No. 3 Tigers’ visit to Wolfpack headlines ACC’s Week 9 slate
A look at things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference for Week 9:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 3 Clemson at North Carolina State. There’s certainly been plenty of drama the last two times the Tigers (7-0, 4-0) have visited Raleigh. In 2011, Clemson came in with a top-10 ranking and left with a 37-13 loss. Two years ago, Clemson – again ranked No. 3 – needed an out-of-bounds call that went against N.C. State (5-2, 1-2) to finally get second-half control in a 26-14 win. The Tigers could use an impressive win to stay in its playoff chase, and safety Jayron Kearse said he figures his coaches will bring up that 2011 debacle ”and that will make us go harder on Saturday.”
BEST MATCHUP: Georgia Tech’s defense vs. Virginia’s turnover-prone offense. Only one ACC team (Miami) has forced more turnovers than the Yellow Jackets, who have 14 takeaways – and forced Florida State’s first offensive turnover of the year last week. If Georgia Tech is going to climb out of the Coastal Division cellar, it’ll need to keep taking the ball away – starting with a Virginia team that has the league’s worst turnover martin (minus-11) and had five turnovers in the second half of a loss to North Carolina.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Playing overtime can sometimes skew the stat sheet. Duke has the league’s second-best scoring defense, allowing 14.1 points per game. But had the Blue Devils’ game at Virginia Tech ended in regulation, and not gone a league-record four OTs, they would be on top at 11.4 ppg – 0.4 of a point per game better than Boston College.
LONG SHOT: Miami is in disarray heading to No. 22 Duke. The Hurricanes (4-3, 1-2) are coming off a 58-0 loss to Clemson that stood as the worst loss in program history and led to the firing of coach Al Golden a day later. They will try to figure out a way to frustrate the Blue Devils (6-1, 3-0). ”It’s going to be far more about the Xs and Os,” interim coach Larry Scott said. ”It’s going to be about being able to mentor and reach these young men.”
PLAYER TO WATCH: Virginia Tech’s Michael Brewer is back at quarterback after missing five games with a broken collarbone suffered in the opener against No. 1 Ohio State. He threw three touchdown passes in last week’s four-overtime loss to Duke and next gets a stiff test when Virginia Tech (3-5, 1-3) visits Boston College (3-5, 0-5) – which has the nation’s No. 2-ranked total defense (217.4) and No. 3 scoring defense (11.8).
Compiled by AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard and Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.