Pitt-Penn State, Auburn-Clemson headline ACC’s Week 2
Things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 2:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Pittsburgh at No. 4 Penn State. The muted Panthers renew one of their most heated rivalries and can give the ACC a shot of credibility after an opening weekend in which the league largely fizzled in matchups with power-conference opponents. Pitt – which needed overtime to beat Youngstown State of the FCS – is making its first trip to Beaver Stadium in 18 years and hasn’t won there since 1988. The Panthers players are under a gag order from coach Pat Narduzzi and are off-limits to the media because he says it’s ”a big game … and I want our guys locked in.”
BEST MATCHUP: Clemson offense vs. Auburn defense. The third-ranked Tigers (1-0) rolled up 56 points and 665 total yards in a 56-3 rout of Kent State that marked the first start for QB Kelly Bryant. Things will certainly be tougher this week when No. 13 Auburn (1-0) comes to Death Valley with the nation’s No. 3 overall defense. Those Tigers allowed run-heavy Georgia Southern to gain just 70 yards rushing in a 41-7 rout.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Three schools put up some big point totals during Week 1. Wake Forest’s 51 points against Presbyterian were its most under Dave Clawson. Duke scored 60 against North Carolina Central , the first time a David Cutcliffe-coached team hit that number. And Clemson’s 56 against Kent State were its most in an opener since 1990 – well before Dabo Swinney arrived.
LONG SHOT: Give Marshall, a 24+-point underdog, a chance at North Carolina State. The Thundering Herd (1-0) showed a propensity for explosive plays, returning two kickoffs and an interception for touchdowns in their opener. N.C. State (0-1) is coming off a tight loss to South Carolina in which the Wolfpack allowed the Gamecocks to run the opening kickoff back for a score and struggled to get its ground game going.
IMPACT PLAYER: Virginia Tech redshirt freshman Josh Jackson looks like a keeper. He threw for 235 yards and rushed for 101 in his college debut against West Virginia . With a visit from seemingly outmanned Delaware coming this week, look for Jackson to put up even bigger numbers.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.