ACC: Christion Jones

ACC weekend rewind: Week 1

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
11:00
AM ET
There's one more game to go, but here's a look back at the weekend that was in the ACC:

The good: You have to start with Clemson, which came away with a signature, 38-35 home victory over favored Georgia from the SEC and has earned the early status of national title contender. The Tigers became the first non-SEC team ever to defeat consecutive top-10 SEC opponents. Tajh Boyd looked like a Heisman contender and Sammy Watkins looked like the guy everyone remembered from 2011. Dabo Swinney stressed that it was just one game, but it was certainly a major one for the ACC and its national perception.

The bad: North Carolina's offensive line played respectable against Jadeveon Clowney and the vaunted South Carolina front. But the defense surrendered too many big plays, including a 75-yard touchdown run, a 65-yard touchdown pass and a 29-yard touchdown pass. The Tar Heels scored just one touchdown in three red zone trips in their 27-10 season-opening loss.

The ugly: Beamer Ball was missing Saturday, as Virginia Tech gave up a punt return touchdown and a kickoff return touchdown to Alabama's Christion Jones. Vinnie Sunseri also notched a pick-six off Logan Thomas, whose 5-of-26 passing line was far from spectacular, too. (Honorable mention: FAU coach Carl Pelini ordering a spike on fourth down late in Friday's 34-6 loss at Miami.)

The surprise: Jim Grobe was not kidding when he said he was going to play more true freshmen this season. Wake Forest broke in nine first-year players during Thursday's 31-7 win over Presbyterian. In his previous 12 years, Grobe had only played 22 true freshmen in total. (In opponent news, Villanova's fake punt against BC has to qualify here as well.)

strong>The history: In beating Elon 70-0, Georgia Tech tied a school record for points in the modern era and set a school record for margin of victory in the modern era. The Yellow Jackets also broke the ACC record for margin of victory, and their 10 touchdowns tied a school record as well.

The delay(s): UNC and South Carolina took a nearly two-hour break Thursday because of lightning. Virginia's opener Saturday against BYU was delayed more than two hours because of bad weather, too. How bad? Just take a look at the picture BYU posted on Twitter of the flooding in the tunnels of Scott Stadium.

The unfortunate turn of events: Dave Doeren unveiled Brandon Mitchell as his quarterback choice. It looked like the right one before Mitchell suffered a foot injury that will force him to miss four to six weeks. The Arkansas transfer went 3-of-3 for 93 yards and orchestrated consecutive touchdown drives to start the game. Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas shouldered the load after Mitchell's injury.

The playmaker: Duke Johnson gets this honor after tallying three plays of 35 yards or more in the first half Friday night for Miami. Johnson looks like he won't be taken down by a sophomore slump this year, as he opened with 186 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.


No. 1 Alabama handled Virginia Tech 35-10 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta on Saturday. Here is a look at how the Tide won:

It was over when: Christion Jones returned his second kick for a touchdown to put Alabama ahead 28-10 late in the second quarter. Virginia Tech had just cut the lead to 21-10 with 3:39 to go before halftime. With the way their defense was playing, the last thing the Hokies needed was to give up another non-offensive score. But on the ensuing kickoff, Jones went 94 yards for the touchdown, putting the game out of reach.

Game ball goes to: Jones. In addition to the kickoff return for a TD in the second quarter, Jones returned a punt 54 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring -- making him the first player in Alabama history to score on two returns in one game. He then added a 38-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter -- the first time in his career he has scored three touchdowns in one game. In fact, Jones went into the game with five career touchdowns.

Stat of the game: 3. Virginia Tech gave up a kickoff return, a punt return and an interception return for a touchdown -- the first time that has happened under Coach Frank Beamer.

What Alabama learned: The Tide dominated on the scoreboard, but if there is one area the Tide must work on, it is the offensive line. There were concerns about the rebuilt line going into the game with three new starters. Alabama struggled at times to protect AJ McCarron and struggled to get the run game going consistently. To its credit, Virginia Tech is strong up front. But the Tide are going to have to do better than 2.5 yards per carry and 96 yards on the ground. You can bet this is going to be a big area of emphasis during practice this week.

What Virginia Tech learned: Its defense can be dominant, but that means nothing if its special teams and offense continue to be an Achilles' heel. Logan Thomas did not look any better than he did a year ago, going 5-of-26 for 59 yards and an interception, despite a new offensive coordinator. But once again, he had no help around him at receiver. The Hokies continued to drop catchable passes, a problem last year, as well. Special teams have deteriorated. This team still has major problems that have to be addressed.

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