Heading to the Backstretch: ACC Week 9
The Atlantic Coast Conference featured the big game of Week 8. In Week 9, conference standings move to the forefront with all but one team engaged in conference play. Here is a look at Week 9 and a look back at Week 8:
Wake Forest at 7)Miami (Saturday, 12 noon)
The 7th ranked Hurricanes escaped a primetime upset at the hands of North Carolina last week to remain unbeaten. They will face a Wake Forest team who have won 3 out of their last 4 games.
The Deacons have been successful exploiting their biggest weapons in quarterback Tanner Price and receiver Michael Campanaro. Price has thrown 11 touchdown passes while Campanaro has put up lofty numbers with 704 yards receiving and 5 touchdown receptions.
Meanwhile, Wake has seen an improvement on the defensive side of the ball where they held conference rivals N.C. State and Maryland to under 13 points respectively in the last two weeks.
Meanwhile, Miami will bring the 13th ranked scoring offense to the table behind quarterback Stephen Morris and back Duke Johnson. Good news for the Canes, Johnson has been cleared to play after an injury at North Carolina. The bad news for Miami is that receiver Phillip Dorsett is out 4-6 weeks with a partially torn MCL.
Morris will still have a formidable receiver in Allen Hurns, who leads the team in receiving. And Miami's underrated defense, who gives up only 17 points per game, should have an impact on this game. Wake struggles to run the football which likely has the Hurricanes licking their chops.
Prediction: Miami by 13
Georgia Tech at Virginia (Saturday, 12:30pm)
The Rambling Wreck snapped a three game losing streak last week with a convincing 56-0 victory over Syracuse. They travel to Charlottesville on Saturday to face a struggling Virginia squad who are 2-4.
The Yellow Jackets will run the ball behind quarterback Vad Lee and running back David Sims who lead the country's 5th ranked rushing attack. Lee has thrown 9 touchdown passes, as well.
Virginia is a team who has not found their way this season. With 4 straight losses, they hope home cooking will be the cure. They will need a big game by Kevin Parks who has rushed for 8 touchdowns this season to go with 560 yards.
But Virginia's defense has not been able to slow their opponents down. They give up over 28 points a game and have given up 110 points in their last three games. Facing a Yellow Jackets team who averages over 36 points a game will be no small feat.
Prediction: Georgia Tech by 12
Pittsburgh at Navy (Saturday, 1pm)
The Panthers take a week outside of the ACC to face a Midshipman team who like to run the football. Navy averages over 300 yards a game on the season, good for 6th best in the Country.
But Navy has struggled in the last two games defensively, giving up 45 points in a loss to Toledo and 35 to Duke the week prior.
Meanwhile, Pitt will ride the arm of quarterback Tom Savage who has passed for over 1300 yards and 11 touchdowns. To compliment Savage, the Panthers will attack with two sound running backs in Isaac Bennett who has rushed for 450 yards and 5 touchdowns and James Connor who has racked up 354 yards and 4 touchdowns. Connor was held out of last weeks game against Old Dominion due to injury but has been cleared to play this week.
The Panthers are in the midst of compiling a nice inaugural season in the ACC and sit at 4-2 overall. They can take one step closer to a nice bowl game with a win on Saturday.
Prediction: Pittsburgh by 8
N.C. State at 2)Florida State (Saturday, 3:30pm)
The Seminoles certainly appeared to be the class of the conference after the drubbing of Clemson in Death Valley last week. Could this be a trap game this week?
N.C. State is football team who are now 3-3 overall but need a big win to turn around a stretch where they have lost 3 out of their last 4 games.
Florida State impressed enough to grab the second spot in the first BCS ranking of the season. They need big wins to keep teams such as Oregon, who are breathing down their neck, behind them.
Jameis Winston took a leap to becoming a Heisman hopeful last week, continuing to play well beyond his freshman status. Winston has thrown 20 touchdown passes and over 1800 yards to lead the 10th leading passing attack in the country.
The Noles have an impressive squad that features an offense who averages over 53 points a game and a defense who gives up only 12.
The Wolfpack have struggled at quarterback with Pete Thomas and have not been extremely impressive rushing the ball which puts them in a bind against the Florida State defense.
It is hard to imagine State with the ability to score enough points in this game.
Prediction: Florida State by 31
9) Clemson at Maryland (Saturday, 3:30pm)
Two teams who come into Saturday licking their wounds, will square off in this conference game. Clemson took a beating at home against Florida State while Maryland fell hard to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem.
Once again, quarterback C.J. Brown will miss action on Saturday as he rehabs his injury. The Terps will rely on Caleb Rowe to handle the duties. Rowe is not the dual threat that Brown is but can certainly be a threat passing.
Brown will target Stefon Diggs who has 587 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Tajh Boyd will look to rebound after a poor performance against the Seminoles. Boyd was mentioned in the Heisman conversation until last Saturday but is a big time weapon who has passed for 1939 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Sammy Watkins is putting together a solid season at receiver with 650 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns.
The Tigers will have to avoid the letdown after such a big loss in the front end of back to back road games and are still in the running for the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte.
Prediction: Clemson by 14
Boston College at North Carolina (Saturday, 3:30pm)
The Tar Heels have come close but have not been able to put it together this season as evidenced against Miami last Thursday. It looked like UNC would seal the deal against the Canes but fell on a late Miami touchdown.
Meanwhile, Boston College benefited from a bye week last week. They come to Chapel Hill with a 3-3 record overall, 1-2 in the conference.
With Andre Williams in the backfield against a Tar Heel team who has struggled against the run, look for a lot of carries by the senior who has rushed for 838 yards this season. Williams has scored 7 times in 2013.
North Carolina has had difficulty running the ball making the offense one dimensional in many cases. This has done no favors to quarterback Bryn Renner who has had his difficulties this season.
Renner has two big time weapons at receiver in Eric Ebron and Quinshad Davis. Ebron has 532 yards receiving from the tight end position while Davis has 5 touchdown receptions.
With big games on the horizon, North Carolina desperately need a win in this game.
Prediction: North Carolina by 9
Duke at 14)Virginia Tech (Saturday, 3:30pm)
Virginia Tech has won 6 straight games to compile a 6-1 record. They sit atop the Coastal division at 3-0 and look to keep pace with Miami, who have not lost in the ACC either.
Duke has won three straight games and have a healthy but sore Anthony Boone at quarterback. Boone is still recovering from a collar bone injury.
The Blue Devils have one of the best receivers in the country in Jamison Crowder who has 731 yards receiving and 3 touchdown receptions. With Jela Duncan and Josh Snead at running back, they have good balance on offense.
Unfortunately for Duke, they have struggled against the better teams on defense giving up 58 and 38 in their two losses.
The Hokies have seen continued improvement from quarterback Logan Thomas who has managed games well. A sound offense to go with a defense who have played extremely well during their winning streak, have added up to the winning streak. The Hokies bring the nation's 5th best scoring defense into the game.
The game is important to Virginia Tech who will be on the road for 3 out of their last 4 games.
Prediction: Virginia Tech by 9
Week 8 Results:
Miami 27 North Carolina 23
Georgia Tech 56 Syracuse 0
Wake Forest 34 Maryland 10
Duke 35 Virginia 22
Pittsburgh 35 Old Dominion 24
Florida State 51 Clemson 14