ACC Report Card: Week 8

October 21, 2012

Duke is bowl eligible and N. C. State controls its own destiny after an interesting weekend of football in the ACC.

The Blue Devils beat arch rival North Carolina and will play in a bowl game for just the third time since 1961 and the Wolfpack survived a missed field goal with seconds remaining to escape Maryland with a two-point victory.

Here is this week's report card:

Boston College – BC's defense is really struggling, and taking on Georgia Tech and its triple option usually isn't a way to get going on that side of the ball. The Eagles surrendered 563 yards – 391 on the ground – in a 37-17 beating that could have been worse. Grade: F.

Clemson – It took a while, but the Tigers eventually pulled away from Virginia Tech, 38-17. This wasn't a particularly impressive offensive performance from Clemson, which gained 295 yards on the afternoon while allowing 411. The difference was that Clemson forced four turnovers, including three interceptions. The Tigers took advantage of those opportunities, which is a sign of a good team. Grade: C+.

Duke – The Blue Devils became bowl eligible for the first time in 18 years by dominating UNC for most of the game Saturday night and then overcoming the Tar Heels' late charge in the 33-30 victory. The Devils totaled 510 yards, including 234 on the ground. That Jamison Crowder, who was involved in the summer jet-ski accident that severely injured fellow Duke wide receiver Blair Holliday, caught the game-winning TD, and it being against the Tar Heels made this a magical night at Wallace Wade. David Cutcliffe has done a better job in five years there than anyone outside of that program could have expected. Grade: A+.

Florida State – For three quarters Saturday night at Miami, the Seminoles were an unproductive bunch, much like in earlier road games at South Florida and N.C. State, with the latter ending up a loss. But the Seminoles exploded in the fourth quarter, turning a 16-13 lead into a 33-20 victory. FSU was balanced on offense passing for 229 yards and rushing for 218. Even though the first 3 quarters weren't scripted, the way FSU closed this thing out should give it some mojo. Grade: B.

Georgia Tech – One of the best things that happened to the Yellow Jackets in their 37-17 victory over visiting Boston College was that backup QB Vad Lee got plenty of snaps. Both of Tech's QBs ran for more than 60 yards and a score (Tevin Washington had two TDs) and both passed for more than 80 yards. The Jackets amassed 563 yards while allowing just 296. This was a very positive performance from a team that still has something to play for. Grade: A.

Maryland – Three quarterbacks and two turnovers, yet the Terrapins managed to dart into field goal position in the final seconds with a chance to win trailing by two points. But the kick missed and the Terps fell to N.C. State, 20-18, at home and out of first place in the ACC's Atlantic Division. Maryland outgained NCSU 462-347, but it missed on some other scoring opportunities and is no longer the league's only unbeaten team in conference play. Grade: C.

Miami – The Hurricanes did a nice job hanging in with Florida State for three quarters, but the young depth wore down some and the Seminoles ran away and hid in the fourth period of the 33-20 Canes defeat. A poor ground game (29 yards on 21 attempts) was crucial in the defeat. Grade: C.

North Carolina – Maybe new UNC coach Larry Fedora will take rivalry games more seriously than just calling them another game. In addition, UNC must figure out a way to get touchdowns when in the red zone. The Tar Heels used a fourth-quarter charge to take a 30-26 lead, scoring three straight touchdowns. But its defense, which was manhandled at the line of scrimmage all night, failed in trying to stop Duke's game-winning drive. Duke totaled 510 yards, including 234 on the ground. Grade: D.

N.C. State – It's amazing how a team's fortunes can hinge on a late field goal attempt that clanks off the upright and fails to fall through for three points, as what happened to Maryland in the Wolfpack's 20-18 victory in College Park. Suggesting State was fortunate is an understatement: Maryland gained 115 more yards despite using three quarterbacks, but the Terps committed the only two turnovers of the game and had that missed kick. Survive and advance, though, is what matters when in contention for a conference title, as the Pack still is. Grade: C+.

Virginia – More misery in Hoo-ville. The Cavaliers couldn't even notch a victory over a Wake Forest team that lost its potency on offense once WR Micahel Campanaro went down a few weeks ago. Virginia turned over the ball three times and had a paltry 48 rushing yards on 32 attempts. UVa has lost 8 of its last 9 games versus FBS teams with the one win by a point over a Penn State team that missed four field goals. Grade: F.

Virginia Tech
– Logan Thomas was off again Saturday, throwing two interceptions and completing barely half of his pass attempts in the Hokies' 38-17 loss at Clemson. VPI's defense did a nice job limiting Clemson to 295 yards, 197 below its per-game average this season. Four turnovers were killer, though. Grade: C.

Wake Forest – Let's see, Wake QB Tanner Price completed only 7 of 19 pass attempts for 102 yards and overall, the Demon Deacons managed just 213 total yards. Yet, they still found a way to beat Virginia, 16-10, in Charlottesville. Chad Hedlund converted three field goals for the Deacs, who held UVa to 301 yards and forced three turnovers. Grade: C.