ACC: Tanner Price

ACC's lunch links

March, 11, 2014
3/11/14
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Miami, NC State, North Carolina and UVa are all on spring break and resume practice next week.

ACC Week 14: Did you know?

November, 29, 2013
11/29/13
10:00
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As always, thanks to ESPN Stats & Info and sports information departments everywhere for these tidbits.

MIAMI: Against Virginia, Miami had 45 points with only 11 first downs. The last time that happened at the FBS level was Sept. 13, 1997, when Minnesota (with 11 first downs) beat Iowa State 53-29.

PITTSBURGH: Tyler Boyd is having one of the most productive seasons by a freshman receiver in school history. With one regular-season game left, Boyd has 68 catches, the most of any freshman in the country and one catch shy of Larry Fitzgerald’s Pitt rookie record of 69.

FLORIDA STATE: Alabama and Florida State are 1-2 in the Championship Drive Ratings, while the only other undefeated team, Ohio State, was three spots back at No. 5. FSU has a Championship Drive Rating of 94.3, OSU has a 93.3. While both teams are 11-0, Florida State has controlled in-game win probability (84.6 percent to 81.2) more and has played a slightly tougher schedule (81st to 86th).

DUKE: At 9-2, Duke has already tied its most wins in season (most recently done in 1941) and will be going for its first 10-win season. Duke is looking for its first conference championship since 1989 (co-champion in ACC). The Blue Devils have won seven straight games for the first time since 1994 and are looking for their first eight-game winning streak since 1941 (won nine in a row).

NORTH CAROLINA: The Tar Heels are 21-2 against Duke in their last 23 meetings, but they dropped last year's contest in Durham, N.C. They have not lost consecutive contests to the Blue Devils since dropping three in a row from 1987-89.

WAKE FOREST: The Demon Deacons will play their final game Saturday at Vanderbilt, but they have a few records worth aiming for. Jim Grobe remains tied with "Peahead" Walker for the most wins as a head coach in school history with 77. And quarterback Tanner Price (64 total TDs -- 52 passing, 11 rushing, one receiving) remains one off the school record of 65 career touchdowns held by Riley Skinner (60 passing, four rushing, one receiving).

MARYLAND: Following Alex Amidon’s 74-yard touchdown reception for BC, linebacker Marcus Whitfield blocked the ensuing point-after attempt. Defensive back Anthony Nixon grabbed the ball and went 98 yards for the defensive extra point. It marked the first time in program history that the Terrapins have scored a defensive extra point and it is the first defensive extra point scored by an ACC team since Duke’s Kyler Brown intercepted a two-point attempt against FIU on Sept. 1, 2012. Whitfield is the first Terp to block a PAT since A.J. Francis did it against Georgia Tech on Nov. 3, 2012.

NC STATE: With the exception of one game (vs. No. 2 Florida State), Wolfpack conference games have been relatively competitive. In the Wolfpack's other ACC contests, the average difference in the score after the third quarter has been just 7.1 points. In only one game (vs. then-No. 3 Clemson) did the Pack trail by more than a touchdown, and that was only by 13 points following the third quarter.

GEORGIA TECH: Senior A-back Robert Godhigh is one of the nation’s most explosive all-around players. The 5-foot-7 former walk-on has 961 yards from scrimmage (623 rush, 338 catch), and his average of 13 yards per play leads all FBS running backs. 55 percent of his offensive touches result in rst downs or touchdowns. Godhigh has 13 plays from scrimmage of 30-plus yards, which is the fth-most among all FBS players. Of Godhigh’s 961 yards, 389 yards (40.5 percent) have come after contact.

BOSTON COLLEGE: Andre Williams has gained 958 of his FBS-leading 2,073 yards after contact, 254 more such yards than any other AQ running back. Only 35 FBS players have more total rushing yards than Williams has after contact. Williams has broken 28 tackles this season, seven more than any other AQ running back.

SYRACUSE: The Orange have played BC 46 times, the fifth-most frequent opponent in school history. Syracuse owns the series record, 28-18, including an 18-6 mark at home. The old Big East rivals have not met since 2010, when the Eagles won 16-7. A win Saturday would make Syracuse bowl-eligible for the third time in four years. Syracuse is one of three teams (Ohio State and Wisconsin) to not allow a 100-yard rusher this season, though it will certainly get a test from Williams.

VIRGINIA TECH: Florida's nation-best streak of 22 straight bowl appearances will be snapped, meaning the Hokies will be the new leaders, as they will go to their 21st straight bowl this postseason. Opponents have failed to gain a first down on 49 percent of their drives against the Hokies, the highest percentage in the nation. Virginia Tech is also fourth nationally in fewest yards allowed before contact per game on designed runs, giving up just 52.5 ypg.

VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers' eight-game losing streak is their longest in a single season since 1975. They actually outgained Miami by a margin of 483-304, but they were hurt by the Hurricanes' two defensive touchdowns. They are 37-52-5 all-time against Virginia Tech, but the important number to keep an eye on is 32, as Virginia has scored at least that much in each of its last seven Commonwealth Cup wins dating back to 1989.

CLEMSON: Tajh Boyd's five touchdown passes in a 52-6 Senior Day win over The Citadel gave him 102 for his career. The only other active quarterbacks in the FBS with 100 career touchdown passes are Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Old Dominion’s Taylor Heinicke. But the biggest challenge for Boyd comes Saturday at South Carolina, which is 4-0 against the Tigers during Boyd's career, with Clemson failing to score more than 17 points in any of the contests.

ACC Power Rankings: Week 11

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
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1. Florida State (9-0, 7-0; Last week: No. 1): The Seminoles reinforced their standing as one of the top two teams in the nation with a 59-3 win over Wake Forest, yet another game in which the starters were pulled in the second half. The offense did not have its best rhythm but defense and special teams earn A-pluses for their respective performances. Perhaps most impressive was the way Florida State took care of business without one hint of distraction.

2. Clemson (8-1, 6-1; LW: No. 2): Look who is sitting pretty for an at-large berth in the BCS? The Tigers were off Saturday, preparing for a Thursday night contest against Georgia Tech, a team that has given them trouble over the years. But if Clemson can beat the Jackets, FCS The Citdael and then South Carolina in the regular-season finale, another Orange Bowl appearance could very well be in order.

3. Miami (7-2, 3-2; LW: No. 3): We know. It does not seem logical to have the Canes remain at No. 3 after two straight losses. But they are the only other ACC team in the BCS standings (at No. 23). So they stay. For now. But their hold on this spot is precarious to say the least. The preseason favorites to win the Coastal are no longer in control of their destiny after a disheartening loss to Virginia Tech. Two weeks ago, Miami sat unbeaten and ranked No. 7. Now the Hurricanes need help. Big time.

4. Duke (7-2, 3-2; LW: No. 5): Just when things looked incredibly bleak against NC State, the Blue Devils reeled off 21 straight fourth-quarter points to win decisively. DeVon Edwards, with a kickoff return and two interception returns for scores, was honored as the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week. Duke has won five straight, the second-longest streak in the ACC behind FSU. A win over Miami this Saturday would vault them to No. 3 in the standings.

5. Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2; LW: No. 7): It was gut-check time Saturday in Miami, and the Hokies showed they are not going down without a fight. After ugly offensive performances in its past two losses, Virginia Tech had its best showing in years, essentially doing whatever it wanted in a 42-24 win. The Hokies had a season-high 549 yards and Logan Thomas posted his second straight 300-yard game. The last time Tech beat a top-15 team on the road when not ranked was in 1989, a 12-10 at No. 9 West Virginia. We realize the Hokies beat Miami, but they did lose to Duke and BC -- a team not as good as Florida State, the only other blemish on Miami's record.

6. Georgia Tech (6-3, 5-2; LW: No. 4): Trying to rank the Jackets, Virginia Tech, Duke and Miami could almost be considered an exercise in futility. Georgia Tech lost to the Hokies and Hurricanes, so it makes sense to rank those teams ahead. But they beat Duke early in the season and that should count, too. Georgia Tech has won three straight but has fewer wins than the three teams above. Ultimately, we will know much more about this group after its trip to Clemson on Thursday night.

7. Pitt (5-4, 2-3; LW: No. 8): Paul Chryst and the Panthers' program picked up a huge win over No. 23 Notre Dame on Saturday, right when they needed it. After a disappointing performance in a loss to Georgia Tech the week before, Pitt was firmly on the bowl bubble. But now, Pitt should have the confidence and momentum to win at least one more and keep its postseason streak alive.

8. Boston College (5-4, 2-3; LW: No. 6): The Eagles had a harder time than some expected on the road against New Mexico State, but they found a way to win the fourth quarter thanks to the incredible Andre Williams. The senior back scored the game-winning 80-yard touchdown and added another for good measure to finish with a single-game school record 295 yards rushing. It was Boston College's first road win this season and continued an exceptional turnaround under first-year coach Steve Addazio.

9. Syracuse (5-4, 3-2; LW: No. 10): The Orange are also on a winning streak after a 20-3 win over Maryland, inching ever closer to bowl eligibility. Syracuse is now 3-1 against Atlantic Division competition and above .500 for the first time this season. Jerome Smith had his third 100-yard game on the year as the Orange gained more than 200 yards rushing for the fifth time this season. Syracuse is 4-1 in those games.

10. North Carolina (4-5, 3-3; LW: No. 9): Watch out for the Tar Heels, who have won three straight after a 1-5 start and are making a serious push to make a bowl game. Marquise Williams impressed in his first start since Bryn Renner was lost for the season, and the defense has seemed to turn a corner, giving up an average of 14.3 points per game during this winning streak. Granted, two of those wins have come against the two worst teams in the ACC but you can see progress.

11. Wake Forest (4-6, 2-5; LW: No. 11): The outcome against Florida State was perhaps worse than some had expected, if only because senior starting quarterback Tanner Price was benched after throwing three interceptions. Backup Tyler Cameron was not much better, throwing three interceptions of his own. The Deacons have now scored three total points since Michael Campanaro was lost for the season. They might not win another game this year, with contests against Duke and Vanderbilt remaining.

12. Maryland (5-4, 1-4; LW: No. 12): Hard to believe the Terps began the year 4-0 with a Top 25 ranking. The wheels have come off since a 63-0 drubbing in Tallahassee, thanks in part to injuries at key spots on offense and defense. In a 20-3 loss to Syracuse, the offense was abysmal, with 292 total yards and four turnovers. The Terps still have bowl hopes, but given the way they have played in the past three losses, they could just as easily lose out.

13. NC State (3-6, 0-6; LW: No. 13): We thought there was a chance the Wolfpack would struggle this year with a new head coach, new scheme and a young team. But it is safe to say nobody anticipated they would be 0-6 in ACC play, pulling an oh-fer against in-state teams Wake Forest, North Carolina and Duke. The latest came in a 38-20 loss to Duke, in which NC State could not hang on to a fourth-quarter lead or take advantage of Duke's clearly struggling offense. The Blue Devils had four turnovers. But so did the Wolfpack.

14. Virginia (2-8, 0-6; LW: No. 14): What else is left to say about the Hoos? They have not even been competitive in their past two losses, falling to Clemson and North Carolina by a combined 104-24. David Watford was benched in the loss to the Tar Heels after throwing two interceptions, but it seems a little too late for that now.


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- There’s family history here, Mario Edwards Jr. said. In fact, his father had reminded him just hours before Florida State kicked off against Wake Forest on Saturday.

It was 1998 when Mario Edwards Sr., currently a member of FSU’s support staff, picked off four passes against Wake Forest, tying an ACC record.

“He said we were walking into his house,” the younger Edwards said of his father's pregame speech.

On Saturday, 15 years after his father’s record-setting performance, Edwards added to the legacy.

[+] EnlargeJalen Ramsey, Nate Andrews
AP Photo/Nell RedmondJalen Ramsey, left, and Nate Andrews, both freshmen, returned Wake Forest turnovers for scores Saturday.
Edwards was one of five Florida State players with an interception Saturday, a game in which the Seminoles tallied seven takeaways and two defensive touchdowns in a 59-3 rout of Wake Forest.

Demon Deacons starting quarterback Tanner Price threw just four passes before being pulled. Three were intercepted. His backup, Tyler Cameron, didn’t fare much better. In all, Florida State’s defense and special teams accounted for 224 yards and 21 points, dwarfing Wake’s offensive output for the game.

The dominant defensive performance was a tribute to Florida State’s depth. With senior safety Terrence Brooks out with a concussion and junior Tyler Hunter done for the year with a neck injury, the Seminoles started two true freshmen as the defensive backstops Saturday. Jalen Ramsey has been starting the entire season and was joined Saturday by Nate Andrews. The pair accounted for two interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two touchdowns. By the time the starters were all on the bench in the fourth quarter, Wake had just 16 yards through the air.

“Two true freshman safeties and both scored touchdowns,” Jimbo Fisher said. “I mean, they can play the ball, they can tackle, they can run, they can play multiple potions. They’re very good football players.”

Edwards, Terrance Smith and Christian Jones had picks too, while another true freshman, Marquez White, added the game’s final takeaway. Thirty-eight of Florida State’s 59 points followed Wake Forest turnovers.

But if the defense dominated, the offense never quite found its rhythm. Chalk that up to another blowout. Jameis Winston threw for just 159 yards, and for a 15-minute span midway through the first half, he threw just one pass. For the third time this season, Winston’s final pass of the game was an interception, and for the second time in three weeks, he saw just one drive’s worth of action in the third quarter.

None of that mattered much, Winston said. The defense set the tone, and Florida State rolled to another easy win. It’s become habit, and that’s the idea -- particularly with the Seminoles now comfortably in command of their destiny in the BCS title picture.

“The way we’re playing right now, we’re playing like a championship team,” Winston said.

Indeed, it was a championship moment for Florida State on Saturday, though few realized it.

When the game was over, the Seminoles filtered into their locker room and found a trophy waiting. With Saturday’s win, FSU clinched the ACC’s Atlantic Division title and a trip to the conference championship game.

“We saw the trophy, and we were like, ‘OK, this is nice,’” Jones said.

The accomplishment, however, had been a complete afterthought. Florida State’s goals are set so much higher.

After Saturday’s big win, coupled with Oregon’s loss Thursday, those goals are well within reach. Now, Edwards said, it’s simply a matter of following Fisher’s one-day-at-a-time mantra and continuing the dominance.

“Everything is falling into place now,” Edwards said, “just like Jimbo said it would.”

ACC Saturday setup: Week 10

November, 2, 2013
11/02/13
7:00
AM ET
Here’s one last quick look at what’s going on in the ACC this week:

Virginia Tech (6-2) at Boston College (3-4) (ABC/ESPN2 12 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: The Hokies’ hopes of staying in the ACC’s Coastal Division race. Last week’s loss to Duke put Virginia Tech behind Miami, and the Hokies still have to play the Canes. They have no more margin for error, though, if they want to get back to Charlotte. Three of the Hokies’ final four games are on the road, starting today.

Statistically speaking: Nine of the Hokies’ nation-leading 17 interceptions have been contributed by true freshmen.

Quotable: “Now do you come back stronger than ever, mentally tougher than ever, or do you give into it? I think in everyday life people go through that struggle. We as a football team, that's what we'll find out this week.” -- Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer

North Carolina (2-5) at NC State (3-4) (ACC Network, 12:30 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: In-state pride, recruiting turf wars, bragging rights and bowl hopes. North Carolina has to win four of its last five games to become bowl eligible. NC State has to win three of its last five, but the Pack is still looking for its first conference win. UNC is also looking for its first road win in the series since 2005. The Tar Heels snapped a five-game losing streak to their rival last year. The Wolfpack will play four of their final five regular-season games within a 23-mile radius of Carter-Finley Stadium.

Statistically speaking: UNC TE Eric Ebron has 599 receiving yards this year, just 26 yards shy of matching his own school record for single-season receiving yards by a tight end of 625, set in 2012. Ebron is also just five catches behind his school-record tight end reception mark of 40 from a season ago.

Quotable: “All Of These Wolfpack Fans Are In For RUDE AWAKENING Come Saturday! #BeatState #BADLY” -- Ebron, via Twitter

Wake Forest (4-4) at Syracuse (3-4) (RSN, 12:30 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: The Deacs’ bowl hopes. With Florida State and road trip to Vanderbilt on the schedule, Wake’s best hopes at becoming bowl eligible will come today against Syracuse and on Nov. 23 against Duke. For Syracuse, the Orange are looking for their second league win of the season. Cuse has to take advantage of these winnable home games (Wake Forest, Pittsburgh and Boston College). There’s still time for Cuse to get to six wins, but they’ve got some pride on the line right now.

Statistically speaking: Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price has accounted for 62 career touchdowns, just three shy of Riley Skinner’s school record of 65 (60 passing, 4 rushing, 1 receiving) which he set from 2006- 09. Price has thrown 51 touchdown passes, run for 10 touchdowns and was on the receiving end of a pass in the win over Maryland on Oct. 26.

Quotable: “Our guys, really for three games now, have played really, really hard, and we were able to get NC State and we were able to get Maryland and then had a great chance to get Miami and didn't get it done. We've got a team that any time you've got a team that really plays their hearts out and comes up short, your biggest worry as a coach is being able to get them back up again.” -- Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe

Clemson (7-1) at Virginia (2-6) (ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: Clemson’s BCS hopes and Virginia’s bowl hopes. With the loss to Florida State, Clemson simply can’t lose again if it wants to salvage the season with a BCS bowl game. If the Tigers win out, there’s a good chance they can either earn a bid to the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl, depending on how the rest of the ACC and top 10 shakes out. Virginia, meanwhile, has to win out just to become bowl eligible.

Statistically speaking: Sammy Watkins has an AQ-high 516 yards after the catch this season. Watkins had a season-high 109 yards after the catch against Maryland last week. Virginia has scored 13 points off turnovers this season, tied for the sixth fewest in the nation.

Quotable: “But I think their future is very bright, and they're just a few plays away. Nobody wants to hear that, but I think with a little patience this team is going to step up and be one of the surprise teams in the next year or so.” -- Dabo Swinney on Virginia

Pitt (4-3) at Georgia Tech (5-3) (ESPNU, 7 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: The Jackets can become bowl eligible today, and earn the program’s 700th win -- the latter being a milestone Syracuse and Virginia have already reached this season. The good news for the Jackets is that last Saturday’s win assured the program of finishing .500 or better in ACC play for the 19th straight season. Pitt, playing its second straight road game, is trying to bounce back from last week’s surprising loss to Navy. The Panthers still have plenty of time to reach the six-win mark, but they’ve also got two ranked opponents remaining in Notre Dame and Miami.

Statistically speaking: Pitt receiver Devin Street became Pitt’s all-time leader in career receptions last week with 179. He surpassed Latef Grim who tallied 178 career catches from 1998-2000. He now has 186 career catches. Street now has 2,692 career receiving yards and is approaching the all-time record which is held by Antonio Bryant (3,061).

Quotable: “We played really poorly against Virginia Tech. That's probably about as poorly as I've seen our football [team] play maybe since I've been here. I think you have to give them some credit for that, too, but we played horrendously.”—Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson

No. 7 Miami (7-0) at No. Florida State (7-0) (ABC, 8 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: Everything. Florida State, tangled up in a battle with Oregon for the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings, could regain the lead over the Ducks with a convincing win over the Canes. There’s no margin for error if the Noles want to have a shot at playing for the national title. For Miami, the Canes are playing for a possible BCS bid, but they can get to the Orange Bowl by winning the Coastal Division and the ACC championship. With two undefeated top 10 teams, anything is still possible for the winner. If Miami loses, it will even the score with the Hokies and set up a showdown for the Coastal Division lead next week. And, of course, you’ve also got bragging rights, state supremacy and recruiting battles on the line.

Statistically speaking: Jameis Winston has an FBS-high 99.5 third-down Total QBR, on pace to be the highest by any player in the last 10 seasons. Stephen Morris has a 26.9 third-down Total QBR this season, 108th best out of 127 qualified FBS quarterbacks. Morris converts a first down on 30% of his third-down passing plays (sacks + pass attempts), 95th best in the FBS and seven percentage points lower than the national average.

Quotable: “It's good for both schools. It's good for the state of Florida. It's good for the ACC, and it's good for college football. I think it's good all the way around, and like I say, it's one of the great traditional rivalries in the game, and it's great to see both teams up there.” -- Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher


ACC Week 10: Did you know?

November, 1, 2013
11/01/13
10:00
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Miami and Florida State renew their rivalry in Week 10 in a battle of top-10 teams. For fun facts from that contest and all other ones in the ACC this weekend, we thank the schools' sports information departments and ESPN Stats & Info.

BOSTON COLLEGE: Andre Williams leads the ACC and ranks fifth among FBS players with 144.3 rush yards per game this season. Since joining the ACC in 2005, only one BC player has led the conference in rushing over an entire season: Montel Harris in 2010 (113 yards per game).

CLEMSON: Through five games, Tajh Boyd had thrown 14 touchdowns, two interceptions, notched an 80.9 Total QBR rating and was sacked 11 times. In his three games since, Boyd has thrown just three touchdowns with three interceptions while tallying a 56.5 Total QBR rating and getting sacked eight times. Sammy Watkins, meanwhile, has an AQ-high 516 yards after the catch this season, including a season-high 109 yards after the catch last week against Maryland.

FLORIDA STATE: Jameis Winston has an opponent-adjusted QBR of 92.6 this season, third among FBS players. He leads the country in passing touchdowns per attempt, throwing the highest percentage (12.6) of touchdowns per pass attempt in the nation. Of his 183 pass attempts this season, 23 have gone for touchdowns. The Seminoles have won every game by at least 14 points and are one of only three FBS teams that haven’t trailed yet in the second half this season (Alabama and Oregon).

GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets have won two in a row after a three-game losing streak. They have rushed for 394 yards in each of their last two games, and only 11.8 percent of their runs went for zero or negative yards. By contrast, during the three-game losing streak, Georgia Tech averaged 234 rushing yards per game and nearly a quarter of its rush attempts (23 percent) resulted in zero or negative yards.

MIAMI: Stephen Morris has a 26.9 third-down Total QBR this season, 106th-best out of 127 qualified FBS quarterbacks. Morris converts a first down on 30 percent of his third-down passing plays (sacks and pass attempts), tied for 95th-best in the FBS and seven percentage points lower than the national average. His opponent, Jameis Winston, has an FBS-high 99.5 third-down Total QBR, on pace to be the highest by any player in the last 10 seasons. Andrew Luck currently has the highest third-down Total QBR for a completed season (98.9, 2010). Duke Johnson, meanwhile, is averaging an ACC-high 3.3 yards after contact per rush (min. 50 rush).

NORTH CAROLINA: Eric Ebron leads the Tar Heels with 35 catches for 599 yards and needs just six catches and 26 yards to eclipse his school-record marks for receptions and receiving yards by a tight end. Ebron caught 40 balls last season for 625 yards.

NC STATE: Shadrach Thornton rushed for a career-high 173 yards in last week's loss at Florida State, the most rushing yards in a game by a Wolfpack player since 2006 and 18th-most all time. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for his career, too, as he now sits at 1,051 career rushing yards through 16 games.

PITT: Since its 598-yard effort in a win over Duke in its third game, Pitt has averaged just 279.2 yards per game during its last four games. That's the fewest YPG over that span in the ACC. The third quarter could be the difference when the Panthers play Georgia Tech, as Pitt has a negative-19 scoring margin in the third quarter, worst in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets, meanwhile, are outscoring opponents by a combined 63 points in the third quarter, second-best in the conference behind Florida State.

SYRACUSE: The Orange have played Wake Forest just twice before, but the most recent contest was a memorable one, as Syracuse scored 22 straight points in the final nine minutes and overtime to rally for a 36-29 win. The Demon Deacons won the other contest, in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 2006.

VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers face No. 8 Clemson, and Virginia’s last win against an AP top-10 team came in 2005 when it knocked off No. 4 Florida State in Charlottesville. Since then the Wahoos are 0-6 vs. AP top-10 teams, including a 59-10 shellacking by Oregon earlier this season.

VIRGINIA TECH: Logan Thomas threw a career-high four interceptions in last week’s loss to Duke. Virginia Tech is 19-4 in starts by Thomas in which he’s thrown one or fewer interceptions, including a perfect 14-0 mark when he’s pick-free. The Hokies are just 5-7 when he throws multiple interceptions. The Hokies lead FBS schools with 17 interceptions this season and have picked off 17 Boston College passes since 2005, tied for their most against any team over that span (Duke).

WAKE FOREST: Coach Jim Grobe is tied with "Peahead" Walker for the most coaching wins all time with the Demon Deacons, at 77. Quarterback Tanner Price is three total touchdowns away from matching Riley Skinner's school career record of 65.

ACC's lunchtime links

October, 30, 2013
10/30/13
12:00
PM ET
I refuse to tell you what my Halloween costume is, but it is appropriate for a 3-year old.

Q&A: Wake Forest WR Michael Campanaro

October, 25, 2013
10/25/13
2:00
PM ET
Michael Campanaro had quite a homecoming in Maryland this past weekend. The Clarksville, Md., native had 11 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown, making him the program's all-time receptions leader with 217, one more than Desmond Clark. The Demon Deacons routed the Terrapins, 34-10, to win their second straight game and get to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in ACC play.

Campanaro also threw the fourth touchdown pass of his career, a 4-yard strike to quarterback Tanner Price. The redshirt senior faces No. 7 Miami this weekend as the ACC's No. 2 man in catches (55) and receiving yards (704) despite missing the opener with a hamstring injury.

ESPN.com caught up with Campanaro earlier this week.

[+] EnlargeMichael Campanaro
Jeremy McKnight/Icon SMIMichael Campanaro has ascended to the top spot on Wake Forest's all-time receptions list.
Can you take me through the touchdown pass you threw this past weekend?

Michael Campanaro: Yeah, it was a trick play we've been working on the past few weeks. It just really came together exactly how we planned and it was a nice easy toss to Tanner. It was fun switching roles with him out there.

Is that something you had to vouch for a little bit? What is it about your history throwing the football?

MC: I've kind of taken on the duties of throwing the ball with our trick plays since I've been here, so just any time the coaches are designing trick plays I usually get to compete for the job. We usually have a competition for who can throw it, so it's fun. Any time you get plays like that called you get pretty excited.

What did it mean to you to become the school leader in receptions?

MC: It's just really special. I can remember playing Madden with Desmond Clark as a kid in middle school, so to be here breaking his record just meant a lot. To do it against Maryland, my hometown school and it being homecoming, that meant a lot. And also getting the win, that was the biggest thing. So it was a really special day.

Have you ever met or spoken with Desmond? Do you have any kind of a relationship with him?

MC: He actually emailed me (Monday) and we're going to get together (Tuesday) on the phone and just chat a little bit, so I'm excited to talk to him.

You missed the first game with a hamstring injury. You're still second in the conference in catches and receiving yards. What has been working for you?

MC: My teammates have been playing well. I think Tanner has been getting a lot of time back there and he has really been playing great. But also I think just the coaching staff, they've been doing a great job of designing plays and schemes for everyone to do well on offense. Also, I think Coach (Taylor) Stubblefield, my new receivers coach, has done a great job with me helping me out with new things that I haven't learned yet playing the receiver position, so just a lot of factors into why I've been able to be successful so far.

It's rare to have the same quarterback in college for as long as you have. How have you seen Tanner Price grow over the years, and how beneficial has that been for both of you?

MC: It's been a blessing just to play with him my whole career. He's gotten so much better with the knowledge of the game. The things we're doing on offense now are really playing to his strengths. Just him being able to get up to the line and pre-snap read defenses and things like that and make the right decisions. So it's been a blast. We have a great relationship on the field and off so I've had a lot of fun playing with him.

You guys started off a little slow but you've picked it up the last couple of weeks. How would you describe the team's confidence level as you go for a second bowl bid in three years?

MC: Right now it's pretty high. I think we're definitely not satisfied. We know we have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball, but we definitely have some good momentum going into Miami. So I think just after that NC State game we really carried over that momentum into the Maryland game, so we're just continuing to work and get better.

If you could draw it up, how would you like to end your career here?

MC: With as many wins as possible and going to the best bowl we could and getting a bowl victory. I think that's the goal right now. I really want to end twith a winning season. Since I've been here I haven't been a part of a winning team so finishing with a winning record would mean a lot to me.

ACC's lunchtime links

October, 21, 2013
10/21/13
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Will Florida State run the table?

What we learned in the ACC: Week 8

October, 20, 2013
10/20/13
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We learned plenty about the ACC in Week 8:

1. Florida State looks like a national championship contender. If you watched the Noles' complete and utter dismantling of No. 3 Clemson on Saturday night, you probably had flashbacks of the swashbuckling, swaggering days of old. This group has the markings of some of the best teams that helped Florida State establish its rep as one of the most feared programs in the nation. What we saw in Death Valley was merely a continuation of what we have seen to this point in the season -- an outstanding quarterback in the thick of the Heisman race, talent and incredible depth at the skill positions, a dominant offensive line and a suffocating defense. But to see it on the road, in a stadium where the Noles had not won since 2001, cemented this Florida State team as a contender. Now the challenge is playing this way for the remainder of the season. No slip-ups against NC State or Wake Forest. Beating rivals Miami and Florida. This team is completely capable of running the table and winning every game by double digits. Time for these guys to shed their underachiever label and get the job done.

[+] EnlargeJameis Winston
Scott Clarke/ESPN ImagesFlorida State signal-caller Jameis Winston was 22-of-34 passing vs. Clemson with 444 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
2. Clemson does not. Clemson fumbled on the first play of the game, and it just went downhill from there. But here is the thing: Clemson is not a bad team. Florida State made Clemson look like a bad team; Florida State made Clemson look like Maryland. That is more a testament to Florida State than anything. Having said that, quarterback Tajh Boyd had perhaps the most disappointing game of his career. He has played poorly before and lost rival games before. But there was more on the line in this game than in any previous contest he started. Simply put, he did not rise to the occasion. Boyd and his teammates let the big moment swallow them up, and they let the mistakes they made early in the game rattle them. They were out of this game mentally by halftime. Boyd finished 17-of-37 for 156 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, along with a lost fumble and a Total QBR of 34.7. His counterpart, redshirt freshman QB Jameis Winston, was the one who remained calm, confident and poised.

3. Miami has work to do. After the Canes struggled to beat North Carolina on Thursday night, just about everybody started to question whether they were a top-10 team. That win looks a lot different today after the chaos that unfolded Saturday. Miami is fortunate to have escaped Week 8 with a victory, and that will keep the unbeaten Canes in the top 10. Still, there are some issues to address. Two stand out: turnovers and QB Stephen Morris. To reiterate, Miami has 12 turnovers in its past three games. If the Canes keep giving the ball away at this clip, they will not stay unbeaten. Morris has been inconsistent all season, but he played his worst game Thursday against the Tar Heels, throwing four interceptions, zero touchdown passes and compiling an adjusted Total QBR of 46.1. All of a sudden, Virginia Tech looks like it has as much of a chance of winning the Coastal as Miami.

4. Wake, Duke, Georgia Tech bolstered bowl hopes. Believe it or not, Duke and Wake Forest are the class of North Carolina football to this point, the only two ACC programs in the state with winning records. The Blue Devils need just one more win to become bowl-eligible for a second straight season; Wake Forest needs two more after completely handling Maryland 34-10 in a game that featured quarterback Tanner Price scoring three different ways (passing, rushing and receiving). Meanwhile, the Jackets ended a three-game losing skid with a 56-0 win over Syracuse in the type of offensive performance coach Paul Johnson had been waiting on. The rushing game worked to near perfection (394 yards, 14 different rushers), and perhaps best of all, the Jackets had zero penalties.

5. Mike London watch. There is little doubt that Virginia coach Mike London is firmly on the hot seat after his team blew a 22-0 lead at home to Duke, giving up 35 unanswered points and losing 35-22. After building the lead, Virginia had five consecutive three-and-outs. Duke finally found a rhythm with both Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette after struggling early in the game. Virginia has now lost four straight, dropping to 0-3 in the ACC. The remainder of the schedule is brutal, too. Of the five games left, only one team -- North Carolina -- has a losing record. The Hoos might have blown their best shot at a victory the rest of the way. London is 6-13 since the start of last season, leaving you to wonder how much time he has left in Charlottesville.

ACC weekend rewind: Week 6

October, 7, 2013
10/07/13
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There were plenty of fireworks across the ACC this past weekend. There is now one fewer undefeated team, too. Here's a look back at the weekend that was in the conference as some teams reach the halfway point of their seasons.

[+] EnlargeJameis Winston
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsJameis Winston was unstoppable yet again, as the redshirt freshman is moving up Heisman watch lists.
The good: Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd further solidified their standings among early-season Heisman Trophy contenders, and their teams now look destined for a collision course Oct. 19. Winston completed 23 of 32 passes for career-bests of 393 yards and five touchdowns, respectively. He also added 24 rushing yards in Florida State's 63-0 rout of Maryland. Meanwhile, Boyd completed 20 of 27 passes for 455 yards with touchdowns and two interceptions. The national spotlight will be on Death Valley once again in two weeks, as the game between the Seminoles and Tigers will have large implications in both the awards race and the national title race.

The bad: Virginia accounted for the ACC's lone nonconference loss Saturday, falling 48-27 to Ball State at home and again making its Week 1 win over BYU look more and more like a mirage. The Cavaliers were outscored 24-3 in the game's final 16 minutes as they fell below .500. Their normally stout defense surrendered 506 total yards of offense, a far cry from its stingy performance a week earlier in a 14-3 loss at Pitt. The Cavaliers remain just 0-1 in ACC play, but need answers fast if they hope to finish the season at .500 and go bowling.

The ugly: For as much credit as FSU deserves for its 63-0 rout of Maryland ... this game said plenty about the Terrapins, too. For one, they were ranked No. 25 coming in, and were 4-0. Secondly, they made all kinds of bad history. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Maryland was on the losing end of what is now tied for the largest margin of victory over a ranked team since the AP poll began in 1936. (UCLA beat No. 11 Texas 66-3 in 1997.) This was also the largest margin of defeat for any team in an ACC game in league play. Maryland entered the game No. 6 nationally in total defense and No. 3 in scoring defense. The Terps dropped to 22nd and 33rd, respectively.

The resurgence: Logan Thomas is beginning to look more and more like the Logan Thomas everyone expected from the Virginia Tech quarterback two years ago. And, more important, he has the Hokies looking like a viable Coastal Division contender. Thomas completed 19 of 28 throws for 293 yards against North Carolina, matching a career high with three touchdown passes in a 27-17 win to get to 2-0 in conference play. Thomas, who had miserable start to the season (48.5 percent completion rate, four touchdowns, six interceptions), has now churned out consecutive strong performances to open conference play, as he was coming off a win at Georgia Tech in which he started the game 9-for-9 and finished 19 of 25 for 221 yards and a touchdown.

The workhorse (again): Andre Williams just keeps going and going, and going some more. The senior helped Boston College eclipse last season's win total, as a 48-27 win over Army got the Eagles to 3-2 under first-year coach Steve Addazio. Williams carried the ball 30 times for career-bests of 263 yards and five touchdowns. The five scores tied Montel Harris' single-game school record. The 263 yards were one shy of Harris' single-game BC record, although Williams actually held the record for a very brief moment before losing a yard on his final carry of the game. Williams has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in four of five games this season, and he now leads the nation in rushing yards per game (153.6) and total carries (133) while ranking third in rushing yards (768).

The in-state stand: Few would have argued entering Saturday that Wake Forest was the worst team in the ACC. But the Demon Deacons reversed course against NC State, getting a huge lift from Tanner Price and Michael Campanaro to pull off the 28-13 upset. Surprisingly enough, it was Wake's sixth straight home win against the Wolfpack, who have not won in Winston-Salem, N.C., since 2001, when Philip Rivers was their quarterback. NC State looked to have a favorable road ahead of it after a 3-1 start (and close loss to Clemson), but the Pack now find themselves in an 0-2 hole in conference play. The imminent return of quarterback Brandon Mitchell should provide a boost.

The slide …: When will it end for North Carolina? The Tar Heels have now lost three in a row, and their next game is next Thursday at undefeated Miami. Marquise Williams got the surprise start at quarterback in place of Bryn Renner (foot) and was stellar, but he and the Tar Heels offense turned it over to Virginia Tech three times while generating zero takeaways, erasing what was the best offensive output against the Hokies this season (376 total yards). A block-in-the-back penalty on what would have been an 82-yard Ryan Switzer punt return marked the third straight week UNC had a touchdown revoked because of a penalty.

… and the surge: Miami is up to No. 13 in the country after improving to 5-0 with a 45-30 win over Georgia Tech, placing themselves in the driver's seat, along with Virginia Tech, of the Coastal Division. What was impressive this time around was the way the Hurricanes recovered when down 17-7, as they went on a 38-6 run over a 37-minute stretch -- against a very good Yellow Jackets defense -- to seize control of the game and win their conference opener. The win was big for the Sunshine State too, as Saturday marked the first time all seven of Florida's FBS teams won in the same day.

Welcome to the ACC: Syracuse surrendered a touchdown 38 seconds into its first-ever ACC game and never really could keep pace with Clemson in its 49-14 home loss, the Orange's first home loss since the start of last season after six straight wins. Hopes of pulling off another big home upset (Louisville in 2012, West Virginia in 2011) were washed away fairly early. Terrel Hunt struggled against good competition, going just 8-of-24 for 52 yards with three picks, while Scott Shafer lost his cool on the sideline when Dabo Swinney went for it on fourth down up 28 in the second quarter, though Shafer apologized after.

ACC Power Rankings: Week 6

October, 7, 2013
10/07/13
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There were a few tweaks to the lineup this week. And congrats to Wake Forest, you got a promotion:

1. Clemson (5-0, 3-0 ACC; LW: No. 1): The Tigers had no trouble playing in the Dome at Syracuse, as quarterback Tajh Boyd had another Heisman-worthy performance, throwing for 455 yards and five touchdowns in just three quarters of a 49-14 win at Syracuse. Clemson faces a relentless Boston College team at home this week before the Oct. 19 showdown against Florida State.

2. Florida State (5-0, 3-0; LW: No. 2): The Seminoles’ defense was called into question this past week and it answered with a resounding 63-0 shutout of the Terps. It was a dominating performance in all facets of the game, and just what the Noles needed heading into their bye week as they begin preparing for Clemson.

3. Miami (5-0, 1-0; LW: No. 3): The Canes continue to find a way to win, and have established themselves as the team to beat in the Coastal Division. Miami’s 45-30 win over Georgia Tech sets the stage for a season-defining game against Virginia Tech on Nov. 9, but a Thursday night game against the struggling Tar Heels looms first. The Canes are on a bye this week.

4. Virginia Tech (5-1, 2-0; LW: No. 5): The Hokies have now had two straight games in which quarterback Logan Thomas looked much-improved from a season ago, and it has made a difference. Virginia Tech's 27-17 win over North Carolina put the program back in the top 25 as it prepares to host Pitt his weekend.

5. Pitt (3-1, 2-1; LW: No. 6): The Panthers are coming off a bye week, but they’ve won three straight, including back-to-back conference games against Duke and Virginia. This will be their first road trip against a top-25 opponent, and while they’ve won the past four games in the series against Virginia Tech, they’re the ones with something to prove in Blacksburg.

6. Maryland (4-1, 0-1; LW: No. 4): The Terps came crashing back to reality with their humbling loss in Tallahassee, and they lost starting quarterback C.J. Brown to a concussion in the process. Things couldn’t have gone much worse for Maryland, but the schedule is conducive to a rebound if Maryland doesn’t let the Noles beat them twice. The Terps will face Virginia at home this weekend.

7. Georgia Tech (3-2, 2-2; LW: No. 7): The Yellow Jackets started the season strong, but back-to-back Coastal Division losses to Virginia Tech and Miami have them on the outside looking in at the Coastal Division race. It’s not going to get any easier with a road trip to BYU this week, and starting quarterback Vad Lee has been inconsistent and turnover-prone.

8. NC State (3-2, 0-2; LW: No. 8): The Pack just can’t seem to shake the curse of Winston-Salem, as NC State lost to Wake Forest for the sixth straight time on the road. It has been 12 years since NC State won at Wake Forest, and two turnovers contributed to it this season. The Pack returns home to host Syracuse this weekend.

9. Boston College (3-2, 1-1; LW: No. 9): Running back Andre Williams ran for 263 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-27 win over Army. The Eagles just don’t quit, and their ability to continuously run the ball through Williams has been their identity. They’re going to need more than that, though, to pull off the upset of No. 3-ranked Clemson this weekend in Death Valley.

10. Duke (3-2, 0-2; LW: No. 11): The Blue Devils had a bye this week and are trying to string together back-to-back wins with another against Navy on Saturday. Having played Georgia Tech about a month ago should help the defense, considering they run similar option offenses.

11. Wake Forest (3-3, 1-2; LW: No. 14): The Deacs finally got their offense going in a 28-13 win over NC State, thanks to quarterback Tanner Price and standout receiver Michael Campanaro. A little home-field advantage over the Pack never hurts, either. It was a big win that helped keep the Deacs’ bowl hopes alive. They’ve got a bye week to continue to get better before hosting Maryland.

12. Syracuse (2-3, 0-1; LW: No. 10): The Orange had no answer for Tajh Boyd & Co., and they missed out on their own opportunities with mistakes like dropped passes, four turnovers and an inability to convert on third down. It wasn’t the introduction to the ACC Syracuse was hoping for, but the Orange has a chance to rebound this weekend at NC State.

13. North Carolina (1-4, 0-2; LW: No. 13): The Tar Heels have fallen far and fast, but we’d still pick ‘em to beat the Hoos right now, in spite of the fact they have the worst record in the ACC. The difference against the Hokies was three turnovers, and while backup quarterback Marquise Williams played a respectable game in place of injured starter Bryn Renner, it was his final pick in the fourth quarter that sealed it for Virginia Tech.

14. Virginia (2-3, 0-1; LW: No. 12): Virginia’s defense had been a highlight, until it allowed Ball State 506 yards. It lost 48-27 on Saturday to a MAC team -- at home. Virginia coach Mike London insisted this offseason that he’s not concerned about his job security, but it’s hard not to wonder if that sentiment has since changed.

ACC helmet stickers: Week 6

October, 6, 2013
10/06/13
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Here are your top five performers in the ACC for Week 6:

Florida State’s defense: Yes, Jameis Winston had another fantabulous game and further validated himself as a Heisman hopeful, but it was the defense that was the story in the 63-0 win over the Terps. FSU’s defense entered the Maryland game facing questions after a poor performance at Boston College but answered its critics in what was the most lopsided win against a Top 25 team in school history, and first shutout of a Top 25 opponent in 16 years. Six different players recorded a pass breakup for a season high, the Noles forced 11 punts and held Maryland to just 33 yards rushing.

Boston College running back Andre Williams: He was the difference in a gritty 48-27 win over Army. Williams tied the school record with five rushing touchdowns and came within a yard of the single-game mark, amassing a career-high 263 rushing yards on the afternoon. His 37-yard touchdown run in the second quarter marked the longest run for the Eagles this season. Three of his five touchdown runs were over 30 yards each.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd: The Heisman hopeful did it again, winning his 26th game as a starting quarterback. He threw for 455 yards and five touchdowns in just three quarters, as Clemson beat Syracuse 49-14. Boyd matched his school record in touchdown passes and broke his own school record for passing yards in a game. He also surpassed 10,000 yards of total offense in his career. He had 450 yards of total offense. His 60- and 42-yard touchdown passes to Adam Humphries set the tone for the game in the first quarter.

Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price: The Deacs’ offense finally found its groove as Price threw three touchdown passes and ran for another to help Wake Forest beat NC State 28-13. Price threw for 268 yards and ran for a career-high 82 more. It was Wake’s sixth straight win against the Pack in Winston-Salem and it helped keep the Deacs’ bowl hopes alive.

Miami running back Duke Johnson: He finished with 325 all-purpose yards in a key 45-30 win over Georgia Tech. He has now finished with at least 100 all-purpose yards in eight of his last nine games and has reached that mark in six straight games. It was his second 300+ all-purpose yard performance in his career. Johnson now has 460 all-purpose yards in his two games against Georgia Tech. Johnson ran for 184 yards against Georgia Tech and 8.4 yards per carry.
Three games into the season, Wake Forest is searching for an offensive identity.

Right now, it looks like a 1-2 mess.

Coach Jim Grobe knows exactly what he has to work with: decent players, good kids, not enough depth and zero margin for error in the ACC.

And apparently against Louisiana-Monroe. And Army.

[+] EnlargeJim Grobe
Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY SportsAt 1-2, Jim Grobe's team is facing a must-win at Army on Saturday.
“I don’t think it’s a program thing, it’s just the way Wake Forest is always going to be,” Grobe told ESPN.com on Monday. “We’re going to be a team that’s got some talented kids, we’re not overly talented, we don’t have a lot of depth. We can’t afford too many injuries like what happened to us last year. But more than anything else, we’re just a team that’s capable, but we’ve really got to play good every week. Some teams are talented enough that they can have four or five down weeks a year and still play good enough to win, but Wake is not that way. We’ll never be that way in this league, or even with the teams we play nonconference. We’re a team that has to play good every Saturday, and any time we don’t play pretty good, we’re not going to win.”

Hence the past two weeks and the 1-2 start, with the lone win over an FCS team and last week’s 21-19 loss to Louisiana-Monroe of the Sun Belt Conference.

Of everything that has happened in the ACC this month, the ineptitude of Wake Forest's offense might be the biggest surprise. After a 5-7 finish in 2012 and just one bowl appearance in the past four seasons, the shine of the 2006 ACC title has started to rust. Wake Forest is not going to win the Atlantic Division every year, but fans should expect to be bowl eligible under Grobe on a more consistent basis. Right now, just four weeks into the season, that’s already in jeopardy.

The Deacs’ offense has been downright ugly. The defense has been on the field too long. While much of the attention has been on the lack of a running game (70 rushing yards total in the past two games) and whether or not the staff should continue to run the option, the bigger problem has been the fact that Wake was unable to win with its passing game when defenses have shut down the run.

The bulk of the problems start up front, with an offensive line that is fragmented and continues to battle injuries -- a carryover of last year's problems. Pass protecting, run blocking -- it's all an issue, but it wasn't that long ago that the staff showed what it could do with a capable line. In 2011, when the Deacs had four veteran linemen, they broke the school record for pass offense and went to a bowl game.

"We thought we really had it down," said offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke. "We beat Florida State again that year, and we thought, 'Ok, we've got it figured out. We have our offensive identity.' Last year we tried to come in with that same stuff, but the breakdown was offensive line issues. ... A lot of stuff has happened to our O-line and I think we're still struggling to find out what our offense is with this offensive line ever since that round of guys graduated in 2011. Tanner [Price] hasn't changed. Tanner was a sophomore and we broke the school record for pass offense. I thought, 'Wow, the best is yet to come.'

"We've experimented with a lot of different running plays and running styles the last two seasons now," he said. "... I think we're still trying to nail that down, and we hope we're honing in on this."

The Deacs only ran the ball 15 times against ULM last week, but they only completed 28 of 48 pass attempts. In the past two losses, they’ve converted just 9-of-29 third downs. Against BC, they had three turnovers. Instead of watching receiver Michael Campanaro catch the ball 16 times, Grobe said he’d rather see three receivers catch it five or six times each.

The Deacs like to throw the ball on running plays and use bubble screens. Their top receiver, Campanaro, catches a lot of balls behind the line of scrimmage. If opponents load up the box to try to stop the run, the staff has no problem opening up the passing game.

"We're not hard-headed about running the ball like some people are," Lobotzke said. "If you're not going to defend the run, we're going to run the ball. If you're going to load up on the run, we're going to try to find other avenues. We want to run the ball, but a lot of our running plays result in good passing yardage for us."

Against ULM, the Deacs were 9-for-9 on running plays throwing the ball. But they didn't win.

"The one stat we do care about is winning," Lobotzke said. "We've got to score more and we've got to win more games. At the end of the day, rushing stats be damned, passing stats be damned, we need to score some points, and we haven't. I don't know that there's an answer yet, but we are working our butts off to find it."

They've got about three days.

The Deacs have to travel to Army this Saturday, a game they very well could lose considering how poorly the offense has played. A loss at West Point could trigger a slick downward spiral, starting with a road trip to Clemson on Sept. 28.

“We’ve got to win Saturday,” Grobe said. “I don’t think there’s any question about it. It’s going to be tough if we don’t win Saturday and then heading to Clemson the next week is not going to be good.

Seven straight conference opponents await following the Army game, and the regular season will once again be punctuated with Vanderbilt. Grobe, who is in his 13th season as head coach of the Deacs, is just three wins away from reaching the top of Wake Forest's all-time wins chart. At this rate, though, he might not get it, especially if they can’t win on Saturday.

Not that they’re not trying.

At 6:30 a.m. on Monday, Wake Forest was back in the weight room, working to lift its focus from the disappointing loss to moving on to this weekend’s game at Army. Grobe was his usual pleasant self on Monday afternoon, not sounding discouraged or frustrated. Instead, he was matter-of-fact about what needs to happen moving forward: get healthy, stay healthy and play better.

“We’ve got to keep working at it,” Grobe said. “Our job is to teach the kids better. It’s not just the kids. We’re Wake Forest. We’re an academic school playing in a big-time league. We don’t have great depth, and we have good players, but we’re not better than everybody on our schedule. We’ve got to play to win. I understand that. When we don’t play well enough to win, I’m not going to tolerate it. We’re going out there this afternoon and work harder than we’ve been working. The coaches are going to work harder, and the players are going to work harder. I know Saturday we can go up to West Point and win, but we’ve got to play good.”

The staff had much higher hopes for the option game heading into the season, and "it just hasn't materialized," Lobotzke said. There’s been a bevy of problems, including injuries to offensive linemen and receivers, youth and an inability to pass protect. Even worse, though, was the apathy on the sideline during the ULM game.

“My biggest problem Saturday was I never felt like our offense had a sense of urgency about them,” Grobe said. “That’s unusual because our kids practice hard. We’ve got good kids. But get to Saturday and each time we had a bad series and we come off ... there just wasn’t a sense of, ‘We’ve gotta get this done.’

“We’ve got to somehow drill into our players that every possession is pretty special, and you’ve got to take advantage of it because you’re not always going to have a chance to take those last-minute drives to win games.”

The clock is ticking for Wake Forest to turn things around.

ACC lunchtime links

September, 13, 2013
9/13/13
12:00
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Enjoy the weekend, gang.

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