NGSC Sports

The ACC: Week 11 preview

By John Doucette

There are still some big games left to be played in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as teams jockey for position in the conference standings race and put themselves in position to become bowl eligibility.
Next week big game takes place at Sun Light Stadium in Miami, Florida as the Virginia Tech Hokies tangle with the Miami Hurricanes. The Hokies (6-3 overall, 3-2 in conference play) will be trying to snap a two game losing streak at the expense of the Hurricanes, turnovers have become a problem for Virginia Tech, they have committed 8 in their last two ballgames. Taking care of the football is a must if the Hokies are to leave the sunshine state with a win. Miami (7-1, 3-1 in the ACC) will be trying to bounce back from a tough night in Tallahassee, Florida which was made even more difficult because of a broken ankle injury suffered by running back Duke Johnson in the second half. His season is likely over. These teams arrive at this game still fighting for the coastal division championship and a spot in the ACC championship game in December.

Florida State after once again proving that they are the top dogs in the conference, head back out on the road this coming Saturday for a game at Wake Forest. The Seminoles (8-0, 6-0 in the ACC) once again used a national television audience to make their clam that they are at least the second best team in the country. State torched Miami defense to the tune of 517 total yards and was 11 for 15 on third down efficiency, numbers that will keep the Demons Deacons coaching staff up all hours of the night trying to find ways to slow the Seminoles down. Wake Forest (4-5 overall, 2-4 in conference) will try to pull off the major upset without the services of wide receiver Michael Campanaro who suffered an injury in their loss to Syracuse and may not be able to play.

North Carolina winners of two in a row, return home this week to face Virginia. The Tar Heels (3-5 and 2-3 in conference play) are making a late season push to become bowl eligibility. During their mini win streak, the offense has started to get untracked led by quarterback Bryn Renner. In their win over in-state foe North Carolina State, the Tar Heels roll up 427 total yards of offense. Renner while not spectacular was good enough, throwing for 124 yards on 15 of 24 passing. The Virginia Cavaliers have lost six in a row. With their defeat at the hands of Clemson, the Cavs (2-7, 0-5 in the ACC) have clinched its fifth losing season in the last six years. Neither the offense nor defense has been able to get on the same page at any point during the season.

The Syracuse Orangemen will travel to Maryland this weekend for a game that has bowl possibility written all over it. The Orange (4-4, 2-2) are coming off a shutout of Wake Forest, defense was not the only good news for Syracuse. The offense did their part as well scoring thirteen points in the third quarter to secure the win. Quarterback Terrell Hart led an offense that racked up 352 total yards, as he threw for 144 yards himself on 18 for 30 passing. Maryland had the week off to rest and get some injured players back. The Terps (5-3, 1-3) have done a tremendous job of staying a floated with all the injuries they have suffered this season. Head Coach Randy Edsall has done a great job of mixing and matching to keep ahead of all the injuries to his team.
North Carolina State will be on the road this weekend to face Duke. The Wolf Pack still searching for their first conference win (3-5, 0-5) will be leaning on quarterback Brandon Mitchell to help them get that first league win. Mitchell returning from missing time with a broken foot, play well in the loss to the Tar Heels running for over 100 yards and throwing for 130 yards. Duke (6-2, 2-2) with a week off to bask in the glow of upsetting Virginia Tech, and becoming bowl eligibility in back to back years for the first time in school history. The Blue Devils took advantaged of a defense that forced turnovers, and an offense that capitalize on them to get the upset win on the road and give themselves an outside shot at a division crown.

Two conference teams are playing non-conference games this weekend, first the Pittsburgh Panthers are playing host to Notre Dame. The Panthers (4-4, 2-3) had all sort of problems in their loss at Georgia Tech. The running game having the most difficultly, managing a minus five yards on twenty one attempts. Quarterback Tony Savage tried to make up for the lack of a running game by throwing the football. His numbers 25 for 37, 233 yards and 1 TD, 1INT were not good enough to keep the Panthers from going down in defeat. They face a Fighting Irish team that had all they could handle from Navy, giving up 419 yards most of them on the ground to the Midshipmen, while the offense led by running back Tarean Folston (18 carriers for 140 yards) gain 506 yards themselves. Notre Dame who begins conference play on a semi-regular bases next year, needs this win if they are to keep their BCS bowl hopes alive.

The other non-conference game finds Boston College traveling to New Mexico to face the Aggies, it is the first time these schools have met in football. Boston College (4-4, 2-3) arrives at this game off an upset win at home vs. Virginia Tech in which turnovers four in all plays a big role in the win. Running back Andre Williams had a big day on the ground for the Eagles as he rushed for 166 yards on thirty- three carriers. It’s the sixth one hundred yard rushing game of the season for Williams as he went over one thousand yards for the season. They face a New Mexico State team that has only one win all season. Last time out vs. Louisiana Lafayette the Aggies had a 28-14 halftime lead only to lose the lead and the game in the second half despite gaining 450 yards on offense. Quarterback Andrew McDonald had a big day throwing the football for the Aggies completing 24 of 34 for 327 yards 3 TD, 1 INT.

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