It can be said that the first month of the college football season has gone very well for the ACC. There is one school that may disagree. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets season has gotten off to an 0-1 conference mark and 1-3 overall. Two of those losses have come against top-20 programs in Clemson and Ole Miss. But last week’s loss at Central Florida was the last straw for head coach Geoff Collins and athletic director Todd Stansbury. They were both relieved of their duties on Monday. Collins was in his fourth year with the program. The loss last Saturday to UCF was the ninth straight against an FBS opponent that goes back to last season. Collins’s overall record at Georgia Tech was 10-28. He came to Atlanta after a stint at Temple. The interim coach will be Brent Key, whose first game comes this weekend on the road at #24 Pittsburgh (3-1, 0-0). Frank Neville will be named A.D. A national search for both a head coach and athletic director has begun.
For the first time since the season began, conference football is the main attraction. Seven games are on the docket, and six of those are league affairs. #25 Syracuse is the lone team that is playing non-conference football as they will host Wagner. Miami is the lone team that will have this weekend off. Let’s take a look at the six games that are on tap for ACC play this week.
Two teams looking for their first league victory meet at Chestnut Hill on Saturday. Louisville (2-2, 0-2) and Boston College (1-3, 0-2) get together for the ninth time since BC became a member of the ACC in 2014. The Cardinals hold the advantage at 5-3, however, the Eagles are 4-3 at home vs Louisville. The BC defense will be tested by Cardinal QB Malik Cunningham who last week had quite a game vs South Florida. He ran for three scores, finishing with 240 total yards (133 on the ground, 107 through the air). The team ran for 315 yards on their way to over 500 total yards on the day. Meanwhile, the Eagles struggled on the road at Florida State losing the game in all three phases giving up a special teams touchdown on the opening kickoff, and losing the battle on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Virginia Tech (2-2, 0-0) heads to North Carolina (3-1, 0-0) to meet the Tar Heels for the second straight year to begin conference play. The Hokies are 14-4 in ACC play vs UNC. This game has been played at several different locations over the years. Nineteen of these games have been played at neutral sites. When the game has been scheduled for Chapel Hill, as will be the case this weekend, Virginia Tech is 9-5-2. Last year VT upset then #10 North Carolina 17-10 in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech has won five of the last six matches. Tar Heel QB Drake Maye was named ACC Rookie of the Week for the second time this month.
Virginia (2-2, 0-1) heads to Durham to meet Duke (3-1, 0-0) and this matchup has been a bit one-sided with Virginia winning the last seven in a row. The Blue Devils have won 18 of the last 31 games played in Durham. Overall, the Cavaliers have a 35-29 advantage. These two teams have not faced each other in Durham since 2018. The last time Duke won at home was in 2014.
There are two Top-25 games in league play this week. The first one has #22 Wake Forest (3-1, 0-1) coming off a tough overtime loss to Clemson. Going to Tallahassee to meet Florida State (4-0, 2-0), Wake will be the road team in this series for the first time since 2018. All-time, FSU is 20-3-1 at home vs WF. Wake has won the last two in a row. Before that, Florida State had won seven in a row, and 23 of 29. Florida State is coming off a strong performance last Saturday night vs Boston College. QB Jordan Travis set career-highs in passing yards with 321, and in total offense with 338. This will be the second time this game will be played with both teams ranked. Florida State is one of only two schools with three wins vs Power-5 opponents Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman tossed a school-record six touchdowns in the OT loss to Clemson.
The other Top-25 game will be a nationally televised game between #10 North Carolina State (4-0, 0-0) and #5 Clemson (4-0, 2-0). The Tigers are 4-0 for the seventh time in the last eight years. N.C. State is 4-0 for the first time since 2018. The Wolfpack is ranked in the Top 10 for the first time since 2002. This will be the sixth time the game has been played with both teams ranked. It will be the first time as a Top-10 match-up. N.C. State has not won in Death Valley since 2002. They will be looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since 2002-03 after winning in double-OT 27-21 a year ago. Tiger’s QB D.L. Uiagalele, this week’s QB of the Week, was on fire vs Wake Forest last week. He went 26-of-41 for 371 yards, a season-high. He also ran for 52 yards. The 300-yard passing day was the first of the season and the third of his career.
Syracuse (4-0, 2-0) will play the third of a four-game home series vs Wagner. It will be the third time Wagner has gone to Syracuse and the first since 2018. In the previous two meetings, the Orange have outscored the Seahawks by 116-10. Wagner has lost 22 consecutive games dating back to September of 2019. The Orange boosted this week’s Specialist Player of the Week in placekicker Andre Szymt who tied a school record with four field goals in the win over Virginia. He made kicks from 26, 32, 28, 40, and 31 yards. Mikei Jones was named LB of the Week for the second week in a row for Syracuse. The Orange are the other team in the country with three wins over Power-5 teams.
#Pittsburgh (3-1, 0-0) plays host to the Yellow Jackets. It will be the tenth straight meeting and the first in Pittsburgh since 2018. The Panthers have won the last four in a row. Pittsburgh holds a 6-3 record against Georgia Tech. The Panthers are 5-1 vs GT in Pittsburgh. Georgia Tech linebacker Charlie Thomas is second in the country with 27 solo tackles. His defensive teammate Ayinde Eley is 11th in the country and second in the ACC with 10.5 tackles per game.
That’s all for this week. We will be back next week with more from the ACC.
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