ACC Football: Week 12 Power Rankings

The ACC saw one team ruin its College Football Playoff hopes but it was a good weekend overall for the conference. Check out all the happenings in the Week 12 Power Rankings.

Well the Louisville Cardinals saw its College Football Playoff chances ruined with their 36-10 loss to the unranked Houston Cougars. Quarterback Lamar Jackson looked human in the loss although he did throw a touchdown pass. He was held to just 33 rushing yards in the game.

In conference play, a lot of teams solidified their position in the power rankings. The Clemson Tigers made light work of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, clinching the ACC Atlantic division crown in the process. The Tigers punch their ticket to the ACC Championship game and await the ACC Coastal division winner.

Pittsburgh scored 14 points in each quarter of their game against Duke to win 56-14. Running back James Conner ran for 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Miami won their third straight ACC game over NC State 27-13. They are 7-4 this season since losing four straight games.

Outside of the conference schedule, Boston College, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech all earned victories. The Virginia Tech Hokies avoided back-to-back losses for the third time in a row this season. The Tar Heels bounced back from their loss to Duke with a 41-7 win over Citadel. The Golden Eagles snapped a two-game losing streak and are now one game away from bowl eligibility.

Here are this week’s ACC Power Rankings.

Nov 19, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers wide receiver Doni Dowling (7) runs after a catch against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the fourth quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia Tech defeated Virginia 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports


Virginia Cavaliers


Last week: L 31-17 Georgia Tech
Last rank: 13th

The Virginia Cavaliers suffered their sixth straight ACC loss of the season last week 31-17 to Georgia Tech. It was a game where the stats didn’t seem to match the result as the Cavaliers outplayed the Yellow Jackets.

The Cavaliers outgained the Georgia Tech offense 409-321 in total yards of offense. UVA earned 27 first downs in the game to the Yellow Jackets’ eight. Running back Taquan Mizzell ran for a season-high 131 rushing yards on 24 carries. However, he didn’t score a touchdown. Turnovers were the Achilles’ heel for the offense, they had three turnovers in the game.

Senior quarterback Matt Johns made his first start of the season, replacing Kurt Benkert. Johns threw three interceptions, including a pick-six in the second half. The Yellow Jackets scored 10 points off the UVA turnovers.

It was another week in the loss column for the Cavaliers but their offense has made a lot of progress this season.

Next Week: @ Virginia Tech

Next week the Cavaliers travel to Blacksburg to face the Virginia Tech Hokies. They have lost the last 12 meetings to Virginia Tech.

Nov 19, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston College Eagles running back Davon Jones (16) carries the ball against the Connecticut Huskies during the second half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


Boston College Golden Eagles


Last week: W 30-0 UConn
Last rank: 14th

The Boston College Golden Eagles kept their bowl hopes alive last week with a 30-0 shutout victory over Connecticut. It was Boston College’s first shutout of the season.

The Golden Eagles snap a two-game losing streak this week after forcing four turnovers on defense. Linebacker Matt Milano scored on a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown as well.

It was a good game overall for Boston College as the offense earned 337 total yards in the game. Quarterback Patrick Towles threw 14-for-19 with 183 passing yards and a touchdown. Kicker Mike Knoll connected on all three field goal attempts at 24, 39, and 35 yards on the day to go a perfect 6-for-6. He made three extra point attempts as well.

The Golden Eagles defense allowed just 121 yards of offense and -6 total rushing yards. It was arguably their best performance since their 26-7 win over Massachusetts.

Next Week: @Wake Forest

The Golden Eagles put their bowl hopes on the line this week when they travel to Wake Forest. They missed a bowl for the first time in two seasons in 2015.

Nov 19, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Brisly Estime (1) tries to avoid a tackle by Florida State Seminoles defensive back Marquez White (27) during the second quarter of a game at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports


Syracuse Orange


Last week: L 45-14 FSU
Last rank: 12th

The Syracuse Orange suffered their third straight loss of the season to Florida State 45-14. It is the third straight season the Orange will miss qualifying for a bowl game.

The Orange had its toughest game of the season even though the defense forced four turnovers. They gained 37 total rushing yards as a team as quarterback Eric Dungey missed his second straight game due to a concussion.

Leading receiver Amba Etta-Tawo had just two catches for 58 receiving yards. But he did register a touchdown for the second-straight game.

Quarterback Zack Mahoney was 16-for-36 with 196 passing yards and two passing touchdowns in his second start of the season. He completed 44.4 percent of his passes. The Orange completed a season-low 43.2 percent of their passes in the game.

The Syracuse defense gave up over 600 yards of offense for the third game of the season and allowed 33 first downs, the most all season. 334 of those yards were rushing yards as the Orange also surrendered four rushing touchdowns.

Next Week: @ Pittsburgh

The Orange close out their ACC schedule on the road at Heinz Field against Pittsburgh. They haven’t beaten the Panthers since 2012.

Nov 19, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Duke Blue Devils running back Shaun Wilson (29) returns a kick-off against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Duke Blue Devils


Last week: L 56-14 Pittsburgh
Last rank: 11th

The Duke Blue Devils found themselves back in the losing column this week after surrendering 56 points to Pittsburgh. It is their fourth loss in five games after winning their first ACC game the week before.

It was bad day overall for the Blue Devils offense as they achieved their lowest rushing total since their 24-14 loss to Wake Forest. They gave up a season-high in points and for the third game of the season, they did not score a rushing touchdown. They earned just 25 rushing yards as a team.

The offense was led by quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones threw 28-for-46 with 243 passing yards and a touchdown. But other than that, there wasn’t much help on the offensive side of the ball. Running back Shaun Wilson was held to eight carries for 11 yards.

On defense, Duke allowed 467 total yards of offense. They gave up 230 rushing yards and four touchdowns. It is the first game this season they gave up four rushing touchdowns as a unit.

Next Week: @ Miami

The Blue Devils close out their ACC schedule this week against Miami. They have beaten the Hurricanes twice in thirteen tries.

Nov 19, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack running back Matt Dayes (21) runs the ball during the second half against the Miami Hurricanes at Carter Finley Stadium. Miami won 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports


NC State Wolfpack


Last week: L 27-13 Miami
Last rank: 10th

The North Carolina State Wolfpack took their fifth loss in their last six games, but their bowl hopes are still alive. The Wolfpack have made a bowl game in the past two seasons.

The offense had a rough day against the Hurricanes defense. Quarterback Ryan Finley did throw for 210 passing yards but he had no touchdown passes and one interception. The Wolfpack surrendered two turnovers and 10 points off of them.

Running back Matt Dayes did rush for 76 rushing yards and a touchdown on the day but the offense struggled otherwise. They were 5-for-17 on third down conversions with just 19 first downs in the game.

The Wolfpack defense didn’t force a turnover in the game either. It was just the third game this season NC State did not have a takeaway in a game.

Next Week: @UNC

The Wolfpack travel to Chapel Hill this week looking for their elusive sixth victory. As it is a rivalry game, expect NC State’s best performance of the season.

Nov 19, 2016; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons wide receiver Tabari Hines (1) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports


Wake Forest Demon Deacons


Last week: L 35-13 Clemson
Last rank: 8th

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have lost two straight games since getting their sixth bowl victory. They have lost four of their last five games.

Starting quarterback John Wolford sat out with an ankle injury, giving redshirt freshman Kyle Kearns his first start. Kearns went 7-for-18 with 126 passing yards and no touchdowns.

The Demon Deacons offense had just 197 total yards of offense. They went 2-for-15 on third down conversions and earned nine first downs in the game. Running back Cade Carney had 59 rushing yards and a score.

The defense allowed over 200 rushing yards for the second straight week. It is the fourth game of the season Wake Forest allowed over 200 rushing yards. They allowed 35 points, 21 of them in the first quarter. They came in the game allowing 30 points just twice.

Next Week: Boston College

The Demon Deacons look to get their seventh win of the season this week against Boston College. It would be their highest win total since the 2008 season.

Nov 19, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Qua Searcy (1) runs the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers in the fourth quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia Tech defeated Virginia 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports


Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets


Last week: W 31-17 UVA
Last rank: 9th

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets used some big plays on both sides of the ball to get their second straight win of the season. It is their fourth victory in their last five games. They’ve done well to close out their schedule since losing three ACC games in a row.

Running back Marcus Marshall scored on a 67-yard run. Quarterback Justin Thomas completed a 54-yard pass to running back Clinton Lynch. Running back Qua Searcy scored on a 60-yard run. Cornerback Lance Austin scored on a 24-yard interception return.

The Yellow Jackets defense forced three turnovers, all of them interceptions.

In a game where Georgia Tech was outplayed on the stat sheet, they still found a way to come out victorious.  Despite allowing the most first downs (27) all season, the Yellow Jackets have turned things around as the season comes to a close.

This Week: @ Georgia

The Yellow Jackets travel to Athens this week with upset on their mind. They won the team’s meeting in 2014, but have just one victory in the last seven meetings.

Nov 19, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner (24) rushes the ball against Duke Blue Devils safety Deondre Singleton (33) during the third quarter at Heinz Field. PITT won 56-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Pittsburgh Panthers


Last week: W 56-14 Duke
Last rank: 7th

The Pittsburgh Panthers used a strong defensive game to get their second straight ACC win, 56-14 over Duke. The Panthers allowed just 268 yards on defense to get the win, their second-most yards allowed all season.

The defense forced two fumbles in the game and held Duke to just 14 points. It was their best performance since their season opener against Villanova where they won 28-7.

The Pittsburgh offense enjoyed it’s best offensive day of the season, earning 461 total yards on offense. They scored 7 touchdowns on offense and put up their highest point total all season.

Quarterback Nathan Peterman threw for 237 passing yards and three touchdowns. Running back James Conner ran the ball 14 times for 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Quadree Henderson had five carries for 73 yards and a touchdown.

This Week: Syracuse

The Panthers close out their ACC schedule against Syracuse this week. They haven’t lost to the Orange since the 2012 season.

Nov 19, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton (1) runs the ball during the first half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Carter Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports


Miami Hurricanes


Last week: W 27-13 NC State
Last rank: 6th

The Miami Hurricanes played it tough in the running game and it paid off for their third straight ACC victory. Although they got a win, the game snapped a four-game streak of games with a passing touchdown for the Hurricanes.

Running back Mark Walton ruled the day with 19 carries for 129 rushing yards and three touchdowns. It was Walton’s third straight game with at least 100 rushing yards. Quarterback Brad Kaaya threw for 286 passing yards as well.

The Miami defense forced two turnovers, scoring 10 points off of them. They forced a turnover for the fourth straight game of the season.

It’s been a good turnaround for the Hurricanes since losing four games in a row. They started 4-0 before falling to 4-4 on the season. At 7-4, they look to be in much better shape entering bowl season.

This Week: Duke

The Hurricanes close out their conference slate against Duke this week. Miami is 11-2 all-time against Duke in the series.

Nov 19, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Ryan Switzer (3) with a touchdown catch in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports


North Carolina Tar Heels


Last week: W 41-7 Citadel
Last rank: 5th

The North Carolina Tar Heels handed the Citadel Bulldogs their first loss of the season in impressive fashion. The Tar Heels held the ball for just 17:35 in the game, but it didn’t stop them from scoring 41 points or gaining 356 total yards of offense.

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky was 11-for-20 for 184 passing yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Ryan Switzer caught the ball four times for 93 receiving yards and a touchdown. Running back T.J. Logan scored on a 100-yard kickoff return. He also caught two passes for 25 receiving yards and a touchdown.

It was a much-needed boost for a Tar Heels team that struggled mightily a week before against Duke. The defense forced four turnovers, allowing for 13 points off turnovers. Safety Dominique Green scored on a 58-yard interception return as well for the defense.

This Week: NC State

This week, the Tar Heels close out their ACC schedule with a rivlary game against NC State. The Tar Heels have won three of the last four meetings.

Nov 19, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) scores a rushing touchdown as Syracuse Orange defensive back Daivon Ellison (19) dives in an attempt to make a tackle during the third quarter of a game at the Carrier Dome. Florida State won 45-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports


Florida State Seminoles


Last week: W 45-14 Syracuse
Last rank: 4th

The Florida State Seminoles enjoyed a big game from running back Dalvin Cook to cruise to victory over Syracuse 45-14. Cook ran for 225 of the Seminoles’ 334 rushing yards, passing Warrick Dunn as Florida State’s all-time leading rusher. He also had four rushing touchdowns. Cook tied the career rushing touchdown record of 44 last week with his outburst.

The Seminoles used their rushing attack to cruise to victory last week. Quarterback Deondre Francois did throw for 315 passing yards and a touchdown. Receiver Travis Rudolph caught five passes for 64 receiving yards and a touchdown.

The Florida State defense allowed just 233 total yards and 14 points in the game. They haven’t allowed more than 20 points in their last three victories. They forced two turnovers and sacked the quarterback eight times in the game. It is just the second game this season they’ve held an opponent below 250 total yards of offense.

This Week: Florida

The Seminoles host 21st-ranked Florida this week in their annual rivalry game. Florida State has won the last three games.

Nov 19, 2016; South Bend, IN, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Cam Phillips (5) runs the ball as Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Cole Luke (36) pursues in the fourth quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Virginia Tech won 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports


Virginia Tech Hokies


Last week: W 34-31 Notre Dame
Last rank: 3rd

The Virginia Tech Hokies shook off some early cobwebs to pull out another three-point victory. It is Virginia Tech’s third three-point victory of the season.

The Hokies had a rough first half, fumbling on their first possession and going down 17-0 before getting things on track. The defense allowed just seven points in the second half to power the effort.

The Virginia Tech offense had 25 first downs and was 6-for-14 on third down conversions in the game. They had 419 total yards of offense, shaking off two turnovers to pull out the victory. Kicker Joey Slye kicked the game winning 20-yard field goal with 4:16 left in the game.

Quarterback Jerod Evans had 267 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. He also had 67 rushing yards and a touchdown in the game. The Hokies’ trio of Bucky Hodges, Cam Phillips, and Isaiah Ford had a combined 15 catches for 157 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

This Week: Virginia

The Hokies host the Virginia Cavaliers with the Coastal Division title on the line. A win gives the Hokies their first Coastal title since 2011 and a trip to the ACC Championship game to face Clemson.

Nov 17, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) is tackled by Houston Cougars cornerback Jeremy Winchester (24) during the third quarter at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


Louisville Cardinals


Last week: L 36-10 Houston
Last rank: 2nd

A loss doesn’t hurt the Louisville Cardinals in the power rankings, but it certainly ruins their College Football Playoff hopes. The Cardinals fell eight spots to 11th in this week’s AP Poll as a result of their 36-10 loss to Houston already.

It was the lowest point total achieved by Louisville’s offense all season. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was sacked 11 times in the game. Jackson was held to 33 rushing yards in the game as well, his lowest output of the season.

The Cardinals offense gained 312 yards of total offense in the game and a season-low 101 rushing yards. They fumbled the ball three times on offense.

It was just the second game of the season the Lousiville defense allowed more than 30 points in a game. The last time they allowed more than 30 points, it was to Clemson. They lost that game 42-36 as well.

This Week: Kentucky 

The Cardinals don’t have much time to dwell on their loss to Houston, as rivalry week brings Kentucky this week. They’ve won the last five games over the Wildcats.

Nov 19, 2016; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers running back Wayne Gallman (9) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports


Clemson Tigers


Last week: W 35-13 Wake Forest
Last rank: 1st

The Clemson Tigers clinched the ACC Atlantic crown for the second straight season with an easy 35-13 win over Wake Forest. The Clemson offense scored on their first four drives. They put up 21 points in the first quarter and never looked back.

The game was never close as running back Wayne Gallman ran for a season-high 161 rushing yards and two touchdowns. It was his fourth game rushing for over 100 yards this season. Quarterback Deshaun Watson went 23-for-33 with 202 passing yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 47 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Mike Williams had six catches for 58 receiving yards and a touchdown.

The win marks six straight seasons with 10 victories for the Tigers. They’ll look to get their 11th victory this week to close out the 2016 season.

This Week: South Carolina

The Tigers close out the season against rival South Carolina. Clemson has won the last two games between the teams but lost five games in a row previously.

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