This season has been hard to predict from week to week with the limited time to get ready for the season. Few teams have looked stellar on defense while offenses run wild one week and go cold the next. However, this has ever been the case in the ACC but it wasn’t until this past Saturday that a true upset had taken place with FSU knocking off No. 5 UNC. The conference suffered an embarrassing loss in the lone out of conference play as well.
Clemson 73 @Georgia Tech 7
It was a record day for Georgia Tech, just not the kind you want to set as they became victims of the largest margin of defeat between ACC teams. Trevor Lawrence had 404 yards and 5 touchdowns in one half but on the bright side, he was shut out in the second half because Dabo decided to skip the backup QB and go to options three, four, and...the starting punter, Will Spiers! Spiers had more yards passing in his two completions, 12 yards, than Tech managed in the second half.
@Miami 31 Pittsburgh 19
Both defenses held tight through the first half but Miami stayed just a step ahead through most of the game despite two interceptions thrown by King. Pitt was without Kenny Pickett though and struggled to sustain any long drives. Joey Yellen did decently in his first start as a true freshman going for 277 yards but his and Pitt’s only touchdown came after an INT returned to Miami’s one-yard line.
Liberty 38 @Syracuse 21
Remember that embarrassing loss mentioned earlier? Well, Syracuse managed to let Liberty’s running back, Shedro Louis, run for 170 yards and two touchdowns. The Cuse only managed to hold a lead for 18 seconds when it scored first but tried to play catch-up the rest of the game with Rex Culpepper starting at QB with Tommy Devito out. Liberty held the ball 36 minutes for 520 total yards to improve to 5-0 on the season.
@Notre Dame 12 Louisville 7
Louisville hasn’t been good on defense this year but managed to keep Notre Dame out of the end zone for all but one drive. The final score is fool’s gold though as Notre Dame had possession of the ball 36 minutes and churned out four drives with 12+ plays. Ian Book wasn’t bad this game but the Irish focused mainly on running the ball for 232 yards. Louisville could barely match the Notre Dame’s rushing output with only 233 yards total.
@North Carolina St 31 Duke 20
The Wolf Pack got off to a rough start in this one giving up a punt return and then fumbling on the ensuing drive. Luckily for NC State, Duke was happy to give the ball back with three Chase Brice interceptions and allowing NC State to block a punt into the end zone for a touchdown that would keep them within one possession. The second half saw Duke’s offense stall as they only threatened to score with a missed field goal when the game was all but over.
@Wake Forest 40 Virginia 20
A game that stayed pretty tight through the first half fell apart for Virginia as they committed too many turnovers that gave Wake Forest opportunities to pull away in the as the game went on. A large part of Wake’s success came from Kenneth Walker pounding his way into the end zone for three touchdowns and amassing 128 yards rushing.
@Florida State 31 North Carolina 28
Anybody see this one coming? FSU dominated UNC through the first half by scoring 31 points on what has been one of the better ACC defenses. That scoring run dried up as soon as the halftime ended. The Seminoles relied heavily on the run game but UNC locked it down in the second half and Jordan Travis struggled to get the passing game working. Special Teams didn’t do FSU any favors with two missed field goals as well. Sam Howell had a great game but came up short with three straight incomplete passes as FSU held on to preserve the win.
@Virginia Tech 40 Boston College 14
Virginia Tech despite missing a large portion of their team each week due to COVID continues to dominate teams on both sides of the ball. The Hokies missed a field goal on their opening drive but managed to score on every drive for the rest of the first half. Boston College only managed one touchdown with two other drives ending in turnovers. The second half saw much of the same for The Eagles who couldn’t muster a running attack to help Jurkovec’s 345-yard day. The Hokies continued with the best rushing attack in the conference with Hooker and Herbert both breaking 100 yards again.
Clemson (LW1) - Another day, another team crushed into the
dirtturf as Clemson scored 73 against Georgia Tech who didn’t even look like they cared to play in the second half. Clemson hung 73 on Georgia Tech once before back when John Heisman had yet to become Tech's coach. It’ll be an orange battle next week when Clemson welcomes Syracuse.
- Virginia Tech (LW4) - The Hokies have earned the jump because outside of Clemson they have shown to be the most complete team on both sides of the ball. Their rushing attack has gone over 300 yards for multiple weeks as well. They travel to Wake Forest in what should be another win.
- Notre Dame (LW2) - The Irish are the only other undefeated team outside of Clemson but looked a little shaky against a Louisville team that has been letting offenses run all over them. Pittsburgh is up next but may not be a threat if Pickett isn’t back.
- Miami (LW5) - King has been a boost to the Miami offense but hasn’t been without his flaws on occasions. The Canes will continue to suppress lesser teams but could struggle against opponents who can key in on containing his scrambles. Virginia shouldn’t be a problem next week though.
- North Carolina (LW3) - The Tar Heels got bombarded quickly by FSU but found their footing to stage a comeback. It fell short at the last minute but this FSU team is starting to improve from the mess they were. They take no rival North Carolina State next week.
- North Carolina State (LW7) - The Wolf Pack are surprisingly 4-1 but they have won against most of the lower teams in the conference. Still, that should keep them ahead of most of the pack. Just don’t expect them to keep it up when the competition ramps up at the end of the schedule. UNC could be a tough opponent coming off that loss.
- Boston College (LW6) - Jurkovic is showing some good stuff in his first year under center but the rushing attack has been cold so far this year. They could give most teams a good game if they can get that part of their offense going. Georgia Tech’s defense might be a good starting point when Tech travels to Boston coming up.
- Pittsburgh (LW8) - Pitt seems to be regressing each week and things aren’t getting better with Kenny Pickett out. The defense was stout early on but it could have been they weren’t playing the best teams to start. A win this week against the Irish would prove their defense is still the real deal.
- Georgia Tech (LW10) - You’re probably laughing right now that Tech moved up one after getting drug up and down the field. Well, that should be a testament about how bad the play has been with some of the conference. If they don’t fix things against BC coming up they won’t hang above 10 for long.
- Florida State (LW13) - After a dismal start to the season, Jordan Travis continues to spark life back into this team. It was a major upset of a UNC team thought to compete for the spot behind Clemson. They nearly blew it too so they still have some kinks to work out. Louisville should get them back to .500 this week.
- Wake Forest (LW14) - Wake has had trouble with consistency this year and has been in foul trouble quite often. Wins over Campbell and Virginia don’t carry much weight. Virginia Tech will be a tough test to stay in the win column.
- Duke (LW11) - Chase Brice has struggled to get the offense going for Duke this year with countless turnovers. The problem is no one else is giving him any help. The defense has been swiss cheese at times too. They’ll get their first bye before taking on Charlotte the following week.
- Virginia (LW9) - Virginia is really missing Bryce Perkins as they can’t settle on a QB with Armstrong and Stone seeing time. Miami’s defense is plenty good to make their next game a long day.
- Louisville (LW15) - Don’t let the close score fool you from the fact that Notre Dame still controlled the game with long drives that didn’t score or finished with field goals. I had Louisville to be a dark horse candidate to play Clemson for the title but they have been most disappointing. An improving FSU team could ensure Louisville won’t finish above .500 in ACC play.
- Syracuse (LW12) - If I hadn’t watched what Georgia Tech did against Clemson it would amaze me Tech lost to Syracuse. This offense is really bad and without Devito, they are worse. Liberty may be undefeated but you shouldn’t be beaten so easily against an Independent team not named Notre Dame. It’s going to look even worse against Clemson.