ACC Weekend Recap
By Matthew Osborne
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With each passing week, it becomes increasingly likely that Florida State and Miami will meet up in the ACC Championship Game.
As we begin to wind down toward the end of another college football regular season, the ACC divisional races are finally starting to show a semblance of clarity.
In the Atlantic, Florida State and Clemson have emphatically asserted themselves as the division’s top teams. Each team currently sits with just one loss in conference, while every other team in the division has at least three losses to their credit. With the Seminoles owning the tie-breaker against Clemson thanks to their head-to-head victory in September, Florida State appears primed to earn the ticket to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game out of the Atlantic Division.
In the Coastal, Miami now sits alone atop the standings with two conference losses (North Carolina also has two conference losses, but the Tar Heels are ineligible for the Coastal Division title). While the Hurricanes control their own destiny for a trip to Charlotte, Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are all still mathematically alive for the divisional crown. If the Hurricanes win this Saturday at Virginia, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech would both be eliminated from the divisional race. Duke has a bye week this Saturday, and would need a victory on the road against Georgia Tech the following Saturday to set up a winner-take-all showdown with the Hurricanes in Wallace Wade Stadium on November 24.
While we anxiously wait to see how these divisional races will play out, here is a recap of this past weekend’s ACC action.
Best Win: Miami 30, Virginia Tech 12
Although the Hokies fared better than the Hurricanes in many of the major statistical categories, Frank Beamer’s squad could not overcome numerous self-inflicted wounds on Thursday night. The goal for any team when playing a game is to beat the opponent, but sometimes it is just important to ensure that you do not beat yourself. Miami avoided costly mistakes, and freshman running back Duke Johnson made a number of key plays in the leading the Hurricanes to victory. It was also a spectacular performance from a Miami defense which had previously been ranked near the bottom of the country, holding the Hokies to a mere 12 points.
Worst Loss: Virginia 33, North Carolina State 6
Facing a Virginia team which was winless in the ACC, most people expected NC State to roll to an easy victory on Saturday in Raleigh. It was not meant to be, however, as the Wolfpack put together what was easily their worst performance of the season, turning the ball over five times and being outgained by 230 yards on their way to an embarrassing loss. The NC State rushing attack managed just 19 yards on the afternoon, while Virginia was able to churn out nearly 250 yards on the ground. The Wolfpack were still alive for a potential ACC Atlantic title prior to this contest, and this inexplicable loss may very well cost head coach Tom O’Brien his job.
Offensive Player of the Week: Wake Forest WR Michael Campanaro
Campanaro tied the ACC record for receptions in a single game on Saturday when he caught 16 passes against Boston College. Campanaro’s 16 catches covered a total of 123 yards, and the redshirt junior was also responsible for three touchdowns on the afternoon. Campanaro is now first in the conference in receptions per game (8.6).
Defensive Player of the Week: Georgia Tech LB Jeremiah Attaochu
Playing against a depleted Maryland offense, Attaochu tallied three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on Saturday. With his stellar performance against the Terrapins, Attaochu is now tied for fifth in the conference with five sacks.
Next Week’s Game of the Week: Florida State at Virginia Tech (Thursday)