One of the great philosophers of our time is fond of saying, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man!” After thoroughly dismantling upstart Miami 31-7, Virginia Tech has proven it’s still the man … er, team to beat … in the ACC.
The Hurricanes were the team everyone, including this guy, was talking about in the run up to Saturday’s showdown. A win over VT would have given the ‘Canes victories over the three best teams on their conference schedule and put them into position to run away with the Coastal Division. Instead, the Hokies reminded everyone why they’ve been kings of the ACC ever since they joined the conference.
The game was vintage Beamerball. DB Dorian Porch sacked Miami QB Jacory Harris on the ‘Canes first possession and forced him to fumble at his own 11, setting up the Hokies’ first touchdown. With the score 14-0 in the second quarter, Jacob Sykes blocked a punt that Matt Reidy recovered and walked into the end zone. The offense rushed for 272 yards, and the defense harassed Harris all day, something Florida State and Georgia Tech couldn’t do.
Between VT’s win and Georgia Tech’s 24-7 victory over North Carolina, the Coastal Division looks like it’s going to stay a four-team race for a while. But until someone knocks them off, the Hokies are still “the man.”
Game of the Week
Boston College 27, Wake Forest 24 (OT). N.C. State’s 38-31 win over Pittsburgh was a good one, too, but this game gets the edge because it had an impact on the ACC standings. Wake QB Riley Skinner threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:44 of regulation to tie the game at 24. But after Steve Aponavicius kicked a 23-yard field goal to put the Eagles ahead, Isaac Johnson forced Skinner to fumble on first and goal from the 3, and Wes Davis recovered to end the game.
Player of the Week
Russell Wilson, N.C. State. Yes, we’re homers, but who in the ACC had a better game this weekend? Wilson threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for another 91 yards on 10 carries and led the Wolfpack to 21 unanswered points for the comeback win. Oh, by the way, the interception-free streak is at 364 attempts and counting.
Team(s) on the Rise
The Techs. See above for Virginia Tech. Maybe all Georgia Tech needed to get back on track was a couple of extra days off. The Jackets basically toyed with UNC, rushing for 317 yards and holding the ball for more than 42 minutes.
Team on the Decline
Miami. The ‘Canes, who have topped our Power Rankings for three straight weeks, have nowhere to go but down after the loss in Blacksburg. Unlike some other teams that could have gone in this spot — I’m looking at you, Florida State — Miami will undoubtedly be a mainstay near the top of the conference for the rest of the season.
- Outside of the two big Coastal Division matchups, it was another rough week for the ACC. Maryland got embarrassed again, this time 34-13 by Rutgers. Clemson couldn’t quite pull off an upset against No. 15 TCU. And then there was Florida State. Playing in front of the 1999 national championship team, the Seminoles lost 17-7 to South Florida, which just last week lost its four-year starting quarterback for the season with a knee injury. Did I mention all three were playing at home?
- The rumors of FSU’s return to relevance appear to have been greatly exaggerated. I’ve given up trying to figure out the Seminoles until they break out of this alternating good game-bad game pattern.
- Virginia Tech has some frightening depth at running back. Before the season started, everyone wondered how the Hokies would replace Darren Evans, a 1,000-yard rusher last season. All freshman Ryan Williams has done is run for 100 yards in three straight games, including 150 on 34 carries Saturday. Sophomore Josh Oglesby had a couple of impressive runs on Saturday, too, and freshman David Wilson has been described as a cross between Reggie Bush, Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow.
- After missing most of the Miami game with a shoulder injury, GT’s Jonathan Dwyer needed only 19 carries to get 158 yards. That’s what the reigning ACC Player of the Year is supposed to look like.
- Boston College may have finally found its quarterback in Dave Shinskie, who threw for three touchdowns and took nearly all the snaps Saturday.
- Toward the end of the Chuck Amato era, N.C. State seemed a little too satisfied sometimes after a big win. Tom O’Brien is intent on making sure that doesn’t happen.