Gio Bernard in the Tar Heels’ one-point loss at Wake Forest. Blue deserves props for his performance and overcoming so much adversity in his career.
Demetrious Nicholson, Virginia — The sophomore cornerback had an excellent day, taking part in eight tackles plus breaking up three passes while affecting a few more in a one-point win over Penn State. He was all over the field impacting plays even when he recorded no stats on them.
Disappointment of the Week
Miami — It’s doubtful many people outside of the program expected the Hurricanes to play well each week given its youth and the still-newness of Al Golden’s changing culture. But nobody expected to see them manhandled by Kansas State like they were an FCS club. The 52-13 beating on the road was an embarrassment to the ACC and suggests the Hurricanes are not going to contend in the ACC’s Coastal Division.
Player of the Week
Tanner Price, Wake Forest — The junior quarterback passed for 327 yards and scored the winning touchdown after driving the Demon Deacons 93 yards to beat North Carolina, 28-27. Price completed 27 of 38 pass attempts, and his early success help ignite the Deacons, who were underdogs heading into the contest.
Coach of the Week
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest — The football universe once again thought Wake Forest was going to be a dud this year after the Deacons barely beat FCS member Liberty in their opener. But Grobe proved again why he’s as good a coach as there is in the ACC by getting his team straightened out and ready to beat the Tar Heels, which they did, 28-27. Please stop doubting Jim Grobe. He’s a terrific coach.