North Carolina 34 (2-8, 1-6) @ Pittsburgh 31 (4-6, 2-4)
ACC action got underway Thursday night in a battle between two teams playing for pride at this point. With a 34-31 win, the Tar Heels, who have already been eliminated from bowl contention picked up their first ACC win of the season. With the loss, Pitt fell to 4-6 and will need a miracle to make a bowl game with both Virginia Tech and Miami still on the schedule. The star for North Carolina in this one was converted quarterback Anthony Ratliff Williams who racked up 230 all purpose yards and scored touchdowns three different ways: throwing, receiving, and returning.
Florida State 14 (3-6, 3-5) @ #4 Clemson 31 (9-1, 7-1)
Clemson looked to be in control of this one at halftime, leading Florida State 17-0 late in the third quarter. That was until two quick touchdowns brought the Seminoles to within three points with nine minutes left in the game. On the ensuing possession, the Tigers fumbled the ball, giving Florida State a chance to tie or take the lead already in Clemson territory. Unfortunately, James Blackman threw an interception on the very next play and Clemson never looked back, scoring twice more for a 31-14 win. For Clemson, the win clinched a berth in the ACC championship and maintained their position in the top four of the college football playoff rankings (for now). Florida State continues to fight for bowl eligibility and earlier this week rescheduled their game with Louisiana-Monroe for Dec. 2.
#23 NC State 17 (7-3, 5-1) @ Boston College 14 (5-5, 3-4)
After back-to-back tough losses, NC State bounced back with a 17-14 road win over Boston College. NC State quarterback Ryan Finley had a game he’ll want to forget (13-32 with an INT), but the NC State rushing attack stepped up, led by Nyheim Hines, who had 110 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles appear to have found a good one in freshman running back AJ Dillon, who added 196 more yards Saturday, eclipsing 1000 yards for the season and setting a school record for freshman rushing yards. The Wolfpack are in position to have one of their best seasons in a while with a pair of winnable games remaining, on the road at Wake Forest and home against North Carolina. The Eagles will need to win one of their final two against UConn and Syracuse in order to get bowl eligibility.
Duke 16 (4-6, 1-5) @ Army 21 (8-2)
The Blue Devils disastrous tumble continued Saturday with their sixth loss in a row. Possibly the lone bright side for Duke was that they held Army to nearly 150 yards below their season average for rushing yards, a positive sign before taking on Georgia Tech next weekend. Duke will need to beat both the Jackets and Wake Forest in order to avoid missing a bowl game after starting the season 4-0.
Wake Forest 64 (6-4, 3-3) @ Syracuse 43 (4-6, 2-4)
This one wins the award for weirdest game of the week after Wake Forest and Syracuse combined for 107 points. The Orange led 38-24 at halftime, but were outscored 40-5 in the second half and 24-0 in the fourth quarter. Minimal defense was played in this one, with the two teams combining for 1,355 yards, a new ACC record. Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford threw for 363 yards through the air and rushed for 136, accounting for six touchdowns, bringing him to 69 for his career, a new Wake Forest school record. Not do be outdone, Demon Deacon running back Matt Colburn rushed for 237 yards, a new career high. With the win, Wake Forest will be going bowling for the second season in a row. Syracuse will need to beat both Louisville and Boston College to go bowling themselves.
Virginia 21 (6-4, 3-3) @ Louisville 38 (6-4, 3-4)
Another monster game from Lamar Jackson led Louisville to a 38-21 victory over Virginia on Saturday. Jackson threw for 195 yards, rushed for 147 and accounted for four total touchdowns. Coming off of a bye week, the Cardinals defense looked much improved, holding Virginia to just 277 yards. The loss dropped Virginia to 6-4, but no matter what happens in the final two games, the season will still be seen as a success given the expectations coming into the year. For Louisville, it’s the opposite. The Cardinals also sit at 6-4, but given the high expectations coming into the season, an eighth straight bowl game will just be a small consolation for them.
#3 Notre Dame 8 (8-2) @ #7 Miami 41 (9-0, 6-0)
We finally get to what was supposed to be the marquee game of the weekend, but what ended up being a primetime dismantling of Notre Dame by the Miami Hurricanes. Despite continuing to be doubted, the Hurricanes keep racking up wins and now sit at 9-0 after a 41-8 throttling of #3 Notre Dame. The Miami turnover chain got plenty of work, forcing four Notre Dame turnovers, off of which they scored 24 points. On Saturday, The Hurricanes also clinched a spot in the ACC championship game, where they will take on Clemson. There can’t be many Miami doubters remaining and we should expect Miami to be ranked in the top four when the next college football playoff rankings come out.