Sept. 11, 2012
Week #3 ACC Preview
Wake Forest at Florida State, 12 Noon (ESPN)
After coming from behind to beat North Carolina last Saturday at home, Wake Forest goes on the road for the first time to face Florida State. The Deacons have had some remarkable success against the Seminoles in recent year. In fact, “remarkable” might be an understating their work.
The Deacons have taken four of the last six meetings, including a 35-30 win at home last fall. Now the Deacons try to spoil next Saturday’s showdown between Clemson and FSU in the Atlantic Division.
Florida State has done exactly what everyone thought they would do against Murray State and Savannah State. Win…and win big. The Seminoles have averaged 62 points and over 500 yards of offense, while holding the pair of FCS schools to a combined 3 points and 92 yards of offense per game.
If Florida State has turned the corner, this will be the game to prove it. Wake Forest has been a real pain to the return of the Seminoles in the ACC.
Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh, 12 Noon (ESPNU)
Frank Beamer said earlier this week that if his team is asked to play another Labor Day game, then he will take the next weekend off. Despite the win over Austin Peay last Saturday, the Hokies are fatigued early and Beamer is concerned with future ACC and former Big East colleague Pittsburgh waiting.
The Panthers have struggled under new head coach Paul Chryst, losing to Youngstown State and Cincinnati in their first two games. Pitt has won the last three games against Virginia Tech, with the last meeting producing a 31-28 win in 2003.
The Hokie defense is already in the top 20 with total numbers, allowing less than 250 yards per game through the first two games.
Linebacker Jack Tyler is the ACC’s leading tackler after 2-weeks of play.
Bethune-Cookman at Miami, 12 Noon (ESPNU)
These two schools played last year for the first time, and BCC led late in the first half, before Miami recovered to post a 45-14 win. After last week’s 52-13, loss at Kansas State, the `Canes can ill afford to start slow this Saturday at home.
What worked for Miami in their opening win at Boston College, failed them miserably against K-State. In just 14 career games with the `Canes, Al Golden is a perfect 6-0 in games that follow a loss. Rookie TB Duke Johnson leads the ACC in all-purpose yardage (198.5).
The road gets rough after Saturday too. The next five games have Miami at Georgia Tech, home against NC State, Notre Dame at Soldier Field, Carolina at home, then FSU visits on October 20.
UConn at Maryland, 12:30 (ACC Network)
After their late scoring drive beat Temple, the Terps are 2-0, and gearing up for ACC play on October 6, against Wake Forest. Until then, they continue to measure themselves. After escaping William & Mary, they beat the Owls and now face Randy Edsall’s old team, UConn. The Huskies might be trying to get some kind of “conditional” ACC membership, after they lost to NC State last week at home.
Maryland is riding with rookie QB Perry Hills, who accounted for three TD’s, and passed for almost 200 yards. While that might be good enough against the Owls or a Husky team that is #104 in total offense after two games, will it be enough next week in Morgantown or when ACC play begins.
Terps are moving to a higher level week by week this fall.
Furman at Clemson, 3 p.m. (RSN)
The preamble to the FSU game continues for the Tigers. After beating Auburn, they held form against pesky Ball State last Saturday, and now need a solid effort this week to set the table for the FSU showdown next weekend.
With Sammy Watkins out of the lineup, both Andre Ellington and DeAndre “Nuke” Hopkins have shown their value to both opponents and the rest of the ACC. Hopkins caught three touchdowns last week in the win over Ball State.
Clemson is top 20 in total offense, and the Tigers defense has been good enough in the first two games, holding opponents to 161 yards passing per game.
The Paladins haven’t beaten the Tigers since 1936. Don’t expect that streak to end this week.
North Carolina at Louisville, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
Larry Fedora’s toughest test after last Saturday’s loss at Wake Forest, is likely to see how his team responds on the road at Louisville this weekend. Carolina not only lost the game, but got banged around in the process. QB Bryn Renner didn’t have his best day, but TB A.J. Blue did go over 100-yards rushing in lieu of injured Giovanni Bernard.
The Cardinals of Charlie Strong are top 50 in nearly every defensive category after a 2-0 start this season. QB Teddy Bridgewater threw for a career-high 344 yards in their win over Missouri State last week.
Fedora is a high-energy guy and just exudes positive vibes for his team. After a tough loss last week, we’ll see what happens with the Heels this week.
Boston College at Northwestern, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
The Eagles bounced back from their opening season loss to Miami to pound Maine, 34-3, last week. Now, BC gets ready to meet a Northwestern team that outscored Syracuse in the first week, then topped Vanderbilt, 23-13 last week.
Neither team is quite sure what they have, so the game is very important to both schools in sizing up their full potential.
Spiffy Evans showcased his all-purpose skills last week in the win over Maine, with a TD catch and long punt return for a score as well.
Boston College is off next week, before hosting Clemson on September 29.
South Alabama at NC State, 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
The Wolfpack held out for a 10-7 win at UConn last weekend. Safety Earl Wolff had an interception and fumble recovery in the victory, which was the opposite of the shootout against Tennessee a week before.
NC State handled USA last year in Raleigh, 35-13, in what was the Jaguars first loss in their brief football history. They are headed for FBS status next year, but have taken some lumps along the way after getting off to a 19-0 start.
The Wolfpack is struggling to run the ball, averaging less than 100-yards on the ground per game. That figure needs to improve before ACC play starts on September 29 (at Miami).
NC Central at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
The Blue Devils went west last weekend, and lost 50-13, at Stanford. Desmond Scott caught 11 passes in the loss, but Duke was essentially beaten at its own game (throwing the ball).
Crosstown NC Central should be the tonic for a win on Saturday. The Eagles lost at Elon last Saturday, 34-14, and are only averaging 165-yards a game in total offense.
Duke needs to run the ball better as well. The Blue Devils have only averaged 73 yards on the ground in the first 2-games of the year. David Cutcliffe’s team opens ACC play in two-weeks at Wake Forest.
TIME OUT FOR TRIVIA:
Three ACC games have been played in the first two weeks of the season. How many times has the road team won?
Last Week’s Question:
How many Big South Conference teams have the Jackets played in football?
Answer: Last Saturday night, Presbyterian became just the second Big South team to face the Jackets. The first one was Gardner-Webb in 2008.