As Columbus Day holiday weekend winds down, things continue to get interesting in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The league boasted three teams inside the top five of the latest AP Top 25 poll. Clemson, after their strong performance over Miami, stays at #1. Notre Dame, after being off for 21 days because of the virus, got back on the field and defeated Florida State to stay at #4 in the poll. North Carolina, who put on an offensive show at the expense of Virginia Tech, is at #5. The league also has the Hurricanes at #13 and the Hokies at #23 to round out the conference in the poll. Here is more from the ACC.
The big game of last weekend took place in Death Valley as the #7 Miami Hurricanes (3-1, 2-1) went on the road to take on the best team in the conference and in the country, the Clemson Tigers (4-0, 3-0). The Hurricanes may be good, but they showed that a prime time match-up vs the #1 team in the land is still a little too big of a moment. The Canes defense could not keep the Tigers offense under control. Clemson quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, had another monster game throwing for 292 yards on 29-41 passing with three touchdowns. His partner in crime, running back Travis Etienne, established a couple of milestones. First, he ran for over 100 yards for the 19th time at Clemson which a school-record (102 yards) He becomes the first non-kicker in league history to score 400 points.
The defense did their part holding the Hurricanes offense in check allowing only 210 total yards for the game. They also picked off three passes and got five sacks on Miami QB D’eriq King. The only mistake Clemson made all night was in the kicking game as a blocked field goal attempt at the end of the first half was returned by the Canes for a score. At halftime, coach Dabo Swinney said, “It was the worst coaching decision of my life”. Clemson has now won 25 straight at home, and 47 straight on Saturday with the 42-17 win.
Miami now must move on to take on a Pittsburgh Panther (3-2, 2-2) team that lost a tough one at Chestnut Hill on Saturday. The 31-30 overtime loss to Boston College (3-1, 2-1) was decided on a missed extra-point in the first extra period. The Eagles offense was in high gear all game long as they gain 388 yards and had 20 first downs. They were 8-18 on third down and 1-1 on fourth down. The Panthers defense, which had been good in the early stages of the season, struggled to get off the field in this one. BC quarterback Phil Jurkovec was 19-35 for 358 yards and three scores. The 300-yard passing day was his third in four games. He also ran one in for a touchdown. He would connect with five different Eagles receivers on the day. His two favorites were TE Hunter Long (6-93 yards) and WR Zay Flowers (6-162 yards and three TD’s) including the game-winner in O.T.
For Pittsburgh, it was the good and bad of special teams that would decide this one. First the good, a 58-yard FG by Alex Kessman with 46 seconds left tied the game and sent it to extra-time. Then the bad, after Pitt scored in the first overtime, Kessman miss the PAT that would have kept the game alive for the Panthers. Pittsburgh will try to end a two-game slide in league play when they face Miami next week.
Boston College will be trying to do something they have been unable to do for some time. Beat a ranked team. Next week, they will traveled down to Blacksburgh, Virginia to take on Virginia Tech. If they can pull off the win, it will be their first one vs a ranked team since 2014 when they defeated Southern California at home . And it would be their first on the road since beating Florida State in 2004. Their quarterback Phil Jurkovec is off to a great four game start. He has completed 99- for- 152, 1181 yards and 8 TD’s. Its the best four game start by an Eagles quarterback in school history.
On Thursday night, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets ( 2-2, 1-2 in league) rally from down 14-points to beat Louisville ( 1-3, 0-3 in league) 46-27. They did it behind the quarterback play of their freshman signal-caller Jeff Sims. Sims threw for 249 yards and two scores. Both touchdowns passes coming in the last three minutes of the game. The Yellow Jackets got some help from a Cardinal offense that was prone to committing turnovers. They fumbled the ball away, three times on their way to there third straight defeat. Louisville did get 155 yards rushing from Javian Hawkins and QB Malik Cunningham had a big day. Throwing for 229 yards and two scores and running for two more. But those turnover would prove to be too much for the Cardinal to overcome. Both teams have major tests on tap for next week. For Louisville, it will be a trip to Notre Dame that will end a three-game road swing And for the Yellow Jackets, the number one team in the land comes calling in those Clemson Tigers.
Speaking of the Irish ( 3-0, 2-0 in league), they got back on the field Saturday night, when they hosted Florida State ( 1-3, 0-3 in league). This was ND first game in three weeks. And they won it on the ground. Kyren Williams ran for 185 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Freshman Chris Tyree went for 103 yards on 11 carriers and a score. On the night, the pair averaged nine yards a carry. As the Irish, use a ground attack to pound the Seminoles. And extended their home winning streak to 21 a school best. Quarterback Ian Brook threw for two scores and ran for one. The two touchdown passes, ties him with Jimmy Clausen for third on the career passing touchdown list at 60.
But the wildest game of the day took place in Chapel Hill. As the Tar Heels ( 3-0, 3-0 in league) rode the legs of Michael Carter. He ran for 214 yards and two touchdowns. He got some help from running mate Javonte Williams who added 169 yards and two scores. The 169 yards is a career best. Their running help North Carolina to gain 399 yards on the afternoon. QB Sam Howell also got in on the fun, as he threw for three touchdowns himself, the Tar Heels totaled 656 yards of total offense. North Carolina went up aganist a Virginia Tech team, that has had its problems with the virus. They were down 15 players on Saturday, and it hurt them all day especially on the defense side of the ball. The Hokies (2-1, 2-1 in league) did get 138 yards on the ground from Khalil Herbert and two touchdowns. They welcome the return of their quarterback Hendron Hooker who has been out with injury. He did all he could, as he threw for for two TD’s and ran for another. In his first game action of the season. The Tar Heels who have won five in a row dating back to last season, take on Florida State next week.
Next week we will look back on a full schedule of ACC action.