Tuesday, September 15, 2009
On tap this week in the ACC
By Heather Dinich
Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
In last week's mailbag, one reader asked me to compile a list of the games each week for one-stop shopping on what's going on in the conference. No problem.
Here’s a look at what’s on tap this week in the ACC:
Thurs., Sept. 17
No. 14 Georgia Tech (2-0) at No. 20 Miami (1-0) (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Sat., Sept. 19
- The series: Georgia Tech leads, 10-4-0.
- Last time: Georgia Tech won 41-23 in 2008.
- At stake: The lead in the Coastal Division.
- Of note: If Miami wins, it would be the Canes’ second win over a ranked opponent this season, improving their record to 2-0 in league play and give Randy Shannon his third straight victory in a home opener. Georgia Tech has won its first road game of the season in each of the past five seasons. Miami (476 yards per game) and Georgia Tech (457.5 ypg) are combining for more than 900 yards of total offense per game. The Hurricanes and Yellow Jackets rank first and second, respectively, in the ACC in total offense.
Boston College (2-0) at Clemson (1-1) (Raycom, noon)
Duke (1-1) at No. 22 Kansas (2-0) (Versus, noon)
- The series: Tied at 8-8-2.
- Last time: Clemson won 27-20 in 2008. It was the Tigers’ first win over BC in six tries.
- At stake: The lead in the Atlantic Division and the O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy, which began last year and has been sitting in coach Dabo Swinney’s office ever since. The trophy features a leather helmet replica of those used by Charlie O’Rourke of Boston College and Banks McFadden of Clemson, when they competed against each other in the 1940 Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
- Of note: Saturday is the 67th anniversary of the first game in the history of Clemson Memorial Stadium. The facility was built between 1941 and 1942. Clemson players and coaches, led by Frank Howard, laid the sod by July 15, 1942. BC true freshman linebacker Luke Kuechly has 11 tackles, 2.5 for loss and a fumble recovery in his first two collegiate games.
East Carolina (1-1) at No. 24 North Carolina (2-0) (ESPN2, 12 p.m. ET)
- The series: First meeting.
- At stake: This is a chance for Duke to get recognized nationally for the progress it’s made under coach David Cutcliffe.
- Of note: Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis needs five touchdown passes to match Ben Bennett’s school record of 55 career touchdown passes.
No. 19 Nebraska (2-0) at No. 13 Virginia Tech (1-1) (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m. ET)
- The series: UNC leads, 8-2-1.
- Last time: East Carolina won, 34-31, in 2007.
- At stake: An upset. ECU knocked off Virginia Tech last year, 27-22, and returns star quarterback Patrick Pinkney, who threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns in his first start, a 2007 win over the Heels.
- Of note: UNC has not been 3-0 since starting with eight consecutive victories in 1997. Carolina opponents have converted just 4 of 29 third-down attempts this season.
Middle Tennessee (1-1) at Maryland (1-1) (ESPN360.com, 3:30 p.m. ET)
- The series: Tied at 1-1-0.
- Last time: Virginia Tech won, 35-30, in 2008.
- At stake: Virginia Tech’s place among the top 15 teams in the country. A home loss to the Huskers would likely bump the Hokies down a few notches in the Associated Press Top 25, and in turn decrease their stature this season on a national level.
- Of note: The Hokies have won 31 straight home games against nonconference opponents. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor needs just 4 yards to move past Michael Vick for third place in career rushing yards by a Tech quarterback.
Virginia (0-2) at Southern Miss (2-0) (CBSCS 3:30 p.m.)
- The series: Maryland leads, 2-1-0.
- Last time: Middle Tennessee won, 24-14, 2008.
- At stake: An embarrassing home loss to a team that beat Maryland a year ago on the road.
- Of note: The Terps have won eight of their past nine home games, dating back to 2007, and are 4-1 against teams in the Sun Belt Conference. Over the last four games, Torrey Smith has averaged 209.5 all-purpose yards.
Gardner-Webb (2-0) at NC State (1-1) (theacc.com, 6 p.m.)
- The series: First meeting.
- At stake: Al Groh’s job. This is the Cavaliers’ first road trip of the season, and after a bye week, they’ll head to North Carolina, staring down a possible 0-4 start.
- Of note: It’s the first time the Golden Eagles have started the season 2-0 since 2004. Virginia is 0-2 for the first time since 2002, but that year it won six in a row to finish 9-5.
Elon (2-0) at Wake Forest (1-1), (theacc.com, 6:30 p.m.)
- The series: First meeting.
- At stake: NC State coach Tom O’Brien is leery of upsets, having seen what almost happened to Maryland and FSU last weekend. The Pack can’t afford a letdown before Pitt comes to town.
- Of note: Eight NC State players and eight Running Bulldogs attended the same high schools, while numerous others on each roster played against one another growing up. NC State’s 65 points against Murray State (65-7) last weekend were its highest point total since a 65-19 win over Navy in 2002.
Florida State (1-1) at No. 7 BYU (2-0) (Versus, 7 p.m.)
- The series: Wake Forest leads, 8-0-1.
- Last time: Wake Forest won, 34-0, in 1939.
- At stake: This should be a chance for Wake Forest to fine-tune any lingering issues before heading to Boston College on Sept. 26 for their first ACC game of the season.
- Of note: The Deacons have won 10 of their last 11 games against in-state opponents.
- The series: FSU leads, 2-0-0.
- Last time: FSU won, 29-3, in 2000.
- At stake: After a mistake-laden performance in a win against Jacksonville State, many -- including coach Bobby Bowden -- have questioned the direction the program is headed. This is a chance for the Noles to go on the road, redeem themselves from last weekend’s near-loss to an FCS school, and reassert themselves against a nationally ranked opponent.
- Of note: The Cougars’ defense has allowed just 16 points in opening wins over Oklahoma and Tulane. FSU has an 8-2 record on the road out west and is 4-1 against ranked opponents.