Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech highlights Week 11 in ACC
Here are some things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference for Week 11:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Georgia Tech at No. 18 Virginia Tech. The Hokies (7-2, 5-1) can take another step toward their first ACC championship game berth since 2011 by beating a Yellow Jackets team that didn't do them any favoris last week in a loss to the other Coastal Division contender, No. 21 North Carolina. Virginia Tech – which was just good enough to hold off Duke last week – plays its final two league games in the friendly confines of Lane Stadium and knows it must be better against a Georgia Tech team that is one victory shy of bowl eligibility. ''It is hard to have a sense of relief when you are trying to get ready for Georgia Tech,'' Hokies coach Justin Fuentes said.
BEST MATCHUP: Wake Forest defense vs. Lamar Jackson and the Louisville offense. The Demon Deacons' defense has keyed their transformation into a bowl team, ranking second to Clemson in points allowed (18.4). But this represents their toughest test so far – a matchup against Jackson, the Heisman Trophy front-runner who leads the league in six offensive stat categories, and a Cardinals offense that is putting up more than 50 points and nearly 600 total yards per game. It won't get any easier for Wake Forest – which plays host to No. 3 Clemson next week. ''There is not a big margin of error when you play a team of this quality,'' Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Only five of 14 ACC teams are over .500 in league play so far. The top two teams in each division have been mostly immune to upsets – the only one of them to lose to a team further back in the standings is Virginia Tech, which lost to Syracuse. The two bottom teams in each division haven't beaten anybody ahead of them except for N.C. State, which defeated Wake Forest in a game that hardly seemed like an upset at the time.
UPSET WATCH: Maybe Virginia will find a way to cover the 10-point spread against a Miami team that just snapped a four-game losing streak. The Cavaliers, who were locked down by Wake Forest's defense last week, will need more from QB Kurt Benkert, who threw for just 190 yards and was intercepted twice with one returned for the game-winning touchdown with less than 7 minutes to play. Complicating things further, the Hurricanes rank fifth in the league against the pass.
IMPACT PLAYER: Look for N.C. State RB Matt Dayes to put up some big numbers against a leaky Syracuse defense. Dayes trails only Jackson and Florida State's Dalvin Cook among ACC rushers, and is 169 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Defense has been a big problem for the Orange, who are 12th or worse in the league in all four major defensive stat categories.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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