At least Maryland and the Research Triangle in North Carolina is feeling pretty good after a terrible weekend for the ACC.
The biggest story focuses on the mess that Florida State left all over the Carter-Finley Stadium turf Saturday night. North Carolina waxed a nemesis, Duke rolled again and is a win away from bowl eligibility, and N.C. State completely re-directed the trajectory of its season by ending FSU’s bid to contend for a national championship,
Here is this week’s report card:
Boston College – Any team that allows 600 yards to Army and becomes the Black Knights first victim of the season can’t feel very good about itself. That’s where 1-4 BC is now. Nothing positive to take from this performance. Nothing. Grade: F.
Clemson – It shouldn’t have surprised anyone with an understanding of this rivalry that the Tigers struggled putting away the plummeting Yellow Jackets. But Clemson rode the arm of Tajh Boyd (397 yards) and hands of receiver DeAndre Hopkins (173 yards receiving) to a 47-31 victory in a game Clemson trailed in the fourth quarter. Clemson allowed 483 yards (339 on the ground) but amassed 601. Grade: B-.
Duke – The Blue Devils outscored Virginia 28-0 in the second half to pull away and blow out the visiting Cavaliers 42-17. Duke was outgained 461-394, but the Devils made the bigger plays, forced a pair of turnovers without giving UVa any freebies, and had touchdowns of 54, 37, 45 and 34 yards. Anthony Boone passed for 212 yards and four scores in place of injured starter Sean Renfree and wide receiver Connor Vernon became the ACC’s all-time leading pass catcher. Duke is now 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the ACC in its best start to a season since 1994. Grade: A.
Florida State – Jimbo Fisher is going to hear it from FSU fans after the Seminoles fell out of the national title picture with a 17-16 loss at N.C. State. The Seminoles led 16-0 at halftime but were bad offensively in the second half and lost some bite defensively. Fisher deserves some criticism because the Seminoles have way too much talent to lose to most any ACC team, and certainly enough to put away a club that was on the ropes. But with FSU’s disappointment is also the ACC’s. The league needed a national contender but now doesn’t have one. Bad, bad loss. Grade: F. Georgia Tech – No moral victories for the Yellow Jackets after a 47-31 loss at Clemson in a game Tech led with less than 11 minutes left in the contest. But another poor performance by the defense is why the Jackets already have four losses on the season. However, given the situation coming off consecutive home losses and the task of playing the Tigers, credit Paul Johnson’s team for believing it could win. Grade: C-. Maryland – So much for Randy Edsall’s team rolling over and dying. In a season of many disappointments in the ACC, Edsall’s troops are proving to be one of the few positives, and are sitting at 3-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play after dispatching Wake Forest, 19-14. Maryland’s surprisingly strong defense limited the Deacons to 241 total yards and 11 first downs, which helped it overcome a poor offensive effort of its own. Grade: B. Miami – Perhaps no team will hurt the ACC’s reputation more than the Hurricanes. They are 3-0 inside the league averaging 42.3 points per contest, but are 0-2 versus top-10 teams outside of the ACC, losing by an average score of 46.5-8 after getting pummeled 41-3 by Notre Dame. The U allowed the Fighting Irish 587 yards (376 on the ground), 34 first downs and 39 minutes time of possession. Grade: F-. North Carolina – The Tar Heels exorcised a couple of demons by waxing Virginia Tech at home, 48-34, in a game that featured tailback Gio Bernard, who ran for 262 yards. UNC gobbled up 339 yards on the ground and controlled a VPI defense that continues to underperform based on its stated mission before the season began. UNC is averaging just less than 51 points in four home games thus far. Grade: B.
N.C. State – Hand it to the Wolfpack again for rising up and knocking off a heavily favored foe, something the program has done for years under current coach Tom O’Brien and others before him. The Pack was awesome in the second half, closing its win over No. 3 Florida State with 17 straight points for the 17-16 triumph. The way this victory played out typifies the NCSU mentality and should be something it can build on. Kudos to senior QB Mike Glennon for making the right plays for most of the second half and providing the leadership on the field the team needed, as evidenced by converting three fourth downs on the game-winning drive. Grade: A.
Virginia – It just keeps getting worse and worse for the Wahoos, who have lost four consecutive games after falling at Duke, 42-17. Phillip Sims made his first career start under center and did some nice things. But UVa’s defense is apparently too slow to defend anyone in the ACC and had trouble with the Devils, who used big plays to notch the victory. Virginia has lost five of its last six games versus FBS teams being outscored 265-123 with the lone win by a point over a Penn State team that missed four field goals. Grade: F.
Virginia Tech – What on earth has happened to Bud Foster’s defense? UNC scorched the Hokies for 533 yards, including 339 on the ground, and rolled to a 48-34 win on an afternoon Carolina was flagged 15 times, had two turnovers and allowed Virginia Tech to return a kickoff for a touchdown. That suggests just how disturbing a performance this was for Frank Beamer’s program. At least the offense took some significant strides forward in the passing game, but nothing else did. Grade: F.
Wake Forest – Suspended players and a 19-14 loss at Maryland mark the Demon Deacons’ unfortunate weekend. Tanner Price struggled (13-for-38, 170 yards, two TDs) without Michael Campanaro as an option and the Deacs averaged only 2.4 yards on 29 rushing attempts. Wake competed against the improved Terrapins, but this could prove to be a damaging defeat. Grade: C-.