Wake Forest/Boston College
Wake Forest and Boston College got their ACC seasons started Saturday afternoon in Chestnut Hill, with a 24 point Wake victory. Although the Demon Deacons only had four more yards than BC, they also were four higher in a different category, turnover differential. Wake Forest forced three interceptions out of Eagles quarterback Anthony Brown, as well as a fumble from running back Jon Hilliman. Wake was able to turn those four turnovers into 21 points. The Demon Deacon win moves them to 2-0, while the Eagles move to 1-1, but this game will likely end up being nothing more than a battle for last place in the stacked Atlantic Division.
Heisman winner Lamar Jackson picked up right where he left off last week, racking up 525 total yards and 6 touchdowns, 3 on the ground and three through the air. However, just like last week, the video game numbers for Jackson resulted in just a marginal victory for the Cardinals, who trailed heading into the fourth quarter, before beating the Tar Heels 47-35. #17 Louisville moves to 2-0 with the win, but the loss moves the Tar Heels to 0-2 on the season. Unfortunately for UNC, redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt, who looked great last week and was rolling again on Saturday, got injured and did not return after halftime. The Tar Heels will have a lot of questions to answer on defense after allowing the third most yards in program history. Meanwhile, Louisville has similar questions to answer and likely cannot continue to rely on Jackson to singlehandedly win them games. They face ACC favorite Clemson next weekend.
No word better describes Duke’s performance Saturday afternoon than domination. The Blue Devils came out of their game against Northwestern with a 41-17 victory. The Blue Devils totaled 538 yards, holding the Wildcats to just 191 and they over doubled their time of possession. Another shocking stat? Northwestern went just 1-10 on third down while Duke went 15-22. The only blemish for Duke was two turnovers, however they were able to force three out of Northwestern. Quarterback Daniel Jones looked great again, completing 29 out of 45 passes for 345 yards and a pair of touchdowns (he also had an interception), while adding over 100 more yards on the ground and two more touchdowns. At this point Duke has to be considered a Coastal sleeper after looking locked in the first two weeks.
Pittsburgh had a big rivalry matchup this week, heading to State College to take on #4 ranked Penn State, who they fell to 33-14. Although the final result didn’t reflect it, the Panthers put up a valiant effort, actually out gaining the Nittany Lions, both on the ground and through the air. Unfortunately, the Panthers were doomed by turnovers and a lack of execution at the end of drives. Pitt will have to put this game behind them quickly, as they have #10 Oklahoma State coming to town for another big non-conference battle.
A strong defensive outing against an overmatched Delaware opponent resulted in a 27-0 victory for Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Hokies totaled just 300 yards, but held Delaware to only 220 yards and also scored on a punt return touchdown.
Virginia struggled Saturday afternoon, falling to Indiana 34-17. The Cavaliers got down early and had to air the ball out in the second half, leading to 66 pass attempts on the game for quarterback Kurt Benkert, who completed just 39 of them. The Hoos look like they are going to struggle to be much better than their 2-10 record last season.
ACC team falls to Middle Tennessee State. Tell me if you’ve heard that before Tech fans * ducks *. It was a bit of a sloppy game for both teams, who combined to go 11-34 on third downs. Both teams also combined for five turnovers. The loss was a big one for Syracuse who really needed a win with a trip to LSU on the schedule next week. Interestingly enough, MTSU defensive coordinator Scott Shafer used to be head coach at Syracuse so the victory was extra special for him.
Want a momentum shifting play? Trailing to Marshall by 10 as halftime approached, NCSU executed a perfect flea-flicker, which catapulted them into a 27-0 run, eventually winning the game 37-20. Both teams had big offensive afternoons, approaching 500 yards each. The positive for NCSU is another great offensive game, but the negative is the 450 yards they allowed, only negated by a pair of turnovers. The defense will need to get their act together before ACC play begins.
Clemson had a huge game Saturday night when Auburn came to town and the Tigers defense (Clemson, not Auburn. Yes, this was confusing all night) sure showed up to play. The defense held Auburn to just 117 yards and a pair of field goals, leading to a 14-6 Clemson victory. The dominant defense also had a crazy ELEVEN sacks which resulted in a loss of 72 total yards for quarterback Jarrett Stidham and the Auburn offense. Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant looks like the real deal so far, accounting for 240 of the Tigers 284 yards and rushing for the lone pair of Clemson touchdowns. With Ohio State’s loss Saturday night, Clemson should move to #2 in the country and will take on Lamar Jackson and Louisville next weekend.
Florida State / Miami
Due to Hurricane Irma, Florida State’s game vs Louisiana Monroe and Miami’s game vs Arkansas State were both cancelled. Ironically, the Seminoles and Hurricanes play each other next week and there’s a chance that game may be cancelled as well, which would result in a three week layoff for both teams before they return to action.