The first weekend of play has concluded and some games were of the conference variety and some were not. The surprise of the weekend came in Tallahassee Florida as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets used a big fourth-quarter comeback on the road to stun the Seminoles and claim a big league win on the road. The Clemson Tigers picked up where they left off in the conference last season. They went on the road to Wake Forest and made it clear who is the top dog in the league. In doing so, they tied a league record for consecutive wins in the regular season. The 37-13 win over the Demon Deacons gives the Tigers 30 straight regular-season wins in conference play. That ties a record that was established by Florida State who has done it twice in school history (1998-2000, 2013-15). Here are some other happenings this week in the ACC.
It can be argued that the Top 25 poll may not mean what it should or has in recent times because of the lack of teams that are not playing now choosing instead to play in the spring. Still, the league boasted seven teams that are in the AP Top 25 poll. Clemson is still at #1 and based on their first performance of the season, it may be hard to get them off that spot. The others who have joined the Tigers in the poll are: Notre Dame at #7, North Carolina at #12, Miami at #17, Louisville at #18, Virginia Tech at #20, and Pittsburgh at #25. The coaches Top 25 poll has six Atlantic Coast Conference teams in their ranking. The Tigers at #1, followed by the Fighting Irish at #7, the Tar Heels at # 11, the Cardinals at #16, Miami at #18, and Virginia Tech at #19.
There were some noteworthy quarterback performances last week. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence got his season off to a flying start throwing for his eighth career 300-yard passing game as he went 22-of-28 for 351 yards and one touchdown. His QB rating vs Wake was 88.7. He also rushed for a pair of scores as well. The Yellow Jackets come from behind win vs Florida State was led by true freshman signal-caller, Jeff Sims, who led the offense to nine fourth-quarter points in the 16-13 road win. For the game, Sims ran for 64 yards and threw for 277 yards and a score on 24-of-35 passing. Sims was picked off twice and had a QB rating of 74.6. Not bad for your first start in the league. In the Hurricanes win over UAB, Miami trotted out a rookie QB, D’Eriq King who was 16-of 24 for 144 yards, and a touchdown. King also ran for 83 yards on the ground to help his team to a 31-14 win. In Louisville’s win over Western Kentucky, Micale Cunningham ran for a score and threw for 343 yards on 19-of-34 passing. Cunningham connected for three scores in the air and had a QB rating of 91.1. The passing yardage was a career-high.
Clemson Senior running back, Travis Etienne, has a chance to become the first player in conference history to win the player of the year awards three straight years. He is the first running back since North Carolina’s Mike Voight (1975-76) to win the award multiple times. Last year, he became the seventh player in league history to be voted ACC Player of the Year twice and the second in a four-year span. Louisville Cardinal QB Lamar Jackson was the other in 2016-17.
We are off and running with the conference notes, so stay with us all season long for coverage of the ACC