ACC Honor Roll: Week 8

Believe it or not, two-thirds the way through the college football season and Research Triangle schools control their own destiny in their respective divisions in the trek toward the ACC championship game.

Duke beat North Carolina to become bowl eligible, but the Blue Devils have more to play for, and N.C. State escaped Maryland with a narrow victory and would win the Atlantic Division if it wins out.

With respect to UNC tailback Giovani Bernard, Georgia Tech back Zach Laskey, UNC cornerback Tre Boston, Duke DB Walt Canty, Maryland LB Demetrius Hartsfield, N.C. State DT T.Y. McGill, N.C. State LB Sterling Lucas, FSU LB Telvin Smith, Miami LB denzel Perryman, Duke tailback Josh Snead, Duke QB Sean Renfree, Duke WR Conner Vernon here is this week’s Honor Roll:

High Fives

Jordon Byas, Duke – The senior safety was all over the place in the Blue Devils’ victory over North Carolina racking up 12 tackles, one for a loss of yardage, and forcing a fumble. His attitude and tenacity on the field were reflected in how the Devils went about beating the Tar Heels.

Earl Wolff, N.C. State – The senior safety once again had a terrific day by getting in on 13 tackles and forcing a fumble. His consistent play has been a huge part of the Wolfpack’s climb into the ACC title hunt.

Bryan Underwood, N.C. State – The sophomore wide receiver hauled in six Mike Glennon passes for 134 yards and a touchdown that went for 68 yards in the Wolfpack’s crucial 20-18 victory at Maryland.

Wes Brown, Maryland – The freshman tailback gave his team a chance to beat N.C. State despite going through three quarterbacks because he ran the ball 25 times for 121 difficult yards and a touchdown. Brown’s play was mature beyond his years.

Steve Greer, Virginia – The sensational linebacker continued to put together an All-ACC campaign by registering 14 tackles, including one for a loss of yardage and breaking up a pair of passes in a loss to Wake Forest.

Disappointment of the Week

Virginia – The negatives keep piling up for Mike London’s team. The Cavaliers lost at home to Wake Forest, 16-10, despite limiting Wake QB Tanner Price to 7 of 19 passing for 102 yards and surrendering just 218 yards overall. But miscues once again cost UVa, which has lost eight of nine games to FBS clubs, with the lone victory by a point over a Penn State club that missed four field goals.

Player of the Week

Jamison Crowder, Duke – A lot of other players had better statistical performances than Crowder, and under normal circumstances would be more deserving, but the sophomore wide receiver catching Saturday’s game-winning pass to beat UNC and make the Blue Devils bowl eligible is an amazing story. Crowder collided into teammate Blair Holiday on July 4 when they were riding jetskis on a central N.C. lake. The accident almost took Holiday’s life and left his friend and teammate grief stricken. Holiday’s mother was instrumental in helping Crowder understand it wasn’t his fault, and several months later Holiday rang the Victory Bell with his teammates in part because of Crowder’s clutch play.

Coach of the Week

David Cutcliffe, Duke – It’s nearly impossible for most people to understand just how far behind Duke’s program was from the rest of the ACC and just about the entire nation when Cutcliffe took over five years ago. But if you do, then you know what a phenomenal coaching job he and his staff have done leading the Devils to bowl eligibility for the first time in 18 years after knocking off North Carolina 33-30 on Saturday night.