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Around the ACC: Week 6

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Let’s take a different look at last week’s games

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Boston College Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

For this week’s edition of Around the ACC, the focus will be on the advanced box scores of each of the ACC’s matchups. Which teams performed well, and what does that mean for Tech’s future opponents?

NC State 39, Louisville 25

After NC State’s loss to South Carolina, many wrote off the Wolfpack as a contender in the Atlantic. After big wins against FSU and Louisville, Clemson may be the only team standing between NC State and the ACC Atlantic title.

Louisville actually had the higher success rate in this game, but NC State put up an impressive 7.32 yards per play, and won the average field position battle by 6 yards. The true difference in this game was drive finishing. Both teams had 7 trips inside their opponent’s 40 yard line, but NC State came away with 4.43 points per trip, while Louisville mustered 3.86.

Clemson 28, Wake Forest 14

This game wasn’t as close as the score indicates, and the advanced stats show it. Even with the garbage time scores included, Clemson’s defense was suffocating. Wake Forest posted a paltry 31% success rate. Wake Forest was still able to make 6 trips inside Clemson’s 40, but the Clemson D stiffened, only allowing 2.33 points per trip.

Clemson’s offense was good enough, sporting a strong 48% success rate. As a reference, this is the same number Tech posted on UNC Week 5. The Tigers won the field position battle as well, so short fields benefited the offense.

Miami 24, Florida State 20

This game was remarkably close. Almost every single stat was close:

  • Success Rate: FSU 41%, Miami 37%
  • Drives: Both had 14
  • Trips inside 40: Both had 5
  • Points per trip: Miami 4.8, FSU 4.

This is one of those games where Miami made a couple plays and FSU did not. The +1 turnover margin in Miami’s favor and a late touchdown proved to be the difference. The big story to watch for next week is Miami’s success rate. The Canes were putting up astounding numbers on the ground in previous games, but only managed 37% total success rate this week. Miami is still #1 in rushing success rate, but the team’s numbers dropped in their first real test. With Walton gone, will Miami be able to run against a Tech defense that has been lackluster at stopping rushing efficiency?

Virginia Tech 23, Boston College 10

I’m not sure how Boston College continues to keep putting offenses this poor on the field, but they do. 29% success rate? 2 points per trip? Nothing else needs to be said about this game.

Notre Dame 33, North Carolina 10

I’m not sure if Notre Dame is good, but I’m sure UNC is bad. Like real bad. As bad as those BC numbers were, UNC somehow managed to be worse. A 25% success rate offends me as a fan of a team known for it’s offense. 3.79 yards per play is also terrible. So is 3 trips inside the 40 for an entire game. UNC’s defense fared better than the offense, but not by much. They picked off Ian Book twice, but buckled against the run, just as they did against Tech the week before.

Virginia 28, Duke 21

Well, that month of “Is Duke good?” sure was fun. This game was a defensive struggle. Virginia won the efficiency battle, posting a 38% success rate and only allowing a 26% success rate. This culminated in better drive finishing. Virginia was perfect this week finishing drives. Every time they got within the opponent’s 40, they scored a TD. While the Hoos won’t sustain those numbers, they showed just how to win a close game. Make the most of your opportunities.

Syracuse 27, Pitt 24

Pitt is having a nightmare of a season. The offense had a decent success rate, but not on 3rd down. 3 for 13 on 3rd down kept the offense from sustaining drives, and the Panthers only had 4 trips inside the 40 as a result. The Pitt defense was on the field a ton, as Syracuse ran 91 plays. Pitt struggled to defend the deep ball, and gave up some chunk plays despite holding Syracuse to a 38% success rate.