The second weekend of the season wasn’t always pretty for the ACC — in fact, it often wasn’t — but the end result was much better than a week ago.
ACC teams went 8-1 against nonconference competition on Saturday, a significant improvement over last weekend’s 4-6 showing. Virginia Tech, N.C. State and Boston College easily took care of business. Duke — yes, Duke — scored a 35-19 win on the road against Army.
Still, the line between 8-1 and 4-5 was thin:
- North Carolina needed a safety on a holding call in the end zone with 1:32 left to beat Connecticut.
- Wake Forest got a quarterback sneak with 2 seconds left to complete a 14-point comeback against Stanford.
- Maryland went to overtime to beat I-AA James Madison at home.
- Florida State survived another I-AA team, Jacksonville State, by scoring two touchdowns in the last 35 seconds of a 19-9 home win.
What should have been the only real nonconference test for an ACC team was Virginia’s home game against No. 16 TCU. The Cavaliers lost 30-14. Next week should reveal a lot more about the quality of the conference.
Game of the Week
Georgia Tech 30, Clemson 27. Once again, the only conference game on the schedule was the highlight of the week. The Yellow Jackets looked every bit like a conference title contender in racing to a 24-0 lead. They looked like a pretender after allowing the Tigers to score 27 unanswered points. The Jackets ultimately rebounded with two field goals in the final 5:40 to get a win they’ll need in the tough Coastal Division race. But the game might have proven more about the Tigers, who fought back against ranked team on the road instead of just folding when they fell behind early.
Player of the Week
Scott Blair, Georgia Tech. In addition to kicking the tying and winning field goals, Blair threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on a fake field goal in the first quarter. That’s as many touchdown passes as QB Josh Nesbitt has thrown in Tech’s first two games.
Team on the Rise
Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons 24-17 come-from-behind win might be the best nonconference showing for an ACC team so far. QB Riley Skinner looked more like what everyone has come to expect from him, completing 8 of 9 passes for 92 yards in the fourth quarter.
Team on the Decline
Florida State. Forget that the Seminoles were playing in a short week. Forget that the opposing quarterback, Ryan Perrilloux, was on LSU’s BCS national championship team two years ago. Forget that they won. Florida State should not have needed to snatch victory from the jaws of the most embarrassing defeat in school history.
- Maryland sure tried hard to keep the ACC’s losing streak against I-AA Colonial Athletic Association teams alive. Mercifully, the streak ended at two.
- Coastal Division 2, Atlantic Division 0.
- Nesbitt completed almost as many passes to his own team (3) as Clemson S DeAndre McDaniel (2). The Jackets better hope they don’t have to come from behind too often this year.
- Through two games, FSU freshman K Dustin Hopkins is 2 for 3 on field goals (all from longer than 40 yards) but 3 for 6 on extra points. Hopkins needs to learn to make the chip shots, or he’s going to cost the Seminoles a game at some point.
- How about Duke CB Leon Wright returning interceptions for touchdowns on back-to-back plays to clinch the Blue Devils’ win against Army?
- Glad to see N.C. State’s offense back in form, even if it was against Murray State.