The ACC saw two more teams, NC State and Boston College, kick-off their season this past week against conference opponents and both came away with victories. A few teams got in some tune-up games while others jockeyed for position in the single division format.
@Clemson 49 Citadel 0
The Citadel made us realize last year that Tech was going to go through some pretty bad growing pains. They stepped up in competition with the ACC juggernaut Clemson this year though. It was never a game as Trevor Lawrence played pitch and catch with his receivers scoring the games total points by halftime. Lawrence’s backup came in and didn’t do much to keep the ball driving but Clemson’s defense still kept the bulldogs from reaching pay dirt.
@Notre Dame 52 South Florida 0
The second shut out of the day came in South Bend where the Irish jumped out to a quick lead behind a stout rushing attack. Ian Book never completed a touchdown pass but rarely passed the ball as he punched in three touchdowns on the goal line himself. It was a clean game with no turnovers and few penalties but USF didn’t even muster 300 yards of offense and never threatened to score until the game was well out of hand.
UCF 49 @Georgia Tech 21
It appeared early that Tech’s offense was in fine shape to begin the game but started to break down as UCF went up by three touchdowns at one point. Tech managed to get the game within one possession in the 4th quarter but more turnovers ended any comeback hopes. Read the full recap here.
Miami 47 @Louisville 34
The gap in the score is still closer than how the game played out. Miami put on an offensive clinic behind D’Eriq King’s passing game with 325 yards and 3 touchdowns. Louisville QB Micale Cunningham didn’t have a bad game either but Louisville’s defense couldn’t slow the Hurricanes down enough for it to make much difference. Louisville didn’t score their first touchdown until the start of the third quarter and Miami scored on every possession after until they killed the clock to end the game.
@Pittsbrugh 21 Syracuse 10
This game was a defensive battle as opposed to the rest of the slate this week. Though a lot of that could be contributed to the erratic play of both QBs who put up a lot of overthrown passes. Pitt’s Kenny Pickett settled down though and led a few solid drives to score touchdowns in the 2nd and 4th quarters. The final putting the game out of reach as Syracuse never could muster any offensive production with Tommy Devito under center. A good story was Syracuse backup QB Rex Culpeper coming in for a series to deliver a deep 69-yard touchdown pass. It was his first touchdown since being declared cancer-free.
Boston College 26 @Duke 6
Duke looked to have some defensive bright spots in the loss to Notre Dame last week but it may have been more of first-game jitters to the Irish. Duke’s offense has looked dismal though in both matchups. QB Chase Brice threw two interceptions to go along with three lost fumbles that set Boston College up on several of the Eagle’s touchdowns. Boston College normally has a good rushing attack but it was the near-perfect passing of Phil Jurkovec who went 17 for 23 and 300 yards who led the Eagles to the win.
@North Carolina State 45 Wake Forest 42
This was the game of the day that was most competitive among the ACC. A lot of that was due to neither teams bringing their defenses to play. Both teams were hit and miss with the passing game on the night but the Wolfpack’s rushing attack gave them the edge with 270 total yards. Wake had the lead late but failed to take it back after their defense gave them a chance after a three-and-out.
- Clemson (LW:1) - Clemson once again handled business easily and took the second half off to go eat an early dinner. They have a bye next week so don’t expect them to relinquish their spot any time soon.
- Notre Dame (LW:2) - Even though USF may not be the toughest defense around it appears the Irish have fixed some offensive kinks that slowed them down last week. They should put up another big offensive day against a struggling Wake Forest defense next week.
- Miami (LW:7) - I wasn’t sure how to judge Miami off beating UAB last week but they left no room for doubt that their offense had kicked it into another gear this year. They gave up some points in this game but most came late and they are still one of the better defenses in the league.
- North Carolina (LW:4) - The Tar Heels had their game against canceled against Charlotte this week but it would have been an easy win so they will remain in 4th as they look for another opponent to fill this week’s bye.
- Pittsburgh (LW:5) - It wasn’t a pretty win but the Panthers took care of business and still have plenty of playmakers in their defense. It will be put to the test next week against Louisville’s offense.
- Louisville (LW:3) - The Cardinals were a slight favorite in their matchup with Miami but they may have been a bit overhyped. The offense is still their strength but the defense still has some holes to fill from last year. They will get a chance against a Pitt team that can be exploited if they can pressure the QB.
- Boston College (LW:10) - Boston College forced Duke into making several mistakes and the Eagles took advantage. The defense will be worth keeping an eye on as well as their new QB. They should polish themselves again with Texas State looming next week.
- Georgia Tech (LW:6) - The game got away from Tech in the second quarter but they did fight their way back in the 4th before turnovers doomed their hopes. Sims had some growing pains this week but the offensive line didn’t give up a sack and Gibbs looks to be a special player to add to the deep running back group. They should have an easier time with a struggling Syracuse team in week 3.
- North Carolina State (LW:14) - The Wolfpack looked better than last season on offense though they will need to work on the defense as they will, hopefully, play Virginia Tech in the Hokes season opener after two canceled games.
- Florida State (LW: 11) - Even though they didn’t play they move up one after two teams have failed to play and some of the inconsistent play of other ACC teams. They will have a rough go next week against Miami as coach Mike Norvell tested positive for COVID and won’t be with the team this week.
- Duke (LW:9) - Duke’s offense hasn’t looked well in two games so far this year and has had some turnover problems. They have a chance to get their first win next week against a Virginia team who must replace QB Bryce Petty and has yet to play this season.
- Syracuse (LW:15) - Syracuse has managed only 16 points through two games and it seems they will struggle again this season to be much of a threat. They welcome Georgia Tech in their first home game next week.
- Wake Forest (LW:12) - Wake was close to getting a win this week but have already dug themselves into a hole in the conference standings. They have to take on Notre Dame at home next week which will most likely make them irrelevant in the standings before the first month.
- Virginia Tech & Virginia - I will include both here since we haven’t seen anything from either team so far. I expect both to move ahead as they begin to play. Virginia Tech will face NC State and Virginia will take on Duke next week.