Through eight weeks, the Atlantic Coast Conference has put up some impressive numbers to back its claim as one of the elite college football leagues in the country. They have 26 non-conference wins, the second most among power-5 conferences. The ACC has the best non-conference opponent record, measured in wins total of any of the power-5 leagues. The Atlantic Division of the ACC is 18-1 outside of league play. That is the best record of any division in FBS and is the only division with four ranked teams playing in it. While in league play, 27 conference games have been decided by six points or fewer. There are five conference games this week, and two non-conference games. Clemson and Duke have the week off. Here is a look at this week’s league play.
It gets started on Thursday night when Virginia Tech (2-5, 1-3) heads to Raleigh to face #24 NC State (5-2, 1-2). This is their first time in Raleigh since 2010. VT has won the last five meetings in a row. The Hokies have lost four in a row, with their last win coming back on September 17 vs Wofford. WR Kaleb Smith had a big game in last week’s loss to Pittsburgh, with nine catches for 152 yards, both career highs. He is the first VT receiver in ten games to have a 100-yard game. Defense has been the key for the Wolfpack. They lead the league with 11 interceptions and are sixth in the country. The defense is 14th in the country in scoring defense, and second in the league.
Georgia Tech (3-4, 2-2) is at Florida State (4-3, 2-3). The Seminoles are on a three-game skid of their own. Their defense ranks second in the league and 13th in the nation in passing defense allowing 175 yards through the air in seven games. Last week, the Yellow Jackets’ special teams came up big vs Virginia by blocking a field goal and a punt in the 16-9 loss at home. Each of the last seven games between the two has been decided by less than a touchdown. FSU is 6-2 at home vs Georgia Tech. However, GT is looking for their third win in a row in this series.
Miami (3-4, 1-2) is at Virginia (3-4, 1-3). Virginia got into the win column in league play with its win over Georgia Tech. The Virginia front seven on defense had a great game last week. They recorded eight sacks of GT quarterback, the most of any team this season. and the second most in school history. In the Hurricanes’ win over Virginia Tech, junior defensive tackle Ahkeem Mesidor had four solo and eight tackles overall. With those tackles were 3.5 sacks. He helped a defense that allows just 257 yards of total offense. On offense, WR Colbie Young was named ACC Receiver of the Week. This begins a four-game homestand for the Hurricanes who do not go back on the road until November 26.
#10 Wake Forest (6-1, 2-1) heads to Louisville (4-3, 2-3). For the Demon Deacons, it starts with QB Sam Hartman who accounted for six TD in the win over Boston College. His performance earned him ACC Quarterback of the Week honors. Wake’s offense is one of the best in the nation averaging 41.2 points per game and they are second in the nation with 25 touchdown passes. They are 19th in passing offense at 295.7 a game. The Demon Deacons have now been ranked a school record 21 straight weeks in the AP poll. Louisville has a pretty good QB of their own in Malik Cunningham who is fifth in ACC history in career total offense with 12,307, fifth in rushing touchdowns with 47, and second in quarterback rushing TDs with those 47. On defense, LB Yasir Abdullah had seven tackles for loss, one INT, two pass breakups, a forced fumble, and three quarterback hurries in last week’s game vs Pittsburgh. His efforts got him named Linebacker of the Week in the ACC. Louisville is 3-1 vs Wake Forest at home.
# 21 North Carolina (6-1, 3-0) hosts Pittsburgh (4-3, 1-2) on Saturday night. This is a big game in the Coastal Division. Pittsburgh is two games back in the loss column While UNC has not lost a game in division play. Carolina is eighth in the country in both scoring offense and total offense. The Tar Heels have gained over 500 yards in four of their seven games played. The Panthers have a punishing run game led by Israel Abanikanda who is fourth in the country with an average of 137 yards a game. He has rushed for over 100- yards in five of Pittsburgh’s seven games.
#16 Syracuse (6-1) plays host to Notre Dame (4-3). This is the first time the Orangemen have played host to the Fighting Irish since 2003. ND has won the last four games, This time Syracuse will play this game as a ranked team, being in the poll for the first time since 2019. Boston College (2-5) makes a trip to Connecticut to meet the Huskies (3-5) This will be the third ACC school the Huskies have faced this season, with losses to both Syracuse and North Carolina State back in September. BC wide receiver Zay Flowers has four touchdowns of more than 50 yards. He is one of only three players in the country to have done this. Connecticut is coming off a bye week and is set to start a three-game homestand.
That’s all for this week in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Next week we will be back with more from the ACC.
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