As the end of October arrives, the Atlantic Coast Conference continues to shine. Four teams from the league all rank inside the Top 15 of the AP Top 25 poll. Yes, the conference did lose two members of the group due to losses last weekend. Both North Carolina State and Virginia Tech were beaten on the road in league play. However, a new team received some love in the polls. Boston College, for the first time all season had some votes come their way, though not enough of them to crack the Top-25. How long they can keep getting those votes will depend on how this Saturday afternoon’s game on the road goes for them. They make the trip to Death Valley to take on #1 Clemson. Here is some other news from the league in this edition of the ACC news and notes.
Every week we talk about another mark that the Clemson Tigers (6-0, 5-0) are shooting for. This week is no different. Their high noon battle with Boston College (4-2, 3-2) not only will have a national TV audience, but a win by the Tigers will give them 28 straight wins over league foes including the postseason. That would tie them with the 2012-15 Florida State Seminoles for the second-longest streak in league history. Not to mention the longest winning streak in FBS on Saturday that now has reached 49. It is four more than the previous holder of this record, Oklahoma, who won 45 straight Saturdays from 1953-57.
There could be another record that becomes part of the Clemson program on Saturday. Running back, Travis Etienne is just 42 rushing yards shy of becoming the all-time leader in rushing in the ACC. That mark, for the time being, belongs to Ted Brown of North Carolina State. During the years of 1975-78, Brown rushed for 4,602 yards. Etienne is at 4,560 as he and his team get ready to face the Eagles. Travis already holds the Atlantic Coast Conference record for rushing touchdowns with 64 and total touchdowns with 71. Come draft weekend for the NFL, his name may be the first one called at the running back position.
A couple of Wake Forest (3-2, 2-2) players earned national recognition for their play last weekend. First, there was safety Nick Andersen, who earned the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week honors. In last weekend’s upset of # 19 Virginia Tech, Andersen made 11 tackles and picked off three passes in the Demon Deacons win. That performance also landed Andersen on the ACC Rookie of the Week Award list for the first time this year. He was also named ACC Defensive Back of the Week also for the first time. His teammate and placekicker Nick Sciba was named the Lou Groza “Star of the Week”. In the win over the Hokies, Sciba hit three field goals and two extra points in the 23-16 win.
Also earning some attention from around the country was Notre Dame (5-0, 4-0) quarterback Ian Book. He was named to the Davey O’Brien Award Great 8 list. Last weekend on the road at Pittsburgh (3-4, 2-4), Book threw for 312 yards and three scores in the Irish’s 45-3 win. Book also ran for 40 yards on eight carries. North Carolina (4-1, 4-1) running back/ return man Michael Carter was named to the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll. In the Tar Heels win over the Wolfpack (4-2, 4-2), Carter rushed for 106 yards, had 46 receiving yards, and returned a kickoff 24 yards.
A pair of games worth noting are Louisville (2-4, 1-4) taking on Virginia Tech (3-2, 3-2). This will be the first time these two programs have met inside the conference. The last time they met was back in the 2006 Gator Bowl. At that time, both teams were ranked. VT won that game 35-24 behind the arm of Michael Vick who threw for a pair of touchdowns in the Hokies victory. For the 125th time, North Carolina and Virginia (1-4, 1-4) will get together. This will equal the second-most played rivalries in all of FBS. Virginia is the home team this time around and in those games, they hold a 26-24 record vs the Tar Heels.
The ground game has become a big weapon this season in the league. So much so, that four of the top 15 rushers are from the ACC. It’s the most of any conference in the country. Virginia Tech’s Khalil Herbert is third in the nation at 131.2 yards per game. He is followed by North Carolina’s Michael Carter at #11 with 116.8 per game on the ground. Louisville’s Javian Hawkins is at #13 with 115.5 yards a game, and Tar Heels Javonte Williams at # 14 with 112.4 yards a game.
That wraps up another week inside the Atlantic Coast Conference.