Previewing Saturday ACC Football
The Clemson Tigers started the week off with a 55-31 victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday. A banged up Tajh Boyd led the 8th ranked Tigers to the home win and keeps them one game behind Florida State. Now, as play turns to Saturday, here is a look at what is in store this weekend in the ACC:
N.C. State at Boston College (Saturday, 12:30pm)
The N.C. State Wolfpack will go on the road and attempt to end a 5 game losing streak to an Eagle team who has appeared to turn things around after a two game slide of their own. They sit poised to become bowl eligible at 5-4 on the season. Both teams are out of any contention for a shot at the ACC Championship but while Boston College is still hopeful to bowl, State hopes to end the season on a high note with their remaining games.
Once again, the Eagles will pin their hopes on running back Andre Williams who has put up impressive numbers this season. With 1471 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, the Eagles have a work horse who takes the pressure off of quarterback Chase Rettig.
The Wolfpack will need to be successful in their rushing attack, as well, with their inconsistency at quarterback. Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes afford State a one-two punch.
N.C. State look to obtain their first conference victory of the season but it will be a tall task as the Eagles play their final home game on Saturday.
Prediction: Boston College by 6
North Carolina at Pittsburgh (Saturday, 12:30pm)
In a pivotal game for both schools, the Tar Heels take a 3 game winning streak to Pittsburgh and will attempt to even up their record, eyeing post season play. Meanwhile, Pitt will look to put themselves in a position to become bowl eligible with a 6th victory and two games remaining after Saturday.
The Panthers will ride the arm of quarterback Tom Savage who has tossed 16 touchdowns including two last week in their victory over Notre Dame.
North Carolina has turned their offense over to quarterback Marquise Williams following the season ending Bryn Renner injury. With a struggling running game all season, Williams will be in the spot light on Saturday.
Possibly hidden in the Tar Heel winning streak is the improvement on the defensive side of the ball. The young North Carolina defense has yielded just over 14 points per game during the streak.
It is the last road game of the season for North Carolina who could complete a strong turnaround after an unimpressive start to the season, with a win.
North Carolina by 3
Maryland at Virginia Tech (Saturday, 12:30pm)
Two teams who have gone in different directions of late, match up in this ACC contest. Virginia Tech rebounded after a two game losing streak by defeating Miami last week while Maryland looks to end a 3 game losing streak on Saturday. The Terps have lost 4 out of their last 5 after an impressive start and now hope to finish strong to obtain a bowl birth.
For Virginia Tech, a birth in the ACC Championship is clearly in their sites with a victory against Maryland followed by a victory over Virginia.
Logan Thomas has been up and down this season but has thrown for over 2400 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Hokie defense is 9th best in the Country in scoring defense. They will look to contain multi-threat quarterback C.J. Brown who came back from injury recently. Brown, however, has not played to the same level as his early games since returning from injury.
It is the last home game of the season for Virginia Tech and a big one at that.
Prediction: Virginia Tech by 9
Syracuse at 2)Florida State (Saturday, 3:30pm)
The game may likely take a back seat to the Jameis Winston story in this one. An old sexual assault allegation has jumped to the front page in regards to Winston and how it will play out will be in the news, going forward, for the leading Heisman Trophy candidate.
However, on the field, the Seminoles will look to keep their National Championship hopes alive with another win. Winston has led a team with a dominant offense and defense against the Orangemen.
Syracuse enter the game with a 5-4 record coming off of a two game winning streak. After a humiliating loss to Georgia Tech, Syracuse has notched victories against Wake Forest and Maryland and have only given up a total of 3 points in those two games.
Florida State is a different animal than those two opponents. A team that averages 52 points a game while only giving up 12. They have weapons all over the field with a couple stand outs being Rashad Greene at receiver, who has 820 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. Devonta Freeman leads the Seminole running attack with 650 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns.
Prediction: Florida State by 44
23)Miami at Duke (Saturday, 3:30pm)
Two 7-2 teams square off in a game with both conference and bowl implications attached. Both teams are still in the running to take the Coastal division and a birth in the ACC Championship game in Charlotte.
It is the last home game for the Blue Devils who have won 5 straight games. Miami is still reeling from their loss to Florida State two weeks ago. They followed that up with a disappointing effort in a loss to Virginia Tech last week.
Duke will look to get receiver Jamison Crowder involved quickly. Crowder has 67 receptions and 903 receiving yards on the season. The Blue Devils average just over 33 points per game.
The Miami defense has given up over 40 points in each of their last two games, both resulting in losses.
The loss of Duke Johnson to injury has hurt the Canes but back up running back Dallas Crawford is capable of carrying the load. Receiver, Allen Hurns gives quarterback Stephen Morris a legitimate big play threat. Hurns has racked up 732 receiving yards on the season.
It is one of the biggest games to be played at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, in some time.
Prediction: Duke by 2
WEEK 11 RESULTS:
Florida State 59 Wake Forest 3
North Carolina 45 Virginia 14
Syracuse 20 Maryland 3
Boston College 48 New Mexico State 34
Duke 38 N.C. State 20
Virginia Tech 42 Miami 24
Pittsburgh 28 Notre Dame 21