ACC: what-to-watch-111711

What to watch in the ACC: Week 12

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
10:15
AM ET
You know you have to watch the Coastal Division standings. You know you have to watch bowl eligibility. Throughout the league, though, this week is all about records that were meant to be broken. Here are 10 more things worth keeping an eye on this week, in no particular order:

1. Virginia Tech running back David Wilson and the ACC record books: He is approaching several ACC records --consecutive 100-yard games within one season (eight, Tiki Barber, Virginia, 1996); consecutive 100-yard games at any time (nine, Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech, 2006-07); total 100-yard games in a season (10, Don McCauley, North Carolina, 1970). Wilson has had seven straight games of 100 rushing yards or more and nine total this season.

2. Virginia Tech’s seniors. This could be the winningest class in school history, so don’t miss their final appearance in Lane Stadium. The seniors have 40 career wins and the record is 42 by the 2007, 2008 and 2010 classes. Senior receivers Jarrett Boykin (2,646) and Danny Coale (2,478) have combined for 5,124 career receiving yards and rank Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in all-time pass receptions and receiving yards at Virginia Tech.

[+] EnlargeDwight Jones
Dannie Walls/Icon SMIDwight Jones needs 87 yards against Virginia Tech to reach 1,000 for the season.
3. North Carolina receiver Dwight Jones. Carolina has never had a 1,000-yard runner and 1,000-yard receiver in the same season. With Giovani Bernard over 1,000 rushing yards already, Jones (913 receiving yards) needs just 87 yards to give UNC a 1,000-yard rushing-receiving combination.

4. Virginia’s protection of quarterback Michael Rocco. In their ongoing three-game winning streak, the Cavaliers have not allowed a sack in 86 pass attempts. FSU is No. 10 in the country in sacks with 3.1 per game.

5. Virginia’s rushing offense against Florida State’s rushing defense. This is one statistical matchup to watch, as the Cavaliers have averaged 187.6 rushing yards per game, the second-highest amount for the program in the past 12 seasons. FSU has the nation’s No. 4 rushing defense, holding opponents to 85 yards per game.

6. Turnovers in Raleigh. NC State leads the nation with 20 picks, and cornerback David Amerson has accounted for half of them. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is coming off a two-interception performance in the win over Wake Forest that could have been more had the Deacs hung onto the ball.

7. NC State cornerback David Amerson. He is one interception shy of the ACC record, set by North Carolina’s Dre Bly in 1996. No FBS player has picked off more than 10 passes in a season since Wisconsin’s Jim Leonhard had 11 in 2002. If he maintains his pace, Amerson will be the first FBS player to average an interception per game for a season since Georgia’s Terry Hoage (1.20) did it in 1982.

8. Return game at South Florida. The Bulls have allowed only six punt returns all season for a total of -2 yards, which ranks first in the NCAA. The Bulls are the only program nationally that hasn’t allowed a positive punt return margin this year. Miami is No. 37 in the country in punt returns with an average of 10.3 yards.

9. Miami’s defense vs. the big plays. Through nine games, USF has had eight plays over 40 yards -- five over 50 yards -- with six of the seven resulting in touchdowns. In addition, the Bulls have only given up one play over 40 yards.

10. BC linebacker Luke Kuechly. He enters Saturday’s game against Notre Dame with 509 career tackles and is 15 tackles shy of tying the school’s record of 524 held by former Eagle and Detroit Lions great Steven Boyd. It took Boyd four years to accomplish that feat, though, and Kuechly is only a junior. He also needs just seven more tackles to set the ACC career record.

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