Here’s a look back at the highlights (and lowlights) of Week 11:
The good: NC State’s bowl eligibility. With its 37-6 win over Wake Forest on Saturday, NC State reached the six-win mark and will go bowling for the third straight year under coach Tom O’Brien. The Wolfpack joined Florida State, Clemson and Duke as the ACC’s only bowl-eligible teams with two weeks remaining in the regular season. It was an important turnaround following a flat, uninspired performance in a Week 10 loss to Virginia. It was also another important lock for the postseason, considering how many ACC teams are still looking for win No. 6.
The much-needed: Florida State’s road win. The ACC’s reputation is hanging in the balance the way it is, but could you imagine if the league’s top-ranked team lost on the road to a five-loss team? Clemson, of course, wouldn’t have minded an FSU loss one bit, but FSU and the ACC avoided disaster on Thursday night in Lane Stadium.
The bad: Defenses. What defenses? UNC didn’t have any. Georgia Tech didn’t have any. Miami was without three of its defensive starters, Maryland was without its leading tackler, and Virginia just didn’t play much of it. Even Florida State’s defense was friendlier than usual, allowing the usually stagnant Hokies offense 385 total yards.
The ugly: FSU’s running game, which was held to minus-15 yards. The Noles entered the game with the No. 14 rushing offense in the country. Hey, at least the Hokies played some D.
The painful: Wake’s pass protection. The Deacs were beaten soundly up front all game by NC State, and quarterback Tanner Price was sacked five times. He was throwing under pressure all afternoon, and completed 18 of 33 passes for no touchdowns and one interception.
The record: Georgia Tech’s 68 points were the program’s most in an ACC game. Georgia Tech and UNC set a record for the most combined points in an ACC conference game, breaking the old record of 106 set on Oct. 31, 1981, when Clemson beat Wake Forest 82-24. Speaking of Clemson ...
The record II: Clemson set a school record with 12 straight home wins.
The campaign: What more does Duke Johnson need to do to solidify his rookie of the year campaign? Nada. He had 368 all-purpose yards in the loss to UVa. He threw an 8-yard touchdown pass, giving him at least one score passing, rushing, receiving and off a kick return this season. Johnson set a personal best with 150 yards on 16 carries.
The quote: “It was a whole lot different today than one week ago. We got back to playing the way we did the previous four weeks. I think it took a lot out of our guys coming down to so many games decided on the final play, but that is no excuse for our performance last week. The last thing I said to them was we are at a fork in the road. We can either go to a bowl game, or go the other direction. They all stood up and said they are going to a bowl game.” -- NC State coach Tom O’Brien