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Friday, August 30, 2013
ACC Week 1: Did you know?

By David M. Hale

A few bits of news and trivia for Week 1 of the ACC season, courtesy of the conference's sports information staffs and ESPN's Stats and Information department.

BOSTON COLLEGE: Junior Spiffy Evans returned 11 punts last year for 278 yards -- an average of 25.3 yards per return. That total would've led the nation, had he had enough attempts to qualify.

CLEMSON: While Sammy Watkins certainly appeared to take a big step back in his sophomore season (25 fewer catches, 511 fewer receiving yards), there was room for optimism. Watkins caught a higher percentage of his targets (72 percent, up from 67 percent in 2011) and managed the same percentage of yards after the catch (60 percent).

DUKE: Offensive tackle Perry Simmons will make his 38th consecutive start when the Blue Devils take on NC Central. That's the longest active streak among ACC players.

FLORIDA STATE: The Seminoles' secondary ranked as the No. 1 passing defense in the nation last year in yards per game, fewest plays of 15 yards or more, and opponent-adjusted Total QBR. None of FSU's 14 opponents in 2012 managed a Total QBR of better than 50, the national average.

GEORGIA TECH: Senior defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu is fourth among all active NCAA players in career sacks with 19. He needs 12.5 more this season to set Tech's school record.

MARYLAND: The Terps' defense recorded 28 sacks last season, but players returning for 2013 accounted for just 4.5 of them. Jeremiah Johnson and Darius Kilgo lead the way with 1.5 each.

MIAMI: During the Hurricanes’ last four games of 2012, Duke Johnson tallied 1,003 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns, while QB Stephen Morris completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,131 yards and a sterling 11-to-0 ratio of TDs to INTs.

NC STATE: The Wolfpack lost three former All-ACC defensive backs from a unit that ranked 85th nationally in passing defense last season. That's a potential problem given their Week 1 opponent. Louisiana Tech finished 2012 as the third-most prolific passing attack in the country.

PITTSBURGH: The Panthers allowed the 13th-most sacks in FBS last season (38), with its quarterbacks sacked on nearly 9 percent of their passing attempts. New starter Tom Savage, a Rutgers transfer, isn't likely to help. In two years as a starter for the Scarlet Knights (2009-10), he was sacked on 11.8 percent of his attempts, the second-most in the nation during that span.

SYRACUSE: The Orange set school records for passing offense, completions and passing TDs last year behind senior QB Ryan Nassib. He's gone for 2013, but his younger brother, Carl, will line up at defensive end for this week's opponent, Penn State.

VIRGINIA: UVA is excited about new starting quarterback David Watford, who redshirted in 2012. But it's been a major shakeup for the Cavaliers at the position. Virginia is one of just five FBS schools that does not have a quarterback on its 2013 roster that appeared in any 2012 games.

VIRGINIA TECH: Of all of Logan Thomas' passing attempts in 2012, 45 percent came against the blitz. On those throws, he had two TD passes and six INTs. On all other passing attempts, he had 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.