Week 1 was filled with introductions in the ACC, as several fan bases got acquainted with first-year starting quarterbacks. Vad Lee led Georgia Tech to a 70-0 romp over Elon, Drew Allen was named the starter at Syracuse, NC State’s Brandon Mitchell played well until he injured his foot, and the Anthony Boone era officially began at Duke. None of them, though, made the kind of splash Florida State’s Jameis Winston did in the Noles’ season opener against Pitt.
Winston completed 25-of-27 for 356 yards with four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in the 41-13 win. He set the school’s completion percentage record and record for passing yards by a freshman in his first start.
Even Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher conceded he’d never seen anything like it.
“For a first game, I haven’t seen [a performance] of that caliber,” he said, “there’s no doubt.”
For the most part, ACC coaches were pleased with what they saw from their rookies -- or in Pitt’s case, their veteran. Senior Tom Savage hadn’t taken a snap in over two years before he lined up against the Noles at Heinz Field. He completed 15 of 28 passes for 201 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
“He was enjoying playing again,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. “When you sit out that long, sometimes you see it with older guys who get their first start. All of those plays are really appreciated. He was a guy who truly enjoyed playing football again. I loved his demeanor throughout the whole game, when something good happened or something bad happened.”
There was bad news in Raleigh, where Mitchell broke his foot after just three series in the first quarter. The Pack will now turn to Pete Thomas heading into Saturday’s game against Richmond. Thomas replaced Mitchell in the 41-14 win over Louisiana Tech and threw for 212 yards on 15 of 27 passing. NC State coach Dave Doeren said the coaches are going to have to be “a little more creative” with their running game because Thomas isn’t as mobile, but that Thomas doesn’t have to be a superhero to win games.
“We need him not to beat us,” Doeren said. “Just distribute the ball to the right people. Don’t try to win the game, just don’t lose it. That’s something quarterbacks can try to make too many plays when they don’t really have to. … Pete can do that. We’re looking forward to seeing him take this opportunity and do something with it.”
Doeren said the staff is trying to redshirt backup quarterback Manny Stocker, and that Stocker’s playing time last year “was premature for his growth as a player.”
“I just think a year going against our starting defense as the scout team quarterback will really benefit him,” Doeren said.
There was a lot of hype and anticipation amongst Syracuse fans about transfer quarterback Drew Allen, but the Orange’s offense looked flat in the 23-17 loss to Penn State. Christian Hackenberg, the Nittany Lions’ freshman quarterback, stole the show, while Allen threw two interceptions and no touchdowns.
“If you just look at the stat sheet, you say, ‘boy, we wish we could’ve done better,’” Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said. “But big picture, I was real pleased with the way Drew played. The things I was most pleased with, he never really was flustered on the sideline. I thought he had good control and command. He kept working towards making the next play go, and we had a few dropped balls in there and a couple of missed routes by the supporting cast, but I liked the way he worked through those situations. I’m looking forward to seeing him getting his second start this weekend against Northwestern.”
More news and notes from around the ACC …
Randy Edsall’s money quote: Maryland coach Randy Edsall was asked on Wednesday’s ACC teleconference how much he concerns himself with the school’s financial struggles and what his role is in trying to raise attendance and sponorships. “That’s somebody else’s job to worry about the financial problems,” he said. “I wasn’t the one that got them into those problems.” Talk about passing the buck.
‘Camp’ starts: Wake Forest standout receiver Michael Campanaro missed last week’s season opener against Presbyterian with a sore hamstring, but coach Jim Grobe said his top playmaker will be ready to go at Boston College on Friday, the first league game for both schools. “I think Camp could’ve played last week,” Grobe said. “He’s been having problems with his hamstring since our third scrimmage. He didn’t have a pulled hamstring, but it tightened up and it was sore, and he didn’t practice much in the week leading up to the opener. We just felt like it would be not in his best interest and ours to try and play him against Presbyterian, but he’s full speed again, and he should be fine against Boston College.”
High praise for Ducks: Virginia coach Mike London knows his defense will have its hands full against No. 2 Oregon -- twofold. “If you get tired enough, you can see double of everything,” London said. “They are as good as advertised.”
VT RB on the mend: Injured Virginia Tech running back J.C. Coleman (sprained ankles) didn’t make the trip to Alabama, but coach Frank Beamer said Coleman is on the mend for Saturday’s game against Western Carolina. “I think today is an important practice for J.C. He’s back, but exactly how far back he is, I think we need to see yet. He did some things very well yesterday, but today we’ll see exactly where he is.”
No seats in Sun Life: Miami coach Al Golden said he’s not sure how many recruits will attend Saturday’s home game against Florida, but that “it’s a who’s who from what I understand.” In order to accommodate the expected crowd, Golden said 2,000 seats have been added to Sun Life Stadium. “There’s no seats left for anybody,” he said. “We’re running out of seats for former players, high school coaches, recruits, all the way down the line. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
James Wilder Jr. day-to-day: Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said Wilder injured his shoulder in Monday night’s win over Pitt, but that it’s not serious. “He’s doing fine,” Fisher said. “He’ll be day-to-day. He’s got a banged up shoulder, but nothing very serious. Give it a little bit of rest, and I think he’ll be fine.”