1. Hurricane Florence (Last Week: W vs Southeastern North Carolina)
Hurricane Florence wasn’t as bad in force as was expected, but it’s slow cruise from the coast on inland caused (and sadly continues to cause) significant damage. The expected impact of the hurricane cancelled games for three ACC teams, giving Hurricane Florence more wins over ACC football teams in one week than UNC will rack up all year.
The Tigers obliterated an over-matched Georgia Southern squad, with Travis Etienne leading the way running for 162 yards and 2 TDs on just 16 carries. Clemson did struggle in the opening quarter turning the ball over twice, but then the rest of the game happened. The big news in this one is that Kelly Bryant had to leave the game with a chest bruise and - after a short lived return to the field - did not return (it looked like a concussion, but since Bryant returned to the field aferwards, Dabo certainly won’t admit to it if it were). Freshman QB Trevor Lawrence looked fantastic while Bryant was out.
3. Boston College (Last Week: 41-34 W @ Wake Forest)
Steve Addazio’s dudes might be for real, y’all. AJ Dillon (33 carries, 185 yards, 1 TD) might be the foundation of BC’s offense, but QB Anthony Brown torched the Wake Forest defense for 304 yards and 5 TDs on 16-of-25 passing. Not sure if Brown is that good or the Wake pass defense is just that bad... or maybe a bit of both. Either way, a win in Winston-Salem ain’t always easy, so you gotta give the Fightin’ Dudes credit.
4. Virginia Tech (Last Week: L vs Hurricane Florence)
VT got an unscheduled bye week thanks to East Carolina cancelling their game due to the inbound hurricane. The Hokies’ season-opening win vs Florida State now looks awfully unimpressive.
5. NC State (Last Week: L vs Hurricane Florence)
The most intriguing regular season OOC game for the Wolfpack this year gets cancelled due to a hurricane. Yay. If West Virginia can’t come to you, you go to it (to play Marshall).
6. Duke (Last Week: 40-27 W @ Baylor)
Quentin Harris wasn’t overly efficient passing the ball (12-of-30, 174 yards) in place of injured starting QB Daniel Jones, but he was effective throwing it (3 passing TDs), while also rushing for 83 yards. Deon Jackson had 10 carries for 83 yards and a TD. Duke didn’t always look good in this one, but it’s saying something when you put up 40 points while not looking overly impressive. Also, a road win over a Big XII team is a nice feather in the cap (even if it is Baylor).
7. Wake Forest (Last Week: 34-41 L vs Boston College)
Boston College looks to be the real deal this year, so you can’t knock the Deacs too much for losing to them. There’s no shame in getting gashed by AJ Dillon on the ground; however, giving up 12.2 yards per pass attempt ain’t gonna cut it. Wake’s rushing offense looked good, though, with both Matt Colburn (23 carries, 117 yards, 1 TD) and Cade Carney (18 carries, 116 yards) running well on a solid BC defense.
8. Miami (Last Week: 49-24 W @ Toledo)
Miami jumped out to an early three-score lead before letting the Rockets back into it, playing keep away for a bit, and then finally pulling away in the 4th quarter. Not an very confidence-inspiring performance from the Hurricanes, but then again, who can blame anyone for seeming disinterested in being in Toledo. Malik Rosier accounted for 5 TDs (2 passing, 3 rushing) and DeeJay Dallas (“Half-priced Jagerbombs, everyone, and don’t forget to tip your waitresses... next up on stage it’s Cand-day”) ran for 110 yards and a TD.
9. Syracuse (Last Week: 30-7 W vs Florida State)
Syracuse pulled away in the 2nd half vs an FSU team that couldn’t block, run, throw, or catch. In any other year, a 30-7 win against Florida State is a statement, but it was hard to watch this game and get a feeling that the outcome said as much positively about the Orange as it did negatively about Florida State. I’m pretty sure that first half was the worst half of football I’ve watched this year. Freshman QB Tommy DeVito looked good in place of injured starter Eric Dungey - actually, he looked way better than Dungey throwing the ball.
10. Virginia (Last Week: 45-31 W vs Ohio)
The Wahoos’ offense hit the skids in the 2nd half after a ridiculous 1st half, with Ohio making thing interesting for a little bit, but never really threatening. Bryce Perkins completed 25-of-30 (!!) passes for 379 yards and 3 TDs, Jordan Ellis carried the ball 19 times for 171 yards and 3 TDs, and Olamide Zaccheaus (it took me five tries to spell his name correctly) hauled in 9 passes from Perkins for 247 yards and 2 TDs. This UVa team looks like it could be a problem.
11. Pittsburgh (Last Week: 24-19 W vs Georgia Tech)
Pitt rebounded well from the shellacking they took the previous week against Penn State, holding on for the win against an always-tough Georgia Tech squad. Qadree Ollison had 17 carries for 91 yards and 2 TDs in the victory. With a game at UNC-CH up next, the Panthers have a shot to start ACC play at 2-0 for the first time since 2015 (I really hope I didn’t jinx them).
12. Georgia Tech (Last Week: 19-24 L @ Pittsburgh)
Pitt’s defense keyed on stopping Georgia Tech QB TaQuon Marshall from having success running the ball, and while Marshall did run for 103 yards and 2 TDs, it took him 28 carries (a 3.7 yards/carry average) to do it. The game plan worked well enough and the GT offense couldn’t complete the comeback. Pat Narduzzi is a great defensive coach, so maybe chalk this one up to that (plus that USF loss last week isn’t bad), but 1-2 isn’t where this team thought it would be right now.
13. Louisville (Last Week: 20-17 W vs Western Kentucky)
The Cardinals have some serious issues, needing two 4th quarter touchdowns to notch the come-from-behind victory over a Western Kentucky team that lost to D1-AA/FCS Maine (Sagarin ranking: 124) the previous week. Starting QB Jawon Pass may have lost his starting job, getting pulled after misfiring on his first three pass attempts (including an INT). Malik Cunningham ran for 129 yards after replacing Pass, but he completed 10-of-18 passes for just 88 yards. Life is tough without a human cheatcode at QB. I know this EDSBS article was written in jest, but maybe it’s true after all...
ACC JV Division
1. Florida State (Last Week: 7-30 L @ Syracuse)
Year 1 of the Willie Taggart era is quickly looking like a Year 0. Taggart is supposed to be an offensive guru, but the offense looks anemic and couldn’t move the ball on a Syracuse defense that gave up 42 points to Western Michigan in Week 1. Granted, the Seminole’s O-line has more injuries than could be conceived at this juncture of the season, but when you get in as much talent year in and year out as FSU does, it’s hard to make excuses for such lackluster performances.
NR. North Carolina (Last Week: L vs Hurricane Florence)
Sorry, Tar Heels, no game means no chance to work your way out of the ACC JV Division... but at least you have company now!