In honor of the exploding scoreboard at the Georgia Tech-North Carolina game this past weekend, it seemed fitting to take a look at the 10 wildest ACC football games ever played.
The Maryland-Miami game from 1984 is included because of the magnitude of the comeback and that the Hurricanes were in the ACC two decades later. Boston College’s memorable 47-45 win at Miami that same season that ended with Doug Flutie’s famous touchdown pass didn’t make it because neither team was in the ACC at the time. No other such games made the list, however.
Here are some notable games that didn’t make the cut: Duke 43, North Carolina State 43 (1988); North Carolina 39, Duke 38 (1976); North Carolina 59, Maryland 42 (1993), Clemson 47, Georgia Tech 44, OT (2001); and Miami 42, Georgia Tech 36, OT (2012).
Here are the 10 ACC football games never to forget:
1. Georgia Tech 68, North Carolina 50, 2012
It’s the highest scoring game involving an ACC team. The Yellow Jackets and Tar Heels squashed the previous mark set in Clemson’s 82-24 win over Wake Forest in 1981. Tech scored at least 10 points in all four quarters, while UNC did so in the first three quarters on its Homecoming. Eleven players scored touchdowns, and Georgia Tech did this with a backup QB in Vad Lee, who grew up in nearby Durham, NC.
2. Georgia Tech 41, Virginia 38, 1990
The Yellow Jackets, who later won a share of the national championship, beat the top-ranked Cavaliers (in November) in their house on a Scott Sisson 37-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining. The back-and-forth game featured numerous terrific plays and the atmosphere was as good as it’s ever been at Scott Stadium. It may still rank as the greatest game in ACC history.
3. Florida State 50, NC State 44 (2 OT), 2003
Philip Rivers and the Wolfpack nearly pulled off a major upset of the powerful eighth-ranked Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium. Rivers passed for 422 yards and four touchdowns and even ran for a score. FSU ran for 272 yards in holding off the program which would challenge the Seminoles the most in their first 15 years in the ACC.
4. Maryland 42, Miami 40, 1984
The No. 6 Hurricanes led 31-0 at halftime, but Maryland coach Bobby Ross put Frank Reich in at QB and he led the Terrapins to 42 second-half points. It was the greatest comeback in college football history until Michigan State rallied from a 35-point deficit to Northwestern in 2006. Reich also led the Buffalo Bills to the greatest NFL comeback in a 1993 playoff win over the Houston Oilers — Buffalo trailed 35-3 early in the third quarter before winning 41-38 in OT.
5. Virginia 33, Florida State 28, 1995
The No. 2 Seminoles entered the Thursday night affair in Charlottesville, Va., with a 29-0 ACC record since joining in 1992, but Tiki Barber’s 193 rushing yards helped No. 24 Virginia win 33-28. The game ended when Florida State tailback Warrick Dunn took a direct snap from center inside the 2-yard-line but was stopped at the goal line with no time on the clock.
6. NC State 56, Maryland 41, 2011
In the final game of the season and bowl eligibility on the line for the Wolfpack, the Terrapins opened up 41-14 lead in the third quarter as fans began filing put of Carter-Finley Stadium. But Mike Glennon threw three touchdowns and ran for another, James Washington scored on a 1-yard run and C.J. Wilson capped the scoring with a 59-yard interception return as State pulled away for the 15-point victory.
7. Clemson 29, Virginia 28, 1992
The 10th-ranked Cavaliers opened up a 28-0 lead at home, but the 25th-ranked Tigers chipped away using their bruising option game and won on a 32-yard field goal by Nelson Welch with 55 seconds left to play in the greatest comeback in Clemson history.
8. Boston College 14, Virginia Tech 10, 2007
The No. 8 Hokies dominated the first 57 minutes of action, owning a 10-0 lead before Matt Ryan and the No. 2 Eagles exploded on a chilly October Thursday night in Blacksburg, Va. Ryan threw two touchdowns in the final 2:11, including the game winner to Andre Callender with 11 seconds left to lift Boston College to the improbable victory to remain unbeaten at 8-0. The Eagles lost to Florida State and Maryland in their next two games.
9. North Carolina 32, Maryland 30, 1986
Officials granted UNC a timeout when the scoreboard showed it had none remaining, allowing the Heels’ Lee Gilarmis to kick a game-winning, 28-yard field goal with no time left. Following the kick, Maryland coach Bobby Ross chased after and grabbed referee Don Safrit from behind before being separated by a policeman and members of the Maryland coaching staff. It turns out the Heels did have a timeout and the scoreboard was wrong. The wild scene later prompted a one-game suspension for Ross by the ACC.
10. Wake Forest 30, Florida State 0, 2006
In a season fitting of Jerry Seinfeld’s Bizarro World, the Demon Deacons improved to 9-1 with a rout of the 5-5 Seminoles, becoming the first team to shut out a Bobby Bowden team at Doak Campbell Stadium in his 31 years as head coach at the time. Wake won the ACC title and finished with a school-record 10 victories.