Tag:ACC Football
Posted on: November 14, 2010 12:52 am
Edited on: November 14, 2010 12:57 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Nov. 13)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1.  Seminole redemption is sweet - Wow. What a finish for Florida State. After getting bullied around the field for three quarters, a Florida State interception completely turned all of the momentum in Tallahassee. Clemson was completely dictating the game thanks to the play of Jamie Harper, who finished the game with 143 yards rushing and 54 yards receiving. But as Florida State's defense continued to keep the Tigers out of the end zone in the second half, the offense could not get anything going. Finally, quarterback E.J. Manuel started taking over in the fourth quarter thanks to a potent option attack that delivered the first touchdown drive of the game. But nothing was sweeter than the redemption for kicker Dustin Hopkins. Hopkins missed a game-winning field goal at home a week ago against North Carolina, but absolutely crushed his 55-yard attempt against Clemson as time expired.

2. Clarity will not come this week in the Atlantic - A week ago, the ACC Atlantic Division got flipped upside down with Maryland, Florida State, and N.C. State all dropping games when they had an opportunity to seize the lead in the standings. On Saturday, all three squads shared the same fate again, though this one had a happier ending for the contenders. But with none of the three teams losing, the division is still up for grabs between the Seminoles, Wolfpack, and Terrapins. The team with the most control over the situation is Maryland, who plays the Seminoles and Wolfpack at home for their final two games of the season. N.C. State owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Florida State, so the Seminoles will need help from the Terrapins and/or North Carolina in order avoid losing the division to the Wolfpack.

3. A strong running game will ease the pressure on a young QB - With Jacory Harris out due to the concussion suffered against Virginia, Miami turned to freshman quarterback Stephen Morris once again to lead the Hurricanes. The greatest thing a young quarterback can have is a good running game, and Morris benefited from one of the best on Saturday. Damien Berry and Lamar Miller both missed practice at the beginning of the week, but showed no signs of being slowed against the Yellow Jackets. Berry, Miller and Mike James combined for 218 yards on 36 rushes to lead Miami in the 35-10 win.

4. All VT does is win - Most of the nation tried to throw away the Hokies after a widely-publicized 0-2 start. But all Frank Beamer has done since joining the ACC is dominate in conference play, and that doesn't appear to be stopping anytime soon. Since joining the conference in 2004, Virginia Tech has a 45-11 conference record with three conference championships on the mantle. The Hokies have matured and gotten stronger as the season has progressed, and despite dealing with injury issues on both sides of the ball, played one of their most complete games of the season against North Carolina. At 6-0, Virginia Tech has nearly clinched their fourth division title. They still need to defeat Miami in Coral Gables to clinch it, but the win in Chapel Hill may have been enough to lock it up eventually.

5. Yates exposed by Hokies secondary - After being the subject of much criticism for the last two seasons, senior quarterback T.J. Yates entered Saturday's game in the midst of one of strongest statistical seasons in recent history at North Carolina. Yates has also been etching himself into Tar Heels history, setting a school record with 439 passing yards against Florida State last week, the first North Carolina win in Tallahassee. Yates also became the school's career leader for pass completions against Virginia Tech. But it was a few of those incompletions that spoiled Yates' strong statistical start. Entering the game with 15 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, Yates failed to throw a touchdown and tossed four interceptions against the Hokies. One game does not spoil Yates strong 2010 campaign, but it was a credit to the Hokies defense that refused to let North Carolina receivers get open downfield. Only three of Yates' 18 completions were to wide receivers, with the senior being forced to check down virtually all day against the stiff Virginia Tech defense.

Posted on: November 11, 2010 12:40 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2010 12:42 pm
 

Expect multiple QBs from Georgia Tech this week

Posted by Chip Patterson

When first-team all-conference quarterback Josh Nesbitt left the Virginia Tech game with a broken arm, head coach Paul Johnson was forced to do something he had not done since he arrived at Georgia Tech: name a different starting quarterback.  Nesbitt saw significant time as a freshman under Chan Gailey, but has been Johnson's starter since he arrived in Atlanta three seasons ago.  Now with the starting job vacant, Johnson has taken the opportunity to entertain competition for the spot.

Tevin Washington did string together one impressive scoring drive late in the first quarter, leading the Yellow Jackets 80 yards in 9 plays to tie the game at 21 with 2:34 remaining.  Washington ran for 45 yards in the second half, but at times looked undersized for the Georgia Tech offense.  Johnson has been particularly impressed with the work of backup quarterback David Sims this week in practice.

“David Sims has had a good week; he’s practiced well, too,” Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “We’ll play it by feel. I’ll tell you, he’s played well in practice this week, made a case for himself.”

With Sims increased workload in practice, do not be surprised to see Georgia Tech utilize both quarterbacks against the talented Miami defense.  Standing six feet tall and weighing in at 230 pounds, Sims' physical running style is much more similar to that of Nesbitt.  He lacks the arm of Washington (he did not throw a pass in either of his two appearances thus far in 2010), but will be more useful as a threat on short-yardage situations.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 11:52 am
Edited on: November 11, 2010 11:56 am
 

Miami getting healthy at RB in time for GT

Posted by Chip Patterson

Earlier this week, it looked as though Miami might be missing the team's top two rushers for Saturday's crucial division matchup with Georgia Tech.  Hurricanes fans got good news on Wednesday, with both Damien Berry and Lamar Miller back fully participating in practice.  Miller sat out Tuesday with a stomach virus, and Berry hasn't practiced since injuring his leg against Virginia on October 30.  

"To me, he looked like he's 100 percent, like he's ready to go this week," Miller said of Berry after practice.

The news of getting more than half of the season rushing production back on the field for Saturday gives the Hurricanes offense a lift heading into Atlanta.  The thought of entering the game without Berry, Miller, or starting quarterback Jacory Harris made Miami's ACC Championship Game chances look bleak.  A Miami loss with a Virginia Tech win would eliminate the Hurricanes from contention for the ACC Coastal Division title.  Miami needs to stay alive in the hunt until November 20, when the Hokies visit Coral Gables.  

Even if the the Hurricanes do defeat Virginia Tech, they will still need some help from North Carolina or Virginia in order to win the division in a tie-breaker, not to mention taking care of business this week against the Yellow Jackets.  With Stephen Morris under center for his second career start, first on the road, getting Berry and Miller back in the lineup will ease the pressure on the true freshman.          


Posted on: November 8, 2010 9:53 am
Edited on: November 8, 2010 4:25 pm
 

The ACC Atlantic is 128 kinds of crazy

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sitting down this morning, I figured I might start the week off by trying to sort through the ever-muddled ACC Atlantic Division.  With Florida State having dropped two in a row, the division has turned into a complete toss-up between the Seminoles, N.C. State , Maryland , and to a lesser extent, Clemson .  Quickly running out of room in the legal pad, it became quickly obvious that the free-for-all in the ACC was going to be a difficult puzzle to solve.  Thankfully, we have people like Patrick Stevens at D1scourse.com .  Stevens has gone through and charted all 128 possible scenarios in the ACC Atlantic Division race.  Of the 128 scenarios, Florida State wins in the 38 of them, N.C. State in 33, Maryland takes the division in 31, and Clemson gets the nod for the ACC Championship Game in 25 of the scenarios.  Which leaves one scenario, one which Stevens has dubbed the "trainwreck" scenario :  

Suppose Florida State loses to Clemson but beats Maryland. And the Terrapins upend Virginia and N.C. State. Oh, and the Wolfpack has to beat Wake Forest and North Carolina. Finally --- and perhaps least likely --- Clemson has to lose at Wake Forest. Then again, it's Clemson, so nothing should be counted out. That creates a three-way tie at 5-3 between Florida State, Maryland and N.C. State. The group would be 1-1 against each other, and all three teams would have the same division record, losses to Clemson, wins against Boston College and Wake Forest and no common games against non-division teams.

That takes things down to step No. 7 on the eight-step tiebreaker list, which is the team with the highest ranking in the BCS standings at the end of the conference regular season --- unless the teams are within five spots of each other. Seeing as how none of the three are in the top 25 of this week's BCS standings, hilarity could ensue.

Step No. 8, by the way, is "the representative shall be chosen by a draw." Fun times.


Click here for a full chart of each scenario and the division winner.  Clemson's 25 division-winning scenarios can be wiped off the board quickly with a loss at Florida State on Saturday night, but the rest of the contenders still have at least a long-shot chance regardless of the outcome of their next contest.  How Maryland fares against Florida State and in the season-finale against N.C. State will likely determine the division winner.  Of course having those games left on the schedule is what makes a headache like the aforementioned "trainwreck" scenario possible, but it also is adding some much-needed excitement to a conference that has not had most impressive season.  ACC fans may have been disappointed with the lack of elite competition in 2010, but at least they will get a photo finish.



Posted on: November 7, 2010 9:39 am
Edited on: November 7, 2010 9:45 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Nov. 6)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Yes, Bowers is the type of the player that can alter a game -
In the second half against N.C. State, Clemson's defensive line pinned their ears back and came after Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson like a pack of wild dogs. They were led by defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, who took jumped ahead as the nation's sack leader with his 11th and 12th sack on the season. Bowers commanded much of the offensive line's attention, and the Tigers were able to force Wilson to throw several balls away, especially down the stretch. The Tigers offense tried desperately to give away Saturday's matchup with the Wolfpack, but the defense refused to let Clemson's division title hopes fizzle away completely.

2. ACC Atlantic is a game of Yahtzee! - After last week's upset of Florida State, the Atlantic Division race got flipped upside down with N.C. State, Maryland, and the Seminoles all carrying one-loss conference records into Week 10. None of the three teams were able to establish a lead on the division race on Saturday, all losing their conference contests. Now with the division leaders all having two conference losses, Clemson is back in the mix to return to the ACC Championship Game. The good news is that each team, for the most part, will get to prove their worth on the field in the final weeks of the season. Florida State faces Clemson and Maryland, N.C. State faces Maryland, Wake Forest, and North Carolina, and Clemson also travels to Winston-Salem to face the Demon Deacons. As of right now, I'm giving the edge to Florida State. The Seminoles look like they could easily handle the Terrapins, and with the schedule left that seems to be the opponent that could decide things in the division. Which of course means that Ralph Friedgen's crew COULD win the division, but the "eye-test," the "ear test," and "conventional wisdom" in general says that the Terrapins are likely not going to be competing for a BCS bowl berth in December.

3. North Carolina simply refuses to die - After the Tar Heels' 37-35 upset of Florida State on Saturday, North Carolina head coach Butch Davis appeared choked up as he spoke about the resiliency of this year's squad. After missing as many as 15 players due to suspensions and investigations, and six of those players being deemed ineligible for the year, North Carolina finds themselves bowl eligible for the third straight year under Butch Davis. Neither injuries nor suspensions have kept the Tar Heels from finding ways to win, with the entire squad buying into the "next man up" mentality. When Davis was forced to work his way down to the fourth string running back, sophomore Hunter Furr delivered three crucial rushes for 27 yards to help set up Casey Barth's game-winning field goal. There is a lot of ground between the Tar Heels and the division-leading Hokies, but Virginia Tech will be in Chapel Hill next week to try and lock up a spot in the ACC Championship Game. After seeing the product the Tar Heels put on the field in Tallahassee, that task could be more difficult than previously expected.

Posted on: November 6, 2010 4:45 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2010 4:48 pm
 

Bowers becomes sack leader in Clemson win

Posted by Chip Patterson

Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers broke out last season, catching the eye of coaches and scouts despite struggling with a knee injury.  It was speculated that when healthy, Bowers could be one of the best defensive ends in the nation.  In Saturday's 14-13 upset victory over N.C. State, Bowers continued to make his case for arguably THE best defensive end in the nation.  With his two sacks on Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson, Bowers stands alone as the nation's sack leader with 12 on the season.

The efforts of Clemson's defense were crucial in the second half against N.C. State, keeping Wilson and the rest of the offense out of the end zone in the final three quarters.  Neither offense flashy, particularly in the second half, and both teams combined for five turnovers.  Wolfpack fans will head coach Tom O'Brien's decision to punt on 4th and 1 following Clemson's go-ahead touchdown with 6:18 remaining.  By the time the Wolfpack got the ball back on their own 15, there were no more timeouts and Clemson was able to send Bowers and the rest of the Clemson defensive line right at Wilson, frustrating the star quarterback and forcing several incompletions.  

Bowers, as he does each week, dedicated the game to the memory of his father and former Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams.  His father passed away in early August and Adams, the Clemson's career sack leader with 28, died tragically in January from a cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart.  With 16 career sacks, Bowers would likely need to return for his senior season to chase Adams' record.  But with more performances like Saturday, I believe the opportunities at the next level will be difficult to turn down.
Posted on: November 5, 2010 3:59 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 4:04 pm
 

Virginia Tech loses WR for season after surgery

Posted by Chip Patterson

Georgia Tech wasn't the only team to lose a player for the season in Thursday night's Coastal Division battle in Blacksburg.  Virginia Tech wide receiver/kick returner Dyrell Roberts suffered a bruised thigh on the first kickoff return in the 28-21 victory over the Yellow Jackets.  Roberts returned to the game briefly, but missed most of the second half.  On Friday morning Roberts underwent emergency surgery after developing a compartment syndrome in his left thigh, according to head athletic trainer Mike Goforth.  He is expected to miss the rest of the regular season in recovery, but Goforth did not rule out a return for the Hokies bowl game.

I had to google "compartment syndrome" myself, and it looks incredibly painful.  Roberts' injury is certainly not good news for a Hokies offense that has dealt with health issues all year, but what if he had been healthy and David Wilson had not gotten to return the last Georgia Tech kickoff.  Would Roberts have also run the kick back for the winning touchdown?  Roberts has 21 catches for 303 yards and two touchdowns on the season, and is averaging 19.4 yards per return in the kicking game.  Virginia Tech, now 5-0 in the conference, have created a healthy amount of space from the rest of the division and are a few games away from securing their spot in the ACC Championship Game.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 9:32 pm
 

Nesbitt out, but GT leads Virginia Tech 14-7

Posted by Chip Patterson

This Coastal Division showdown between perennial conference powers has already been as eventful as expected, and we are only done with 30 minutes of play.  Georgia Tech jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead thanks to two Josh Nesbitt touchdowns, one for 71 yards.  Georgia Tech's defense and special teams served up their own version of "Beamer Ball," forcing Virginia Tech into two turnovers in the first half.  But Nesbitt's heroics were short lived when he threw an interception in the end zone when Georgia Tech was threatening to claim a 21-7 lead.  Nesbitt got injured trying to make a tackle on the interception return.  He went to the locker room and at halftime was declared out for the game.    
 
 
 
 
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