Louisville-ND matchup highlights ACC's Week 13
A look at things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference during Week 13 of the season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Louisville at Notre Dame. The Cardinals, who cracked the playoff rankings this week at No. 24, face a Notre Dame team that is jockeying for position in the ACC's bowl lineup. Louisville no longer has the league's top total defense but the Cardinals have forced seven turnovers in their last two games while the Fighting Irish have scored at least 27 points in every game but one. ''We can't just say offensively we're going to play fast and score points and whatever happens, happens,'' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ''That's not good enough.''
BEST MATCHUP: Syracuse run defense vs. Pittsburgh RB James Conner. The Orange haven't allowed a team to rush for more than 200 yards since September and have held three of their last six opponents to fewer than 100. They'll get a test from Conner, the nation's third-leading rusher who averages 156 yards with three 200-yard performances this season. ''We're going to need that this week,'' Pitt coach Paul Chryst said.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The ACC could have two quarterbacks rush for 1,000 yards in the same season for the first time. Boston College's Tyler Murphy has 1,006 yards rushing while Georgia Tech's Justin Thomas has 827 with at least two - possibly three - games remaining. Only two other ACC QBs have cracked the 1,000-yard mark: Clemson's Woody Dantzler (2000, 2001) and Georgia Tech's Joshua Nesbitt (2009).
LONG SHOT: Boston College seems to be catching No. 1 Florida State at an interesting time, with the Seminoles coming off an emotional win over one rival (Miami) and facing another one (Florida) next week. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher says his team must ''put that last one behind us and get ready to go.'' The Eagles are 19 1/2-point underdogs but Murphy - who didn't play against Florida State last year while he was with the Gators - could test an FSU defense that has held only two opponents to fewer than 300 total yards.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Virginia Tech DEs Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekenam. Nicolas ranks third in the ACC with 7.5 sacks while Ekenam has 6 and they could make things tough on a young Wake Forest offensive line that has allowed 37 sacks. Only four teams in the Bowl Subdivision have given up more.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.