ACC: Kevin Pierre-Louis



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Previewing the 2014 season for the Boston College Eagles:

Key returners: RB Myles Willis, WR Josh Bordner, LG Bobby Vardaro, C Andy Gallik, RG Harris Williams, DT Mehdi Abdesmad, LB Steven Daniels, LB Josh Keyes, CB Manuel Asprilla, CB Bryce Jones, S Dominique Williams

Key losses: QB Chase Rettig, RB Andre Williams, WR Alex Amidon, LT Matt Patchan, RT Ian White, DE Kasim Edebali, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB Steele Divitto, K/P Nate Freese

Most important 2014 games: Sept. 5 vs. Pitt, Sept. 13 vs. USC, Nov. 1 at Virginia Tech, Nov. 22 at Florida State, Nov. 29 vs. Syracuse

[+] EnlargeSteve Addazio
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsSecond-year Boston College coach Steve Addazio is looking to build on a seven-win season in 2013.
Projected win percentage: 37.9 percent

Over/under Vegas odds: 5 wins

Instant impact newcomer: Florida transfer Tyler Murphy is the front-runner to start at quarterback, having been recruited to Gainesville back when Eagles coach Steve Addazio was an assistant there. Murphy started six games last year for the Gators, completing 60.5 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and five interceptions, adding 61 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

High point from 2013: Pick any Andre Williams highlight and you'll find it easy to understand how the previously unsung running back bullied his way to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Williams rushed for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns, finishing fourth in the Heisman voting. His 166 yards and two touchdowns in a Nov. 2 upset of Virginia Tech sparked a four-game winning streak for BC, helping the Eagles get to a bowl in Year 1 under Addazio.

Low point from 2013: A two-game slide to finish the season at 7-6 diminished some of the glow that had come from such a surprising run during BC's four-game winning streak earlier. The Eagles lost Williams in the regular-season finale at rival Syracuse, and lost the game 34-31 on a touchdown pass with six seconds left. Then Arizona routed BC 42-19 in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Murphy proves to be an efficient dual-threat quarterback, adding a dynamic to BC's offense that wasn't there last year. Willis leads a running back committee that, running behind a veteran line, is able to collectively make up for much of the production that went out the door when Williams left. A strong secondary offsets a mostly untested defensive front, and BC continues its ascent under Addazio, winning eight games and pulling several more upsets along the way.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: The offense struggles to find its identity without the machine-like Williams pushing it forward. Murphy and a green receiving corps have trouble meshing, the defense lacks punch up front and the Eagles fall back to a three- or four-win season, which is what many thought would happen last season.

They said it: "Really, the interest level now is about winning those games. It's really not about being close; that's not really what we're striving for here. Year 1 was about winning the opener, it was about getting bowl eligible. Now I think as the program moves on in Year 2, you want to get to Charlotte, and that's the next goal on the program's docket right now, is to get to Charlotte." -- Addazio, on BC's respectable 48-34 loss last season to eventual national champion Florida State

ACC's lunchtime links

May, 21, 2014
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Don't worry, everyone. The Eagle has landed.

Boston College spring wrap

April, 29, 2014
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Three things we learned in the spring about the Boston College Eagles:

1. Tyler Murphy is the starting QB. Surprised? Well, you shouldn't be. The Florida transfer, who was recruited to Gainesville by Steve Addazio when the coach was an assistant there, always seemed like the front-runner to win the No. 1 job, and the second-year BC head coach raved about Murphy's poise and pocket presence throughout the spring. His SEC experience should prove beneficial for the Eagles.

2. More dynamic offense on the way. Replacing Andre Williams will definitely be tough for one man to do. But Addazio is confident that the rushing attack as a whole could be very productive, as having a quarterback such as Murphy will help stretch the field and give defenses more to look out for from the backfield. Running backs Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse had strong springs as well.

3. Secondary makes some strides. BC took several hits among its front seven, but Addazio is confident that the defensive backs are slowly but surely on their way to leading this defense. While the pass defense struggled last season, ranking last in the ACC, the secondary brings back all of its starters from 2013, led by Manuel Asprilla.

Three questions for the fall:

1. Who steps up at linebacker? Stalwarts Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto leave behind a massive hole. Mike Strizak and Sean Duggan bring some experience, and the staff liked what Josh Keyes brought to the table this spring. But will it all be enough to replace the combined 220 tackles that Pierre-Louis and Divitto made last year?

2. Where are the pass-catchers? BC's leading returning receiver is a running back, as David Dudeck caught 10 passes last season for 84 yards and a touchdown. The passing game was overly reliant on Alex Amidon last season, and the Eagles return just two receivers who made catches in 2013: Dan Crimmins and Harrison Jackson, who totaled 15 grabs for 107 yards and a touchdown last season.

3. Are there enough proven bodies on the roster? Addazio has said he loves the collective attitude, but BC said goodbye to a deep and talented senior class last year and will still be roughly six scholarship players short of the max. Summer enrollees might have to take on bigger roles than the staff would probably prefer.

One way-too-early prediction:

BC's progress will not be reflected in its record in 2014. That might be a tough reality for a program that absolutely shattered expectations in Addazio's first year, and he certainly has the Eagles ahead of schedule, but BC probably loses too much veteran production on both sides of the ball to win eight or more games in 2014.

ACC and the NFL combine

February, 11, 2014
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The NFL draft combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis will be held from Feb. 19-25 and will feature workouts, medical examinations, psychological testing and interviews for the 335 invited prospects. The ACC has a total of 46 players who will participate, including at least one player from every school (we included Maryland and not Louisville in this post, because it is from the 2013 season). National champion Florida State led the league with eight players heading to the combine, but UNC was right behind with seven. Don't cry ... you're gonna miss some of these names next year. Good luck to these guys.

Here is the official list of the ACC attendees:

BOSTON COLLEGE (5)
CLEMSON (4)
DUKE (1)
FLORIDA STATE (8)
GEORGIA TECH (2)
MARYLAND (1)
MIAMI (5)
NORTH CAROLINA (7)
NC STATE (1)
PITTSBURGH (3)
SYRACUSE (2)
VIRGINIA (2)
VIRGINIA TECH (4)
WAKE FOREST (1)
Some are can't-miss prospects, such as Jameis Winston. The Florida State quarterback was ESPN's No. 1 QB in the Class of 2012, won the Heisman Trophy in his first season as the Seminoles' starter and added a national championship to cap his redshirt freshman year.

Others are not so easy to find.

Andre Williams, who finished three spots behind Winston in the 2013 Heisman Trophy voting, was a two-star prospect in the Class of 2010. All the Boston College running back did this past fall was tally the fifth-highest rushing total in FBS history (2,177 yards).

[+] EnlargeJameis Winston, Andre Williams
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesAndre Williams and Jameis Winston came from opposite ends of the recruiting spectrum.
With national signing day coming Wednesday, we figured this is a good time to revisit where our All-ACC players stood when they signed with their schools. The results, as usual, offer some surprises.

Just one ESPN.com All-ACC player from this past season entered college as a five-star prospect. Williams was one of two two-star prospects. There were 11 four-star prospects and eight three-star prospects. Two players, both of whom are from the high school Class of 2009, don't have star ratings, as ESPN didn't start using star ratings until 2010. Kickers and punters have no ratings, rankings or grades.

(All rankings and information are from ESPN's Recruiting Nation.)

Offense

  • QB Jameis Winston, Florida State via Hueytown (Ala.) High: Four stars, No. 14 overall prospect, Class of 2012. Scout grade: 84
  • RB: Andre Williams, Boston College via Allentown (Pa.) Parkland High: Two stars, No. 152 RB, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 73
  • RB: Devonta Freeman, Florida State via Miami Central High: Four stars, No. 15 RB, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 80
  • WR: Sammy Watkins, Clemson via South Fort Myers (Fla.) High: Four stars, No. 39 overall prospect, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 82
  • WR: Rashad Greene, Florida State via Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Saint Thomas Aquinas High: Four stars, No. 125 overall prospect, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 80
  • WR: Jamison Crowder, Duke via Monroe (N.C.) High: Three stars, No. 65 WR, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 78
  • TE: Eric Ebron, North Carolina via Greensboro (N.C.) Smith High: Four stars, No. 8 TE, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 80
  • T: Cameron Erving, Florida State via Colquitt County (Ga.) High: Three stars, No. 83 DT, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 76
  • T: Brandon Thomas, Clemson via Dorman (S.C.) High: No. 60 OG, Class of 2009. Scout grade: 76*
  • G: Laken Tomlinson, Duke via Chicago Lane Tech High: Three stars, No. 65 OG, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 75
  • G: Tre’ Jackson, Florida State via Wayne County (Ga.) High: Three stars, No. 50 DT, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 78
  • C: Bryan Stork, Florida State via Vero Beach (Fla.) High: No. 45 TE, Class of 2009. Scout grade: 76*
Defense

  • DE: Vic Beasley, Clemson via Adairsville (Ga.) High: Four stars, No. 19 ATH, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 80
  • DE: Kareem Martin, North Carolina via Roanoke Rapids (N.C.) High: Three stars, No. 59 DE, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 80
  • DT: Aaron Donald, Pitt via Pittsburgh Penn Hills High: Four stars, No. 22 DT, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 79
  • DT: Timmy Jernigan, Florida State via Lake City (Fla.) Columbia High: Four stars, No. 17 overall prospect, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 84
  • LB: Telvin Smith, Florida State via Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes High: Four stars, No. 107 overall prospect, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 81
  • LB: Kelby Brown, Duke via Charlotte (N.C.) Christian High: Three stars, No. 88 OLB, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 75
  • LB: Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College via Stamford (Conn.) The King & Low Heywood Thomas School: Four stars, No. 20 OLB, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 79
  • CB: Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State via Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Saint Thomas Aquinas High: Five stars, No. 6 overall prospect, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 87
  • CB: Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech via Baltimore Mount St. Joseph High: Three stars, No. 43 CB, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 77
  • S: Terrence Brooks, Florida State via Dunnellon (Fla.) High: Three stars, No. 21 CB, Class of 2010. Scout grade: 70
  • S: Anthony Harris, Virginia via Cheesterfield (Va.) Lloyd C. Bird High: Two stars, No. 203 ATH, Class of 2011. Scout grade: 72
Special Teams

  • K: Nate Freese, Boston College via Strongsville (Ohio) High: Class of 2009
  • P: Pat O’Donnell, Miami via Palm Beach (Fla.) Central High: Class of 2009
  • SP: Ryan Switzer, North Carolina via Charleston (W.Va.) George Washington High: Four stars, No. 59 WR, Class of 2013. Scout grade: 80

2013 Top 25 player countdown: No. 20

January, 22, 2014
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No. 20: Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB, Boston College

Previous ranking: NR

Making the case for Pierre-Louis: On a Boston College team that saw many upperclassmen play their best ball in their final seasons, Pierre-Louis, a four-year starter, stood out. He helped engineer a five-win improvement for the team in Year 1 of the Steve Addazio era, tying for fifth in the ACC in total tackles, with 108, 10.5 of which went for a loss. He had six sacks, forced one fumble, recovered two more and picked off a pass, returning the interception 33 yards for a touchdown in what proved to be a season-defining win for the Eagles over Virginia Tech.

Pierre-Louis won conference linebacker of the week honors after that Nov. 2 game, just as he did after recording a career-best 18 stops in an Oct. 5 win over Army. The 6-foot-1, 225-pounder was named first-team all-conference by the media, the coaches and ESPN.com for his efforts. The Walter Camp Football Foundation also honored the Norwalk, Conn., native last week as the Connecticut player of the year, joining Bill Romanowski (1987) as Boston College recipients of the award.

The countdown
  • No. 25 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
  • No. 24 Jack Tyler, LB, Virginia Tech
  • No. 23 Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt
  • No. 22 Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU
  • No. 21 Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami

Season wrap: Boston College

January, 15, 2014
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Even though Boston College entered the season with a new head coach in Steve Addazio, preseason expectations outside the program remained low. The Eagles had only won two games the previous year and were picked to finish last in the ACC Atlantic. But Boston College exceeded expectations, getting back to a bowl game for the first time since 2010 and completing the best turnaround in the ACC. The Eagles did it largely behind Andre Williams, whose 2,000-yard rushing season got him a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist. Boston College ended up ranking No. 20 in the nation in rushing offense, a year after ranking among the worst teams in that category.

Offensive MVP: Williams. The senior ended the season with 2,177 rushing yards, the fifth-best total in NCAA history, won the Doak Walker Award and finished fourth in Heisman voting. Williams’ season included four 100-yard games, four 200-yard games and one 300-yard game. He was a unanimous All-American.

Defensive MVP: Kevin Pierre-Louis. Pierre-Louis led the team and ranked tied for sixth in the ACC with 108 tackles, while also adding six sacks en route to first-team All-ACC honors from the media and the coaches. Kasim Edebali also deserves recognition, with 9.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss.

Best moment: Aside from having a Heisman finalist? Beating Virginia Tech. This was the best win of the season for the Eagles, one of just two against teams that finished the year above .500. Nobody gave BC much of a chance to win headed into the contest, but the defense forced four turnovers and Williams ran for 166 yards and two touchdowns in the 34-27 win.

Worst moment: The bowl game. The matchup between Williams and Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey was one of the most intriguing in bowl season. But Williams looked like his shoulder was still bothering him, and the Wildcats totally dominated the BC defense en route to a 42-19 victory in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl. Definitely not the way the Eagles wanted to end the season.

ESPN.com's All-ACC team

December, 16, 2013
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Florida State’s undefeated season is reflected in the Seminoles’ 10 all-conference selections by ESPN.com. Quarterback Jameis Winston was the highlight of the group, along with Boston College running back Andre Williams, who was also a Heisman candidate this year. This list differs just slightly from the choices of the coaches and writers, with the toughest decisions coming on defense.

Offense
Defense
Special Teams
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was voted the ACC Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year by the ACC's head coaches.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players, and ballots were worth three points for each first-team, two points for second-team and one point for third-team selections.

Winston was one of three unanimous first-team selections to the All-ACC team (named on all 13 possible ballots). He was joined by national rushing leader and fellow Heisman finalist Andre Williams of Boston College and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins, a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award.

Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner Aaron Donald of Pitt was voted the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Duke’s David Cutcliffe was voted the ACC Coach of the Year by his peers for the second straight season, and Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller picked up ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

2013 ACC Coaches All-ACC Football Team

(Voting points in Parentheses)

First Team

Offense

QB—Jameis Winston, Fr.-R, Florida State (39)

RB—Andre Williams, Sr., Boston College (39)

RB—Devonta Freeman, Jr., Florida State (28)

WR—Sammy Watkins, Jr., Clemson (39)

WR—Rashad Greene, Jr., Florida State (31)

WR—Jamison Crowder, Jr., Duke (31)

TE—Eric Ebron, Jr., North Carolina (38)

T—Cameron Erving, Jr.-R, Florida State (31)

T—Brandon Thomas, Sr.-R, Clemson (23)

G—Laken Tomlinson, Jr.-R, Duke (26)

G—Tre’ Jackson, Jr., Florida State (23)

C—Bryan Stork, Sr.-R, Florida State (38)

Defense

DE—Vic Beasley, Jr., Clemson (35)

DE—Jeremiah Attaochu, Sr., Georgia Tech (29)

DT—Aaron Donald, Sr., Pitt (35)

DT—Timmy Jernigan, Jr., Florida State (33)

LB—Telvin Smith, Sr., Florida State (37)

LB—Denzel Perryman, Jr., Miami (30)

LB—Kevin Pierre-Louis, Sr., Boston College (28)

CB—Lamarcus Joyner, Sr., Florida State (38)

CB—Kyle Fuller, Sr., Virginia Tech (32)

S—Terrence Brooks, Sr., Florida State (33)

S—Anthony Harris, Jr., Virginia (22)

Special Teams

PK—Roberto Aguayo, Fr.-R, Florida State (28)

P—Pat O’Donnell, Sr.-R, Miami (31)

SP—Jamison Crowder, Jr., Duke (27)

Florida State headlines All-ACC team

December, 2, 2013
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Florida State led all schools with seven players on the All-ACC first team, including quarterback Jameis Winston, running back Devonta Freeman and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner.

In all, the Seminoles had 17 players chosen to the first, second and third teams as voted on by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and announced Monday. Eleven players were selected from Coastal Division champion Duke, including four on the first team.

Boston College back Andre Williams, who leads the nation and set an ACC single-season record with 2,102 yards rushing, was the only unanimous selection to the All-ACC team. Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins received 63 votes, while Winston received 61. Duke receiver Jamison Crowder, who leads the ACC in receptions with 88 and has returned two punts for touchdowns this season, was the only player selected at multiple positions. Crowder was voted to the first team at receiver made the second team as a specialist.

First team

Offense

QB – Jameis Winston, Florida State

RB – Andre Williams, Boston College

RB – Devonta Freeman, Florida State

WR – Sammy Watkins, Clemson

WR - Jamison Crowder, Duke

WR – Rashad Greene, Florida State

TE - Eric Ebron, North Carolina

T- Cameron Erving, Florida State

T- James Hurst, North Carolina

G- Tre’ Jackson, Florida State

G-Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech

C- Bryan Stork, Florida State

Defense

DE - Vic Beasley, Clemson

DE - Kareem Martin, North Carolina

DT - Aaron Donald, Pitt

DT – Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest

LB - Kelby Brown, Duke

LB – Denzel Perryman, Miami

LB – Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College

CB – Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

CB – Ross Cockrell, Duke

S – Anthony Harris, Virginia

S – Jeremy Cash, Duke

Special Teams

PK - Nate Freese, Boston College

P - Pat O’Donnell, Miami

SP - Ryan Switzer, North Carolina

ACC Week 11: Did you know?

November, 8, 2013
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Florida State can lock up a trip to the ACC championship game with a win this week. Virginia Tech or Miami can take a big step toward doing the same when they face off. Maryland can become bowl eligible with a win, too. Here are a handful of other tidbits as we get set for Week 11 in the ACC.

Thanks, as always, to the ACC and each school’s sports information departments for providing many of the stats.

Boston College: After making eight tackles in a win over Virginia Tech last week, Kevin Pierre-Louis now has 73 for the season -- an average of 9.13 per game. That total ranks second, just behind Duke’s David Helton (9.75). A member of the Boston College defense has led the ACC in tackles per game every year since 2009. Pierre-Louis finished third in the ACC last season (9.44).

Duke: With a win over Virginia Tech in its last game, Duke has now won four straight. It’s the second consecutive season in which the Blue Devils have enjoyed a four-game winning streak. Prior to that, Duke hadn’t won four straight in any season since 1994, and it had only won four games total in a year four times in the interim. The last time Duke had winning streaks that long in consecutive seasons was 1988 and 1989.

Maryland: Linebacker Cole Farrand racked up a whopping 23 tackles in Maryland’s last game, a loss to Clemson. That’s not only a career high for Farrand, but it was the most by a player in a single game in the ACC this season and the second-best tally nationally. The last Maryland player to eclipse that total was Scott Rosen, who recorded 30 tackles against North Carolina in 1990.

Miami: The Hurricanes lost star tailback Duke Johnson for the season with a broken ankle in last week’s game against Florida State, but they have a capable alternative in Dallas Crawford. On just 67 carries this season, Crawford has scored nine times. Crawford’s rate of a touchdown every 7.4 rushes is the second best in the ACC behind FSU’s Karlos Williams (one every 7.0 rushes).

Florida State: The Seminoles rank third nationally in third-down conversions in spite of the fact that just 24 percent of their third-down tries need 3 yards or fewer for a conversion (94th nationally). Florida State more than makes up for it by covering a whopping 46 percent of its third-and-longs (7 yards or more), the best ratio in the country and nearly double the national average.

NC State: The Wolfpack have won 11 of the last 12 meetings against Duke, but NC State hasn’t exactly dominated the rivalry between the schools, which are separated by only about 20 miles. Seven of those wins came by a touchdown or less, and in 12 of the last 19 games between the two schools, the margin of victory has been eight points or less, including seven decided by a field goal or less.

North Carolina: Eric Ebron caught nine passes for 70 yards in a win over NC State last week, bringing his season total to 44 receptions and 669 receiving yards. Ebron is just 202 yards shy of breaking the ACC record for receiving yards in a season for a tight end, set by Maryland’s Vernon Davis in 2005. He’s 26 catches shy of the conference record held by Virginia’s Heath Miller, set in 2003. Ebron has had at least four catches and 60 yards in each of his last seven games.

Pittsburgh: Pitt’s recent offensive struggles start with the ground game. Against Old Dominion, New Mexico and Navy, the Panthers racked up 684 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. But against ACC competition, Pitt is averaging just 1.91 yards per carry this year. In games against teams from automatic-qualifier conferences, only Purdue averages less among AQ schools. Pitt finished with minus-5 yards rushing on 21 carries against Georgia Tech last week.

Syracuse: Orange quarterbacks have thrown just two touchdowns against teams from other BCS automatic-qualifier conferences this year to go with 14 interceptions. That’s the worst TD-to-INT rate of any AQ team in the nation in those games. At 4-4, however, the Orange are one of just two teams ranked in the bottom 10 in TD-to-INT ratio with a record of .500 or better (Utah is the other).

Virginia: The Cavaliers lost cornerback Demetrious Nicholson for the season, which is bad news for a secondary that has given up the most passing yards of any ACC team. But while Virginia’s DBs have been picked on, it’s also worth noting that the unit allows just 50.7 percent completions to opposing quarterbacks this year -- the ninth-best mark in the country.

Virginia Tech: Since the start of the 2012 season, Virginia Tech’s defense has intercepted 30 passes, 11th most in the country and tops in the ACC. On the flip side, however, Hokies quarterbacks have thrown 29 interceptions in that span, the ninth most in the nation and tied with North Carolina for the most in the ACC. Virginia Tech has eight turnovers in its last two games (both losses) after going three straight without a turnover (all wins).

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host No. 2 Florida State on Saturday, marking their third matchup against a top-10 team this season (Sept. 28 vs. No. 3 Clemson, Oct. 25 vs. No. 7 Miami). That’s the first time in program history Wake Forest has faced three top-10 teams in the same year. Only twice has under head coach Jim Grobe have the Deacons played even two games against top-10 foes — 2005 and 2012.

ACC helmet stickers: Week 10

November, 3, 2013
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Florida State delivered another big pitch for a BCS championship bid, Virginia Tech's spiral continued, Georgia Tech locked up bowl eligibility, and North Carolina and Syracuse took big steps toward doing the same. But these are the top individual performances of Week 10 in the ACC.

Florida State tailback Devonta Freeman: On a night when Jameis Winston was off his game -- for him, 325 yards and one touchdown constitutes an off night -- the ground game picked up the slack for FSU, and the rushing attack was led by Freeman. The Miami native had 176 yards of offense and scored three TDs. His 48-yard receiving touchdown was the game's highlight, but he delivered a series of punishing blows running the football that set the tone in a physical rivalry game.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd: His 33-yard scoring throw to Sammy Watkins to open the game gave Boyd 113 touchdown passes for his career, passing former NC State QB Philip Rivers as the ACC's all-time leader. Boyd didn't stop there. He finished the game 24-of-29 for 377 yards and three TDs (plus a fourth touchdown on the ground), including a 96-harder to Watkins on the first drive of the third quarter that ended Boyd's afternoon. For his part, Watkins finished the game with eight catches for 169 yards, too.

Boston College defensive end Kasim Edebali: All due respect to tailback Andre Williams, who had another stellar performance with 33 carries for 166 yards and two touchdowns, but it was the BC defense that was the story in Saturday's win over Virginia Tech. The Eagles forced four turnovers, including a 33-yard interception return for a score by Kevin Pierre-Louis. But of all the big performances on D, Edebali may have been the most impressive. The senior finished with a game-high eight tackles, including three for a loss with two sacks. Edebali also broke up a pass and forced three fumbles.

Georgia Tech running back Robert Godhigh: The Yellow Jackets are going bowling once again, picking up win No. 6 against Pitt on Saturday. It was a solid overall performance for Georgia Tech, but Godhigh was the showstopper. The senior running back racked up 89 yards on just six carries, including two touchdowns. Godhigh has emerged as a big-play threat in the past two weeks, totaling 247 yards of offense (and three TDs) on just 13 touches. Godhigh had scores of 33 and 11 yards Saturday.

Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald: The Panthers did little on offense against Georgia Tech, but Donald was so good on defense, he deserves a helmet sticker even in a losing effort. Donald finished with 11 tackles -- all solo -- including a whopping six for a loss. Donald had a sack and forced two fumbles in the effort, too.

Boston College season preview

August, 23, 2013
8/23/13
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We're wrapping up our preseason previews with Boston College, which is looking to bounce back from a dismal 2012 with a new coaching staff and renewed optimism.

Boston College Eagles

Coach: Steve Addazio (13-11, first season at BC)

2012 record: 2-10 (1-7 ACC)

Key losses: WR Johnathan Coleman, OT Emmett Cleary, OT John Wetzel, LB Nick Clancy, CB Jim Noel, P Gerald Levano

[+] EnlargeChase Rettig
AP Photo/Winslow TownsonChase Rettig was sacked 36 times in 2012. Can the offensive line better protect the quarterback this season?
Key returnees: QB Chase Rettig, WR Alex Amidon, RB Andre Williams, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB Steele Divitto, S Sean Sylvia

Newcomer to watch: OT Matt Patchan. If there's a perfect example of the hope Addazio has brought with him to Boston College, it's Patchan. The talented left tackle transferred in from Florida -- Addazio's old stomping grounds as an assistant coach -- and immediately plugs into one of the Eagles' biggest areas of need. BC's line was awful last season, and attrition threatened to make the situation even worse. Enter Patchan, a former high school All-American and sixth-year senior who missed 2012 with a torn pec. He is fully healthy now and should contribute immediately.

Biggest games in 2013: Sept. 14 at USC; Sept. 28 vs. Florida State; Oct. 12 at Clemson; Nov. 2 vs. Virginia Tech

Biggest question mark heading into 2013: The offensive line was dismal for Boston College last season, and the only good news heading into 2013 is that it would be tough for things to get much worse. The Eagles ranked 106th nationally in sacks allowed per game last season, and they're losing both starting tackles for this year. Worse yet, BC was among the worst rushing teams in the country, ranking 119th out of 124 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in rushing yards per game. Only four teams in the nation managed fewer rushing touchdowns than BC's seven.

Forecast: Addazio is a high-energy coach with an SEC pedigree, and his arrival at Boston College has at the very least injected some much-needed optimism for a program that not only missed out on the postseason for a second straight season in 2012, but did so in dismal fashion, winning just one game against an FBS foe.

But as bad as the numbers look from last year, Addazio hasn't inherited a program with a talent vacuum. Rettig established himself as a serviceable quarterback with some upside. His top target is Amidon, who is already an All-ACC performer. Add in some established talent on defense, including Pierre-Louis, Divitto and Nate Freese. BC returns eight of its top nine tacklers overall.

Still, all of Addazio's energy and all of the talent at the top of the depth chart can't mask some serious concerns at the line of scrimmage and on the bench. Boston College should be markedly more competitive than during the past two lost seasons under former coach Frank Spaziani, but the lack of depth in key areas will make it awfully tough for the Eagles to hold up over the course of a difficult schedule.

The bar isn't set high for Addazio, and it would be surprising if Boston College doesn't show signs of improvement. But the rebuilding project isn't likely to be a quick fix, and 2013 could be another long season in Chestnut Hill.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, the reigning ACC Player of the Year and preseason Player of the Year, leads the 2013 Preseason All-ACC Football Team announced on Wednesday.

Boyd, who enters his senior season with 8,053 career passing yards and 73 career touchdown passes, was the overwhelming choice at quarterback in voting by media at the 2013 ACC Football Kickoff, held this week at Greensboro’s Grandover Resort.

Boyd is one of three Clemson players on the 25-member team. Florida State led all schools with six players, and North Carolina had four. Duke, Miami and Wake Forest followed with two selections each, while Boston College, Georgia Tech Maryland, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Virginia Tech each placed one player on the team.

Here is the full team:

OFFENSE

WR Sammy Watkins, CL (57) 6-1 205 Jr. Fort Myers, Fla.

WR Michael Campanaro, WF (20) 5-11 190 Sr. Clarksville, Md.

TE Eric Ebron, UNC (35) 6-4 245 Jr. Greensboro, N.C.

T James Hurst, UNC (37) 6-7 305 Sr. Plainfield, Ind.

T Morgan Moses, UVa (35) 6-6 325 Sr. Richmond, Va.

G Tre' Jackson, FSU (46) 6-4 330 Jr. Jesuup, Ga.

G Brandon Linder, UM (28) 6-6 317 Sr. Southwest Ranches, Fla.

C Bryan Stork, FSU (29) 6-4 298 Sr. Vero Beach, Fla.

QB Tajh Boyd, CL (59) 6-1 225 Sr. Hampton, Va.

RB Duke Johnson, UM (58) 5-9 194 So. Miami, Fla.

RB James Wilder Jr., FSU (23) 6-2 229 Jr. Tampa, Fla.

DEFENSE

DE Jeremiah Attaochu, GT (39) 6-3 242 Sr. Washington, D.C.

DE Kareem Martin, UNC (37) 6-6 265 Sr. Roanoke Rapids, N.C.

DT Nikita Whitlock, WF (35) 5-11 250 Sr. Wylie, Texas

DT Timmy Jernigan, FSU (34) 6-2 294 Jr. Lake City, Fla.

LB Jack Tyler, VT (42) 6-1 236 Sr. Oakton, Va.

LB Christian Jones, FSU (38) 6-4 232 Sr. Winter Park, Fla.

LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, BC (21) 6-1 215 Sr. Norwalk, Conn.

CB Ross Cockrell, DU (48) 6-0 180 Sr. Waxhaw, N.C.

CB Lamarcus Joyner, FSU (32) * 5-8 190 Sr. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

S Tre Boston, UNC (30) 6-1 205 Sr. Ft. Myers, Fla.

S Jason Hendricks, PITT (18) 6-0 180 Sr. Brooklyn, N.Y.

SPECIALISTS

PK Chandler Catanzaro, CL (41) 6-2 195 Gr. Greenville, S.C.

P Will Monday, DU (41) 6-4 210 So. Flowery Branch, Ga.

SP Stefon Diggs, MD (34) 6-1 185 So. Gaithersburg, Md.

* FSU's Joyner also received 11 votes at the safety position
The Football Writers Association of America today announced the watch list candidates for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football. The ACC tied the Pac-12 for the second-most nominees with 12 players. The SEC led the watch list with 16 players.

Here are your ACC representatives:
The FWAA also today announced the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, presented annually to the national defensive player of the year by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. The ACC (12) had the fourth-most players on the list behind the SEC (16), Pac-12 (14), and Big Ten (13).

Here are your ACC reps:

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