Wednesday, September 5, 2012
ACC upset watch: Week 2
By Heather Dinich
I was shocked -- shocked I tell you -- that none of the teams on last week’s Upset Watch fell. Usually there’s at least one surprise in the ACC every week, but the conference pretty much stuck to the script, with Virginia Tech, Clemson and Maryland all winning. (I remind you the upset watch is not a list of predictions, rather it is a look at the teams with the best chance to be upset or cause one). With four FCS schools, one MAC school and two Big East schools on the schedule this week, there should be no reason for concern this week … right?
Here’s your Week 2 upset watch (and no, a Temple win against Maryland is no longer considered an upset. It’s expected):
1. NC State at Connecticut: The Wolfpack is notorious for its slow starts and strong finishes under coach Tom O’Brien. Was the loss to Tennessee an anomaly, or was it the continuation of that trend? We’ll find out when the Pack travels to Storrs, Conn. NC State had four turnovers on Friday, and Connecticut beat Massachusetts, 37-0. UConn linebacker Yawin Smallwood had seven tackles, including 3.5 for lost yardage, as the Huskies limited UMass to 59 total yards. Connecticut is one of the better teams in the Big East, but it’s still a game NC State should win.
2. Duke at Stanford: Considering the way Stanford played in its 20-17 win against San Jose State, Duke’s biggest obstacle might be the cross-country travel and 10:30 p.m. ET kick. The Blue Devils are confident after their 46-26 win against FIU last week. Duke receiver Conner Vernon became the school’s career leader in receptions last week with 208, and linebacker Austin Gamble had 11 tackles, a forced fumble and blocked kick.
3. Miami at No. 21 Kansas State: This is going to be an uphill battle for a team that played 12 true freshmen in its road win against Boston College, but that’s the point -- the Canes managed to win their ACC opener on the road with such a young team. It’s brimming with potential, but Kansas State is a better team than Boston College. Miami will need to improve quickly to pull this off. Watch the running backs in this game, as Miami freshman Duke Johnson scored on touchdown runs of 54 and 56 yards against Boston College, and Kansas State running back John Hubert rushed for 152 yards on 12 carries vs. Missouri State.