Wake-UNC, BC-Clemson headline ACC’s Week 7
A look at things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference for Week 7:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Wake Forest at North Carolina looks to be the best of a soft schedule in which there are no matchups of teams with winning records. The Tar Heels (4-1) have the ACC’s best offense and the longest active winning streak among Coastal Division teams, reeling off four straight victories since an opening loss to South Carolina that looks more bizarre with each passing week. Speaking of bizarre, the Demon Deacons (3-3) earned a strange distinction at Boston College: In each of their ACC wins under second-year coach Dave Clawson, they’ve failed to score a touchdown. Said UNC coach Larry Fedora: ”Being in a close game … isn’t going to scare them.”
BEST MATCHUP: Boston College’s defense vs. Clemson’s offense. The Eagles have the nation’s best total defense (140.3 ypg) by a wide margin, and are the only team in the country allowing fewer than three yards per play. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney calls the Eagles’ D ”the standard in college football.” They’re sure to face a test from a Clemson offense that has gained at least 392 yards in four of five games.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: There are 10 ACC schools ranked among the nation’s top 50 in total defense, led by those Eagles and including four among the top seven. Impressive, but some of the stats for those upper-tier defenses might be a bit skewed: BC played two FCS teams while three of third-ranked North Carolina State’s opponents were in the FCS a few years ago (two have since jumped to the top level).
LONG SHOT: Maybe Virginia Tech can exact some revenge on Miami – or at least cover the spread. The Hokies are six-point road underdogs to a Hurricanes team that came into Lane Stadium last year and beat Tech 30-6 for its worst home loss since 1989. Coach Frank Beamer says those Hurricanes ”came in here and kicked us like we don’t get kicked very much.” The Hokies showed progress in beating North Carolina State last week and hopes to take advantage if Miami slips into yet another post-Florida State tailspin.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Pittsburgh WR Tyler Boyd leads the league in receptions (33) and is second in yards receiving (82 ypg), one behind Miami’s Rashawn Scott. He’ll look to find some holes in a Georgia Tech secondary that allowed 336 yards passing last week against Clemson, its fourth straight defeat.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.