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ACC Weekend Recap

By Carlos Pineda
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For the second straight week, the ACC finds itself with three teams ranked in the top ten.

Game of the Week

No. 5 Florida State 51, No. 3 Clemson 14 — This weekend was an important one for the livelihood of the Atlantic Coast Conference with Florida State and Clemson squaring off before a national television audience.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, the majority of the 83,428 in attendance in Death Valley couldn't stop the Seminoles from putting a beatdown on the home team.

It all started with a forced fumble from Lamarcus Joyner on the first play of the game which ended when Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston connected with receiver Kelvin Benjamin on a 22-yard touchdown to silence the sold out crowd. The Seminoles never trailed in this game and played like a legitimate national title contender.

Winston was a cool customer Saturday night, completing 22 passes for 444 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing score. If he wasn't a serious Heisman candidate before, there's no doubt he should be a hopeful now. The Seminoles averaged an astounding 20.2 yards per completion against a Clemson defense that gave up too much of a cushion each play.

Receiver Rashad Greene racked up 146 yards, including a 72-yard score that gave FSU a 24-7 lead in the second quarter, and tight end Nick O'Leary bulldozed his way to 161 receiving yards.

Florida State's defense took Clemson out of the game on the very first play. The Tigers were held to 326 total yards of offense and turned the ball over four times. Senior quarterback Tajh Boyd passed for 156 yards and threw two interceptions in a game that he never had control over. He was also sacked four times and fumbled once.

You could say the game ended when Joyner sacked Boyd and forced a fumble late in the first quarter. Mario Edwards scooped up the ball and returned it 37 yards put the Seminoles up 17-0. Despite Sammy Watkins' 127 all-purpose yards, the Tigers never really threatened Florida State.

The 37-point victory broke a five-game losing streak at Memorial Stadium.

Post-Game Reaction

— On cue, the Miami Hurricanes yet again struggled at Kenan Memorial Stadium. It's become a nightmare of a setting, but unlike in 2004 when an undefeated and fourth-ranked Hurricanes team suffered a shocking loss, this squad responded despite playing poorly for much of the game and getting nicked up. With star running back Duke Johnson injured, Dallas Crawford assumed the role and guided UM's sluggish offense with a career performance. He rushed for 137 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 16 seconds remaining in the game. The Hurricanes survived a near-upset as the defense kept this team in the game.

— The Duke Blue Devils had the wildest comeback of the weekend. They trailed by 22 but managed to put up 35 straight points in a 35-22 win over Virginia. Returning quarterback Anthony Boone threw two touchdown passes and Duke converted four fourth-down plays in the second half to stay within a game of being bowl eligible.

— The Wake Forest Demon Deacons took a 21-point lead into halftime and eventually knocked out Maryland 34-10. Quarterback Tanner Price scored on a run, a pass and a reception. He also completed 26 of 36 attempts for 231 yards in Wake's second straight ACC win. Receiver Michael Campanaro had 11 catches for 122 yards and even threw a touchdown pass in the win. The Terrapins turned the ball over three times in the game.

— Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee passed for 88 yards and rushed for 72 yards with three total scores as the Yellow Jackets took out three games of frustration on Syracuse with a 56-0 win. The GT rushing attack had 394 rushing yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground.

— The AP Top 25 poll was released today and the ACC still had three teams ranked in the top 10. Florida State moved up to third and received two first place votes for its dominating win at Clemson. Miami moved up three spots to No. 7 and Clemson dropped to nine after its first loss of the season. Virginia Tech moved up three spots to 16th in the polls.

Looking Ahead

It's easy to get ahead of ourselves to a game two weeks from now in Tallahassee on Nov. 2, but before another potential matchup of unbeaten teams in the ACC, both Miami and Florida State must get past Wake Forest and N.C. State respectively.

Here's a look at next week's schedule:

Wake Forest at Miami, ESPNU, Noon ET

Georgia Tech at Virginia, ACC Network, 12:30 p.m. ET

Pitt at Navy, CBS Sports Network, 1 p.m. ET

Clemson at Maryland, ABC/ESPN or ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET

N.C. State at Florida State, ABC/ESPN or ESPN2, 3:30 p.m. ET

Duke at Virginia Tech, ESPNU, 3:30 p.m. ET

Boston College at North Carolina, Regional Sports Networks, 3:30 p.m. ET

Carlos Pineda - Carlos Pineda is a featured writer for Southern Pigskin. He covered the UCF Knights football team for Florida Today in 2010. Carlos' work has been published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Business Journal. He attended the University of Central Florida. Follow Carlos on Twitter @CarlosFPineda.