ACC Football News and Notes: A New Leader of the Pack

ACC Football News and Notes: A New Leader of the Pack

There is a new team atop the ACC standings thanks to Notre Dame’s win at Boston College on Saturday. The #2 ranked Fighting Irish find themselves at the top of the mountain with just a handful of games left in the regular season, although Miami may still have something to say about all of this. The Irish and the Clemson Tigers are still on a collision course for round two of their battle, at the ACC Championship game in December. Until then, there are still games and news to share with you. So let’s get started.

The Irish (8-0, 7-0) win at Boston College (5-4, 4-4) was about the talent and depth that ND has at the moment. Quarterback Ian Book brought his “A” game to Chestnut Hill as he completed 20 of 27 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. When Book was not torching the Eagles defense through the air, he gained 85 yards running the ball on 10 carriers and for a score as well. Since taking over as the Irish QB, Book has a record of 28-3 in his thirty-one starts. His performance earned him a spot on the Davey O’Brien Great 8 list. His head coach also reached a milestone on Saturday as Massachusetts native Brian Kelly picked up career win # 100 with the Irish in the 45-31 win. Notre Dame will have this weekend off before heading back out on the road to tangle with North Carolina.

Speaking of those Tar Heels (6-2, 6-2), what a day for their quarterback Sam Howell vs Wake Forest (4-3, 3-3). Howell went 32 of 45 and threw for 550 yards, the third-highest single-game total in ACC history, and six touchdowns that tied a league record. He used his legs to score the touchdown that put his team ahead for good in this wacky game. The 59-53 win was full of offense on both sides. In the end, it was Howell and North Carolina’s unit that had just enough to get the win in this shootout. Howell was named to the Davey O’Brien Great 8 list, was named a Manning “Star of the Week”, as well league Quarterback of the Week. Howell also made the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week. Tar Heels running back/kick returner, Michael Carter, also had a big day. His 150 all-purpose yards included 74 yards rushing, 55 receiving, and 21 on kick returns. Carter helped North Carolina erase a 21-point deficit with a 46-yard catch and run for a score early in the fourth. His day against Wake earned him a spot on the weekly Paul Hornung Award Honor roll. For Carter, it is the third time this season he has made this weekly honor roll. Carter was also named conference Running Back of the Week. For both players, it is the second time they have made the conference weekly award list.

Securing the football is always job one for any quarterback at any level. Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman has been doing a very good job of not turning the ball over so far this season. He has now thrown 234 passes without an interception. It is the longest active streak and the eighth-most in ACC history. The third-longest active streak belongs to Ian Book of the Irish. Book has made 195 throws without having one picked. The best at doing this was Russell Wilson when he was at North Carolina State in 2008-09. Wilson went 379 passes without throwing an interception.

The ACC is not just about what happens on the field. It is also about what takes place off it as well. To that extent, the league is happy to announce that six players, the most of any conference, have been named as Semifinalists for the 2020-21 Senior Class Awards. The award honors both excellence on and off the field. The six players are, Chazz Surratt of North Carolina, Ian Book of ND, Robert Hainsey, Jimmy Morrissey of Pittsburgh, Kingsley Jonathan of Syracuse, and Carlos Basham Jr. of Wake Forest. To be eligible, a player must be an NCAA Division one senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence. They are community, classroom, character, competition. The student-athlete is encouraged to use this platform in sports to make a positive impact in their communities as leaders.

Putting points on the board has not been a problem for teams in this league. Through games played last weekend, the conference is on a record pace. The average scoring in league games is 59-9 points. just ahead of the 59-3 points that were average during the 2012 season. Over the last three seasons, the conference has averaged over 56 points per game, and home teams so far in the league are thirteen games over .500 at 33-20 (.623). From 2015 through 2019 home teams in the league have won games at a 53.9 clip (151-129).

Another week down, but we will be back next week with more from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

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