FSU-Miami, GT-Clemson headline ACC Week 12
A look at things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference during Week 12 of the season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 2 Florida State at Miami. The Hurricanes certainly look like the toughest obstacle between the Seminoles and another unbeaten regular season. A Florida State win would clinch its third straight trip to the ACC title game and make it significantly tougher for Miami to earn its first championship-game berth in its decade in the league. ”That’s why you come to Florida State,” coach Jimbo Fisher said, ”to be able to play in these kind of games.”
BEST MATCHUP: Clemson’s run defense vs. Georgia Tech’s rushing offense. Nobody in the ACC runs the ball quite like Paul Johnson’s option-oriented Yellow Jackets, who gain 335 yards per game on the ground. Nobody stops the run quite like the Tigers, who give up only 2.7 yards per carry.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Quarterbacks don’t seem to show their age in the ACC. None of the eight most efficient QBs in the conference are seniors and the leader in passing efficiency is true freshman Brad Kaaya of Miami, who has a rating of 157.6. He’s followed by four sophomores and three juniors. The senior with the best rating is Clemson’s Cole Stoudt, who is ninth at 119.7.
LONG SHOT: This could be Wake Forest’s best chance to claim its first ACC win. The Demon Deacons are two-touchdown underdogs to an N.C. State team that has one league win in two years and has lost five conference games by at least 12 points. Wake Forest showed encouraging signs in losses to Boston College and Clemson and will need the nation’s worst rushing offense to get something going against one of the league’s worst run defenses.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB James Conner, WR Tyler Boyd – any number of Pittsburgh players could put up huge numbers against a North Carolina defense that is the ACC’s worst. Coach Larry Fedora says his Tar Heels have ”tweaked some things for this game,” but will it be enough to slow down Conner, the nation’s fourth-leading rusher at 149 yards per game, or Boyd, who averages nearly 89 yards receiving?
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.