ACC: Nate Collins
2009 conference record: 2-6
Offense: 6, defense: 6, punter/kicker 2
WR Kris Burd, QB Marc Verica, DE Matt Conrath, LB Steve Greer, CB Ras-I Dowling
WR Vic Hall, T Will Barker, C Jack Shields, QB Jameel Sewell, FB Rashawn Jackson, NG Nate Collins, CB Chris Cook, LB Denzel Burrell, TB Mikell Simpson
2009 statistical leaders (* returners)
Rushing: Jackson (461 yards)
Passing: Sewell (1,848 yds)
Receiving: Burd* (413 yds)
Tackles: Greer* (92)
Sacks: Collins (6)
Interceptions: Cook (4)
1. Johnson’s move a hit. Cam Johnson’s move from linebacker to defensive end proved beneficial, as he returned an interception 51 yards in the Cavaliers’ spring game. Johnson, who started 10 of the 12 games he played in last year, showed he can transition to playing with his hand on the ground.
2. Aboushi a boost up front. Offensive tackle Oday Aboushi could be Virginia’s next stellar lineman. He’ll only be a sophomore, but he showed this spring he can help plug up some holes in an offensive line that was rather porous last year. Aboushi played in late in the Clemson game and he held his own as a freshman last year.
3. Mending fences. First-year coach Mike London has been working the crowd and winning it over by making the staff more approachable. He held a scrimmage at Old Dominion, and had been rebuilding relationships with high school coaches and media throughout the state.
1. Which Verica will show this fall? The one who was pushed into duty without experience two years ago and performed well, or the one who last year struggled in mop-up duty? Verica said he avoided turnovers during every team drill this spring, but threw two interceptions in the spring game. Verica is the only player on the roster who has attempted a pass in a game.
2. Kicking competition. Last year, the kicking duties were done by committee. This year, London would like to find one player capable of PATs, field goals and kickoffs. Robert Randolph handled most of the field goal duties last year. Drew Jarrett handled the PATs at the end of the year and Chris Hinkebein did kickoffs. Hinkebein has the strongest but least accurate leg.
3. Defensive transition. How will the players adjust to their new roles in the transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme? London has moved a lot of players into positions where he’s trying to get speed on the field. LaRoy Reynolds and LoVante Battle moved from the secondary to strongside linebacker. Ausar Walcott moved from defensive back to whip linebacker, and other players -- like Conrath -- have moved from defensive end to tackle.
Now his look approximates an old-school hippie, albeit a 6-foot-3, 280 pound one. He has grown his hair out since he arrived in Charlottesville, and his hair has become his trademark and a source of amusement for his teammates.
The look seems a better fit for the Mike London administration, which is new-school loose in many ways.
The hope, of course, is that London's new, energetic style, which Jenkins repeatedly described as "110 miles per hour," will translate into more wins than the eight Groh produced over his final two seasons.
"There's definitely a sense of urgency that's never been here before," Jenkins said. "It's the first time I've seen it -- in the locker room, in the weight room, on the practice field, walking around campus. You can tell everybody is a lot more excited -- a lot more excited about playing."
Just as there are underlying reasons for many of the changes London is implementing, there's a deeper reason Jenkins, a junior, doesn't plan to cut his hair until he graduates. He intends to donate his lengthy locks to Locks of Love, an organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss due to cancer or other problems.
Great cause. Good for him. But before he does that, he'd like to win a few games.
A change that London has implemented directly affects Jenkins: The Cavaliers are switching from Groh's 3-4 defense to a 4-3. What that means for Jenkins is less reading and reacting and more attacking, which you can imagine most defensive linemen prefer.
"It's a get-up-the-field, penetrating defense now rather than a two-gap playing on the line of scrimmage," he said. "It's a lot more fun for everybody. We're having a ball. It's something different but a lot of us played it in high school."
The line should be the strength of the defense, despite the loss of first-team All-ACC tackle Nate Collins. Three returning linemen, including Jenkins, started at least 10 games last year as well as two who started at least one game.
Of course, defense wasn't exactly the problem in 2009. Virginia -- gulp -- ranked 118th in the nation in total offense and 105th in scoring.
Jenkins said the offensive futility -- the Cavaliers scored more than 17 points just once (21 vs. Clemson) during the six-game losing streak that ended the season -- never caused a fracture in the locker room.
"There were days when the offense couldn't pull it together and there were days when the defense couldn't pull it together," he said. "But when everybody walks into the locker room we know we are trying to give our darnedest for everybody."
Jenkins isn't eager to look backwards anyway, particularly when asked what went wrong under Groh.
"Honestly, I couldn't tell you why things didn't work out," he said. "But that's in the past. It's clear to everybody that it didn't work out, but now it's time for change and the change is here. We're just embracing that and moving on."
Things are moving forward and the newness is appreciated.
"We're on whole new slate," he said. "That's what the coaches keep telling us."
Other former Cavs who participated included defensive lineman Nate Collins, cornerback Chris Cook, offensive lineman Will Barker, linebackers Denzel Burrell and Darren Childs, running back Mikell Simpson, quarterback Jameel Sewell, safety Brandon Woods and athlete Vic Hall. Both Cook and Jackson participated in last month's NFL combine and didn't fully participate in Thursday's drills.
We'll go ahead and consider these unofficial results, but here are a few highlights, according to both reports:
- Hall bench-pressed 225 pounds 19 times, only three fewer than Barker and Collins. He ran his second 40-yard dash in about 4.4 seconds.
- Collins ran the 40 in about 4.9 seconds.
According to the Daily Progress:
"Sewell posted a 4.58 according to one stopwatch and Collins added another in 4.93. Mikell Simpson was timed unofficially at 4.69 and 4.60, numbers that do not compare well to running backs who were invited to the NFL combine."
Jackson actually played tailback for most of his senior year and led the team in rushing with 461 yards on 96 carries, but he told White "I think I'm a fullback." Kiper seems to agree:
Jackson gets a nod here because he had to step in and carry the ball a lot. He's had better production than the tailbacks, with 96 carries for 461 yards. His ability to block well is a bonus. Versatile fullbacks are valued commodities in some systems.
It's a prestigious all-star game, as 90 percent of the players from last year's roster were either drafted or signed as free agents. It's sort of like a final audition for the NFL, as the game is directed by an NFL-affiliated coaching staff, NFL officials and rules.
The ACC players will be coached by Romeo Crennel, who spent four seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Browns and has won five Super Bowls as an assistant coach.
This year's game will be Jan. 23 (3 p.m. ET/ESPN2). The following players will represent the ACC on the East team:
LB Mike McLaughlin, Boston College
OG Thomas Austin, Clemson
CB Chris Chancellor, Clemson
OLB Kavell Conner, Clemson
OG Cord Howard, Georgia Tech
RB Javarris James, Miami
C A.J. Trump, Miami
DE Willie Young, NC State
DT Nate Collins, Virginia
FS Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech
OG Sergio Render, Virginia Tech
CB Stephan Virgil, Virginia Tech
OG Chris DeGeare, Wake Forest
- Miami sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris will have "a routine surgical procedure performed on his right hand" Wednesday, the school announced Tuesday. According to the release, it is protocol for Miami's players to meet with athletic training and medical staff at the end of the season for examination. During the examination with Harris, it was determined it was in his best long-term interest to have the routine procedure. It's not clear how long Harris will be sidelined or if he'll miss spring ball, but I'll post an update as soon as I get that information.
- Virginia defensive lineman Nate Collins has accepted an invitation to play in the 85th East-West Shrine Game. The game will be held Jan. 23, 2010, in Orlando, Fla., (3 p.m. ET ESPN2.) Collins was second on the team with 77 total tackles this year and ranked fifth in the ACC with six sacks.
- Former Duke football players Thaddeus Lewis and Vince Oghobaase have been invited to participate in the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine scheduled for February 24-March 2 in Indianapolis, Ind. More than 300 players are expected to attend this year’s event. Participants are chosen for the annual camp by a selection committee made up of representatives from the National and BLESTO scouting services as well as members from various NFL player personnel departments. Executives, coaches, player personnel staff members and medical personnel from all 32 NFL teams will attend the combine to evaluate prospective players.
Talk about an omen of things to come.
It was another trying season in Charlottesville, but one that was too difficult to ignore. Virginia (3-9, 2-6 ACC) ended the season with six straight losses, a finish which cost Al Groh and all but two of his assistants their jobs. In typical Groh fashion, though, there was a point during the season when it seemed as if Virginia might rally, just as it had done so many times before. After opening the season with three straight losses, Virginia used its bye week to regroup and reeled off three straight wins to suddenly jump back into the Coastal Division race. It turned out to be a fleeting moment, and the Cavaliers were exposed once they faced better competition.
Much of this year’s struggles could be attributed to the sweeping offseason staff changes, in which offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon was hired to implement the spread offense. The change didn’t work, as Virginia didn’t have the personnel to execute it.
Offensive MVP: Quarterback Jameel Sewell – He rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown against rival Virginia Tech, and finished the season with 1,848 passing yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 53.8 percent of his passes. He had his 10th 200-yard passing game against BC.
Defensive MVP: Nate Collins – He finished second on the team with 77 tackles, but led the defense with 10.5 tackles for loss, had six sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Turning point: After evening their record at 3-3 following an 0-3 start, the Cavaliers surrendered an 18-play, 82-yard, 10:47 third-quarter scoring drive by Georgia Tech to allow the Yellow Jackets to pull ahead 20-6 in what had been a close game. Georgia Tech won 34-9 and UVA did not win again the remainder of the season.
What’s next: Former Richmond coach and UVA defensive coordinator Mike London has officially taken over and faces the difficult challenge of regrouping the fan base, filling the seats, recruiting and beating Virginia Tech. No pressure.
QB -- Christian Ponder, Florida State
RB -- Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech
RB -- Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
WR -- Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech
WR -- Donovan Varner, Duke
TE -- George Bryan, NC State
TE -- Michael Palmer, Clemson
OL -- Jason Fox, Miami
OL -- Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
OL -- Rodney Hudson, Florida State
OL – Sergio Render, Virginia Tech
OL -- Cord Howard, Georgia Tech
K -- Matt Bosher, Miami
Spc -- C.J. Spiller, Clemson
DL -- Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech
DL -- Robert Quinn, North Carolina
DL -- Nate Collins, Virginia
DL -- Ricky Sapp, Clemson
LB -- Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech
LB -- Luke Kuechly, Boston College
LB -- Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
LB -- Alex Wujciak, Maryland
CB -- Kendric Burney, North Carolina
CB -- Brandon Harris, Miami
S -- DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
S -- Deunta Williams, North Carolina
P -- Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech
Spiller was named the ACC's offensive player of the year, while Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan was named the ACC's defensive player of the year. I can't argue with either of those choices. Here is how the voting shook out:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
C.J. Spiller, RB-SPC, Clemson (29)
Josh Nesbitt, QB, Georgia Tech (8)
Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech (2)
Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech (1)
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
C.J. Spiller, RB-SPC, Clemson (24)
Josh Nesbitt, QB, Georgia Tech (10)
Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech (4)
Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech (1)
Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State (1)
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech (21)
Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina (7)
DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson (7)
Nate Collins, DT, Virginia (1)
Quan Sturdivant, LB, North Carolina (1)
QB: Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech (50)
RB: Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech (67)
RB: Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech (63)
WR: Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech (63)
WR: Donovan Varner, Duke (50)
TE: George Bryan, NC State (39)
TE: Michael Palmer, Clemson (39)
OT: Jason Fox, Miami (57)
OT: Anthony Castonzo, Boston College (53)
OG: Rodney Hudson, Florida State (54)
OG: Cord Howard, Georgia Tech (47)
C: Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech (45)
K: Matt Waldron, Virginia Tech (27)
K: Matt Bosher, Miami (27)
Spc: C.J. Spiller, Clemson (76)
DE: Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech (76)
DE: Robert Quinn, North Carolina (69)
DT: Nate Collins, Virginia (47)
DT: Allen Bailey, Miami (38)
LB: Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech (65)
LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College (53)
LB: Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina (44)
LB: Alex Wujciak, Maryland (44)
CB: Kendric Burney, North Carolina (59)
CB: Brandon Harris, Miami (41)
S: DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (57)
S: Deunta Williams, North Carolina (53)
P: Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech (57)
QB: Thaddeus Lewis, Duke (18)
RB: C.J. Spiller, Clemson (62)
RB: Montel Harris, Boston College (39)
WR: Torrey Smith, Maryland (25)
WR: Jacoby Ford, Clemson (24)
TE: Greg Boone, Virginia Tech (16)
OT: Ed Wang, Virginia Tech (31)
OT: Chris Hairston, Clemson (26)
OG: Thomas Austin, Clemson (39)
OG: Sergio Render, Virginia Tech (37)
C: Matt Tennant, Boston College (29)
K: Casey Barth, North Carolina (21)
K: Will Snyderwine, Duke (21)
Spc: Torrey Smith, Maryland (17)
DE: Ricky Sapp, Clemson (29)
DE: Willie Young, NC State (24)
DE: Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech (24)
DT: Marvin Austin, North Carolina (32)
DT: John Russell, Wake Forest (29)
LB: Vincent Rey, Duke (29)
LB: Darryl Sharpton, Miami (21)
LB: Bruce Carter, North Carolina (17)
LB: Colin McCarthy, Miami (17)
LB: Dekoda Watson, Florida State (17)
CB: Ras-I Dowling, Virginia (26)
CB: Patrick Robinson, Florida State (26)
S: Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech (51)
S: Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech (24)
P: Matt Bosher, Miami (37)
So, I present to you the best of the worst in the ACC:
WAKE FOREST (4-7) -- DT John Russell. He has started all 11 games, including last week when he played the whole game against Florida State with a cast on his right hand. For the season, Russell has 42 total tackles (17 solo), one quarterback hurry and leads the team with 4.5 sacks for minus-40 yards and eight tackles for a total loss of 49 yards.
NC STATE (4-6) -- QB Russell Wilson. He has 26 touchdown passes this season, the second-highest total in school history for a single year, trailing Philip Rivers’ record of 34 in 2003. He has accounted for 30 total touchdowns on the season (four rushing), tying for second all-time and the most since Rivers was responsible for 30 in 2002. He's throwing the ball a lot more and taking more risks, but he still hasn't thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in a single game.
MARYLAND (2-8) -- LB Alex Wujciak. He has a team-high 113 tackles, including 11 against Virginia Tech. He has averaged 11.3 tackles per game (fourth nationally). In fact, Wujciak ranks first in the country (10.7) on the active career tackles-per-game list. Wujciak has gone over 100 tackles (113) for the second straight season. He is on pace to become the first Maryland defender to post more than 125 tackles (133 in 2008) in back-to-back years since E.J. Henderson (150 in 2001, 175 in 2002).
VIRGINIA (3-7) -- DE Nate Collins. The Cavaliers' defense hasn't been the problem this year. Collins leads UVa with 8.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. He had 16 tackles against Georgia Tech. He's third on the team with 66 tackles, and could become the first defensive lineman to lead the team in tackles since Chris Slade in 1991. It's currently the most tackles among ACC defensive linemen. Thirty-eight of his tackles have come in the past four weeks.
Is this the first week nobody from Miami made the cut? It feels like it. Here they are for Week 8, as released by the conference office:
OFFENSIVE BACK -- Christian Ponder, Florida State, QB, Jr., 6-2, 219, Colleyville, Texas
Ponder completed 33 of 40 passes for a career-high 395 yards and three second-half touchdowns as the Seminoles erased an 18-point second half deficit en route to a 30-27 victory at North Carolina last Thursday night. The Colleyville, Texas, junior completed an ACC record-tying 98-yard touchdown pass to Rod Owens late in the third quarter and his game-winning toss, an 18-yard scoring strike to tight end Beau Reliford with 6:20 remaining, came during a game-ending stretch of 16 consecutive completions.
OFFENSIVE LINE -- Andrew Datko, Florida State, OT, So., 6-6, 291, Weston, Fla.
A second-year starter, Datko was honored for the first time this season for his play in last Thursday’s 30-27 win at North Carolina. In the win, which snapped a three-game Seminole losing streak, the Weston, Fla., native earned an overall grade of 83 percent. Datko had one knockdown block, did not allow a pressure or sack and had just one missed assignment in 69 plays as the Seminoles rolled up 438 total yards against the nation’s third-ranked defense.
Vincent Rey, Duke, MLB, Sr., 6-0, 245, Far Rockaway, N.Y.
Rey had eight tackles and came up with a fourth-quarter interception as Duke defeated visiting Maryland Saturday 17-13 for its third win in four games. The Far Rockaway, N.Y., senior keyed a Blue Devil defense that limited the Terrapins to 249 total yards -- 87.6 yards under the Terps' season average.
Nate Collins, Virginia, NT, Sr., 6-2, 280, Port Chester, N.Y.
In Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, Collins, normally a defensive end, started at nose tackle and recorded a career-high 16 tackles in a 34-9 loss to the 11th-ranked Yellow Jackets. The Port Chester, N.Y., senior had 10 solo stops and recorded two tackles for loss.
DEFENSIVE BACK -- DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson, S, Jr., 6-1, 210, Tallahassee, Fla.
In earning ACC defensive back honors for the second week in a row, McDaniel had seven tackles and came up with two interceptions, including one returned 23 yards for a touchdown, in the Tigers’ 40-37 overtime win at eighth-ranked Miami Saturday. With three interceptions in his last two games, the Tallahassee, Fla., junior is now tied with UCLA’s Rahim Moore for the nation’s lead with seven interceptions in seven games.
ROOKIE -- Kyle Parker, Clemson, QB, Fr., 6-0, 210, Jacksonville, Fla.
In becoming the first Clemson freshman quarterback to defeat a top-10 team, Parker completed 25 of 37 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday’s 40-37 overtime win over then-No. 8 Miami. The 326 yards were the most ever by a Tiger freshman quarterback. The Jacksonville, Fla., product teamed with Jacoby Ford on a 26-yard game-winning touchdown pass in the first overtime as Clemson improved to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in league play with its second straight conference victory.
SPECIALIST -- C.J. Spiller, Clemson, RB, Sr., 5-11, 195, Lake Butler, Fla.
In earning ACC specialist honors for the second time this season for his performance in Saturday’s overtime win at Miami, Spiller set a Clemson single-game record for all-purpose yardage with 310 yards as he returned three kickoffs for 125 yards against the Hurricanes, including a 90-yard return for a touchdown in the second quarter that gave the Tigers a 14-10 lead at the intermission. Spiller also topped the 100-yard mark in receiving, carrying six receptions for 104 yards and he also rushed for 81 yards on 14 carries. In addition to being the ACC’s all-time all-purpose yardage leader with 6,363 yards, Spiller now holds the ACC career records for career kickoff returns for touchdowns (6) and total kick returns for a touchdown (7).
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- We've already seen two fumbles -- both on punt returns -- and the second was costly, as it set Georgia Tech up on the Virginia 11-yard line. Twice so far, though, the Jackets have hurt themselves with penalties (was FSU starting a trend Thursday night?), and the 15-yard penalty for an illegal block forced the Jackets to settle for a field goal, despite getting as close as the 3-yard line.Virginia trails 3-0 right now.
One of the questions heading into this game was whether or not Georgia Tech's defense could continue the success it had in the upset over Virginia Tech last week, and at least on the Cavs' opening drive, it did. Equally as impressive, though, was how aggressive and disciplined Virginia looked on defense. This shouldn't be a surprise, as coach Al Groh is a defensive mind who isn't fazed by this offense. There was no doubt he was going to have them prepared, and containing the Jackets early is important. Of course, a false start penalty on fourth down didn't help Georgia Tech, either, on its opening drive.
Zane Parr started in place of injured defensive end Matt Conrath, but it was Nate Collins who came up with a huge stop to force third down.
With the way the rain is coming down, odds are we'll see a few more fumbles this game, but neither team can afford to add penalties to the list of problems.
As released by the ACC office in Greensboro:
OFFENSIVE BACK -- Montel Harris, Boston College, RB, So., 5-10, 200, Jacksonville, Fla. (Trinity Christian)
Boston College sophomore running back Montel Harris carried the ball 27 times for 264 yards -- a Boston College single-game record and the ninth-highest mark in ACC history -- and scored five rushing touchdowns for another Eagle single-game record in Boston College’s 52-20 win over NC State. Additionally, Harris’ 264 yards is the most of any player in the nation this season, while his five touchdowns and 30 points also tied national season highs. Harris helped the Eagle offense get on the board early with a 2-yard touchdown run that followed a 70-yard scamper to give Boston College a 7-0 lead.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN -- Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech, C, Jr., 6-1, 267, Gainesville, Fla. (Buchholz)
Georgia Tech junior center Sean Bedford was honored for the second time this season after a standout performance on an offensive line that helped the Yellow Jackets produce 309 rushing yards in a 28-23 upset win over then-fourth-ranked Virginia Tech. After Georgia Tech was limited to 37 rushing yards in the first half, Bedford helped anchor a line that made room for 207 second-half rushing yards, including 157 in the third stanza alone.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN -- Nate Collins, Virginia, DE, Sr., 6-2, 290, Port Chester, N.Y. (King & Low-Heywood Thomas)
Virginia senior defensive end Nate Collins provided the big play to propel the Cavaliers to their third win with a 20-9 victory over Maryland. Trailing 9-6 with just under two minutes to play in the third quarter, Collins grabbed a Maryland pass tipped by teammate Darren Childs and raced 32 yards for the go-ahead touchdown to give Virginia a 13-9 lead. Later in the fourth quarter on third-and-10 from the Maryland 9-yard line, Collins sacked Terrapin quarterback Chris Turner for a loss of 7 yards to set up the Cavaliers’ final score. Collins finished the game with a team-high nine tackles, including two for losses, and a sack.
DEFENSIVE BACK -- DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson, S, Jr., 6-1, 210, Tallahassee, Fla. (Amos P. Godby)
Clemson junior safety DeAndre McDaniel recorded five tackles and returned his ACC-leading fifth interception of the season 26 yards in the Tigers’ 38-3 win over visiting Wake Forest. McDaniel patrolled the secondary that held the Demon Deacons to 82 passing yards and Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner, the league’s top-rated passer entering the game, to a 57.6 pass efficiency rating.
SPECIALIST -- Matt Bosher, Miami, K/P, Jr., 6-5, 205, Jupiter, Fla. (Jupiter)
Miami junior kicker/punter Matt Bosher converted all three of his PATs and connected on two field goals in the Hurricanes’ 27-7 win against UCF. Bosher had a season-long 46-yard field goal in the third quarter that extended Miami’s lead to 20-7. He also extended his streak to 62 straight PATs. Additionally, he punted four times and averaged 33.2 yards per punt, while three of his kicks were downed inside UCF’s 20-yard line.
ROOKIE -- Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech, RB, Fr. 5-9, 205, Manassas, Va. (Stonewall Jackson)
Williams rushed for 100 yards for the fifth time this season -- a Hokie freshman record -- in a 28-23 loss to Georgia Tech. Despite limited practice time during the week due to illness, Williams amassed 100 yards on 14 carries (7.1 yards per carry) and scored on a season-high 66-yard run in the third quarter to bring the Hokies to within four points of Georgia Tech at 14-10. Williams later caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyrod Taylor that again put the Hokies within striking distance of the Jackets.
Here are the ACC's top performers for Week 7:
Boston College running back Montel Harris: He set two school records in the Eagles' 52-20 rout of NC State. Harris had 264 yards rushing and five touchdowns. It was an impressive accomplishment considering the Wolfpack entered that game holding opponents to just 62.8 rushing yards per game. On the second series, Harris lined up in the Wildcat formation and took off for 70 yards. He scored on the next play for a 7-0 lead and continued to run at will from that point on.
Clemson running back C.J. Spiller: He wanted to prove he's more than just a return threat, and Spiller did that with touchdown runs of 66 and 14 yards in the Tigers' 38-3 win over Wake Forest. He finished with nine carries for 106 yards. His 66-yard touchdown was the fifth scoring play of at least 63 yards this season for Spiller and pushed the ACC's all-purpose career yardage leader past 6,000 yards -- a first in league history.
Virginia defensive end Nate Collins: His 32-yard interception return in the third quarter gave Virginia the lead for good and helped seal a 20-9 win over the Terps and kept the Cavaliers undefeated in conference play. It was his first career interception and the first by a Virginia lineman since Nick Jenkins did it in 2008.
Georgia Tech's defense: After giving up an average of 37.5 points and 513 yards over the past two games, Georgia Tech held the Hokies to 334 yard of total offense and, with the exception of a 66-yard touchdown run, kept running back Ryan Williams in check most of the night. The Hokies were scoreless in the first quarter, and defensive coordinator Dave Wommack did a great job of getting his players ready for a much improved Hokies' offense.
Miami coach Randy Shannon: With a 5-1 record, Miami is off to its best start since 2005. He has the Hurricanes ranked in the top 10. And they haven't lost focus in the past two weeks despite playing against lesser opponents. Oh, and he's the one who hired Mark Whipple as offensive coordinator. It's time to give this man a sticker -- and a contract extension.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
The weekly injury reports have all come in (some come in much later than others, which is why I wait until Friday mornings to do this). If you don't see 'em, they weren't sent. Maryland will miss Bruce Campbell again, Duke has a handful of key players who could miss the game at Kansas, including Vince Oghobaasse, Virginia is likely to be without Vic Hall, and Boston College will be without defensive tackle Damik Scafe. Not good news for any of those teams. It looks like UNC might -- might -- get Jonathan Cooper back on the offensive line. That would be a huge help.
Here are the full reports:
FB James McCluskey (Achilles) – OUT
LB Will Thompson (shoulder) – DOUBTFUL
WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee) – DOUBTFUL
LB Mike McLaughlin (Achilles) – DOUBTFUL
DT Damik Scafe (Neck/Shoulder) – DOUBTFULCLEMSON
Out for the Season
J.K. Jay, OT, back
Michael Palmer, TE, hipDUKE
RB Re'quan Boyette (ankle) -- Probable
TE Danny Parker (ankle) -- Probable
RB Jay Hollingsworth (ankle) -- Questionable
DT Vince Oghobaase (leg) -- Questionable
WR Conner Vernon (ankle) -- Doubtful
RB Kyle Griswould (leg) -- OUT
CB Randez James (hand) -- OUT
S Anthony Young-Wiseman (knee) -- OUT FOR SEASONFLORIDA STATE
OT Antwane Greenlee (knee)
LB Aaron Gresham (knee)
DT Demonte McAllister (knee)
DT Justin Mincey (knee)
OT John Prior (knee)
LB Vince Williams (back)
RV Korey Mangum (shoulder)MARYLAND
Out for season:
Nolan Carroll (leg)
Louis Berman (leg)
Bruce Campbell (foot)
Jamari McCollough (foot)
Caleb Porzel (leg)
Joe Vellano (foot)
Tony Logan (shoulder)NORTH CAROLINA
Carl Gaskins OL Knee
Matt Merletti S Knee
Lowell Dyer C Shoulder
Dwight Jones WR Knee
Zack Pianalto TE Foot
Ryan Taylor TE Knee
Linwan Euwell LB Ankle
LeCount Fantroy CB Thigh
Jonathan Cooper OG Ankle
Devon Ramsay RB ThighNC STATE
OUT FOR SEASON
Mario Carter, TE - knee
Denzelle Good, OL - shoulder
Nate Irving, LB - leg
Colby Jackson, FB - knee
Everett Proctor, QB - shoulder
Jamelle Eugene, HB - knee
Clem Johnson, S - thigh
Jeff Rieskamp, DE - hip
Jay Smith, WR - flu
Jake Vermiglio, OT - lower leg
Javon Walker, DB - knee
Julian Williams, OG/OT - flu
Johnson will be replaced by either Brandan Bishop or Justin Byers; Williams will be replaced by Andrew Wallace.VIRGINIA
Bobby Smith (knee)
Vic Hall (hip)
Mikell Simpson (leg)
Denzel Burrell (hip)
BJ Cabbell (ankle)
Nate Collins (knee)
Matt Conrath (spine)
Chris Cook (hip)
John-Kevin Dolce (foot)
Ausar Walcott (knee)VIRGINIA TECH
Greg Boone (SC joint sprain) - probable
Stephan Virgil (knee) - questionable