The ACC shouldn’t have sweat through Saturday as much as it did, and in the end suffered through another poor weekend.
Virginia Tech and its struggling offense fell to Cincinnati on a neutral field, Virginia gave up 44 points in a home loss to Louisiana Tech, and Georgia Tech got clobbered at home by Middle Tennessee State.
Here is this week’s report card:
Boston College – The Eagles fought Clemson pretty well but just didn’t have the firepower to overcome the extremely talented Tigers in a 45-31 home loss. Chase Rettig passed for 341 yards and three scores in the defeat. Grade: C+.
Clemson – Facing a tussle at halftime, the Tigers were excellent for much of the second half in pulling away from Boston College on the road, 45-31. Tajh Boyd (367 yards passing, three scores), Andre Ellington (123 yards rushing, one touchdown), and DeAndre Hopkins (11 receptions, school-record 195 yards plus a score) were terrific. The defense made enough plays, but needs to make more, as more competitive opponents loom on the schedule. Nice way to move on from the loss at Florid State. Grade: A. Duke – In the program’s biggest game since 1994, the Blue Devils improved to 4-1 and ended a 12-game losing streak versus Wake Forest in a 34-27 road win. The Devils are just two wins from becoming bowl eligible for the first time in 18 years. David Cutclifffe is beginning to see some of the fruit of his labor in Durham. Grade: A.
Florida State – Solid, no frills 30-17 win at South Florida simply moves the chains for the Seminoles. The objective is to not stub their toe along the way and also look most impressive in games that will garner the most attention, such as at Miami, at Virginia Tech and at home versus Florida. E.J. Manuel (242 yards passing) did a nice job managing the game and delivering enough for the victory. Grade: B.
Georgia Tech – The Al Groh defense just isn’t working, but the offense isn’t as effective as it needs to be either, and all of Tech’s issues were on full display in a 49-28 home loss to Middle Tennessee State. MTSU amassed 510 yards and a Blue Raiders tailback ran for 217 yards and five scores. This is as inexcusable a loss as there will be in the ACC all season. Grade: F.
Maryland – Did not play.
Miami – At times, the Hurricanes looked awesome Saturday. They have immense talent, can explode anywhere on the field and make sick plays on defense, but they also look lost too often. Both were evident in a 44-37 home win over N.C. State. Miami totaled 651 yards, including 566 passing by Stephen Morris, but allowed 664, though it forced six turnovers. But it improved to 3-0 in the ACC. Grade: B-.
North Carolina – UNC still hasn’t allowed a touchdown at home after ripping Idaho to shreds in a downpour, 66-0. The Vandals aren’t a good team, but UNC was extremely impressive in every aspect of the game. The Tar Heels haven’t allowed a TD in 10 quarters. UNC had 575 yards while Idaho had 189. Grade: A+ N.C. State – Tom O’Brien’s team was on the edge of getting blown out but an interception later turned into a touchdown helped get the Wolfpack going and it nearly pulled off a great comeback. State rolled up 664 total yards on a day Mike Glennon passed for 440 yards and four scores. But giving up 651 yards, turning the ball over six times and getting flagged for 14 penalties were too much for State to overcome. Grade: C+. Virginia – The free fall for UVa football continued in a 44-38 loss at home to Louisiana Tech. The Wahoos had 625 yards to just 385 for the Bulldogs, but Michael Rocco’s three interceptions were huge, and also may have cost him the job. Phillip Sims played well and should be the QB moving forward. UVa was also flagged 16 times for 145 yards. Pretty bad. Grade: C+.
Virginia Tech – It’s one thing for the offense to struggle as it has this season, but a defense that was loaded and talked about being the best in the nation has underperformed. That was the case Saturday when it allowed Cincinnati to drive 80 yards in the final minute-plus to pull off a 27-24 victory. Cincy gobbled up 495 yards and the Hokies’ offense turned over the ball three times. Grade: D. Wake Forest – The Demon Deacons coughed up the ball four times, twice giving Duke excellent field position that led to 14 points. Losing WR Michael Campanaro to a broken hand didn’t help, either. The Deacons may have been caught by Duke. Grade: C-.