Sunday, September 9, 2012
What we learned in the ACC: Week 2
By Andrea Adelson
What did we learn in the ACC in Week 2?
1. The Clemson offense is rolling. Clemson has now rolled up more than 500 yards in total offense in back-to-back games to open the season, the first time that has happened since at least 1980. Clemson scored 45 points in the first half on Saturday, its highest first-half output since scoring 49 against Wake Forest in 1981. Tajh Boyd and DeAndre Hopkins have been playing pitch and catch like they are in their backyard -- they connected for three touchdowns against Ball State. The rebuilt offensive line looks way, way ahead of schedule. Andre Ellington has proved his worth. Now imagine what happens when Sammy Watkins returns this week.
Andre Ellington (23) and Tajh Boyd (10) have the Clemson offense humming.
2. Watch out for Wake. If there is one thing folks in the ACC have come to realize, it is that Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe continually does more with less. After a lackluster win over Liberty last week, not many people gave Wake a chance to beat North Carolina, which racked up 62 points in a win over Elon in Week 1. Wake Forest went into the game as double-digit underdogs at home. But Tanner Price and Michael Campanaro carved up the North Carolina secondary, and the Tar Heels failed to capitalize on several red zone chances. Consider Wake lost another offensive lineman and nose guard Nikita Whitlock in the game and still won. What does this say about North Carolina? Well, it's a reminder once again not to put too much stock into eye-popping stats against FCS teams.
3. Not quite ready for prime time. Duke and Miami each posted impressive-looking wins in Week 1. The Blue Devils made plays in all three phases in a convincing win over FIU; Miami showed moxie in a comeback win over Boston College. But they came crashing right back to Earth in Week 2, as they suffered major road losses that did nothing to improve their image. Miami was essentially out of the game at No. 21 Kansas State after the first quarter; and Duke was essentially out of the game at No. 25 Stanford after the first quarter. While they were both road underdogs, there is no excuse for each team giving up 50 points and never being competitive. These were the only two nonconference losses for the ACC on the weekend.
4. Maryland is 2-0. I repeat: Maryland is 2-0. Give yourself a helmet sticker if you had Maryland equaling its win total from a year ago after TWO GAMES. What is astounding, aside from the fact that Maryland is playing in the neighborhood of 14 freshmen, is this team has committed eight turnovers in two games and is still undefeated. The Terps survived a furious Temple comeback to win for the first time on the road since November 2010. All of a sudden, next week's game against UConn in the "Edsall Bowl" looks winnable, and Maryland could be sitting at 3-0 in what would be the most improbable storyline in the early ACC season.
5. What do we really know about Virginia, NC State and Florida State? Virginia and NC State won ugly on Saturday without any help at all from their running games. NC State had 54 yards on the ground in a 10-7 win over UConn that even had Wolfpack fans grumbling about a lack of offense; and Virginia averaged 1.3 yards on the ground to barely beat a Penn State team that lost to Ohio at home in Week 1. Both have left much to be desired through two weeks. As for Florida State, the Seminoles have beaten up on two FCS opponents and haven't been tested. Their highly talked about game against Savannah State was called at 55-0 because of bad weather. Jimbo Fisher pulled his starters after a quarter. Virginia and Florida State each play ACC games in Week 3, so we should definitely know more about them at this time next week.