Notre Dame-Clemson matchup headlines Week 5 in ACC
A look at things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference for Week 5:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 6 Notre Dame at No. 12 Clemson. Two undefeated teams with designs on crashing the College Football Playoff meet in a pseudo-ACC game. New Irish QB DeShone Kizer makes his first road start at Clemson’s Death Valley, but Notre Dame is just 2-5 against ranked teams on the road under Brian Kelly. The Tigers have the nation’s ninth-best defense, allowing 260 yards per game, but this will be their toughest test so far. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney joked that ”I do think it’s a little unfair that they brought the Pope into town just in time for the Clemson game.”
BEST MATCHUP: Duke run defense vs. Boston College’s rushing offense. The Blue Devils shut down option-oriented Georgia Tech last week, holding the Yellow Jackets to their fewest yards rushing since 2013 with eight tackles for losses while taking the early lead in the Coastal Division. The Eagles rank 26th nationally, averaging 231 yards rushing, but will be without leading rusher Jon Hilliman, who had foot surgery earlier this week. QB Troy Flutie – the nephew of 1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie – is expected to make his second career start.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Only three ACC teams have two or fewer turnovers all season, and they’re all undefeated: North Carolina State (4-0) and Florida State (3-0) have only one apiece while Miami (3-0) has two. At the other end of the spectrum, Louisville (10) and Virginia (9), the only ACC teams with losing records, have the league’s most giveaways.
LONG SHOT: This might be North Carolina’s best chance to claim its first win at Georgia Tech since 1997. The Tar Heels, 8-point underdogs, have reeled off three straight lopsided wins mostly against lesser competition. They’re facing a Yellow Jackets team that suddenly appears vulnerable after losses to Notre Dame and Duke. Distancing his current team from its recent history, UNC coach Larry Fedora says ”the 2015 team hasn’t ever lost in Atlanta.”
PLAYER TO WATCH: Louisville has yet another quarterback, and it’s freshman Lamar Jackson. He ran for 184 yards in last week’s 45-3 win against Samford, the third-best single-game total for a quarterback in league history as well as a school record. He also threw for one touchdown and ran for two. Jackson heads the depth chart for Saturday’s trip to N.C. State and is the third different quarterback to start for the Cardinals this season.
Compiled by AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard and Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.