Wednesday, January 13, 2010
ACC's top 10 moments of 2009
By Heather Dinich
There were some moments we'd like to forget -- like NC State linebacker Nate Irving's season-ending car crash, Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans' season-ending knee injury last summer, and Duke's widespread case of the swine flu. There were others we'll treasure for many years to come, like Bobby Bowden's final farewell in the Gator Bowl, and the overwhelming support from the ACC schools during Mark Herzlich's battle with cancer. And who could forget Cavman falling off his horse? For better or for worse, they were moments that defined the 2009 ACC season. There were many to choose from, but I've come up with a list of the top 10 moments of 2009.
Bobby Bowden spiked one last bowl win for the Seminoles.
I have a terrible memory, so if you have something from the 2009 season that you don't see here and you'd like to share, drop it in my mailbag, and I'll post them in Friday's mailblog. The toughest call was deciding between Georgia Tech's marathon win over FSU, or FSU's Thursday night comeback over UNC. Decisions, decisions ...
Here are the top 10 moments that won't be forgotten from 2009:
10. Thaddeus Lewis vs. NC State. The senior quarterback completed an astounding 40 of 50 pass attempts for 459 yards and five touchdowns in the 49-28 win over the Pack. He also added one rushing touchdown as the Blue Devils snapped a 20-game road losing streak in ACC play. It was the most points Duke had scored in a conference game since 1994 and started a three-game winning streak in ACC play.
9. C.J. Spiller's kickoff return for a touchdown at Miami. It came with just 46 seconds left in the half and gave Clemson a 14-10 halftime lead. Miami had all the momentum at that point, but a questionable decision to kick to Spiller with under a minute remaining changed that. There were 12 lead changes and two ties in the game, but Clemson earned its first road win over a top-10 team in more than eight years.
8. Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder tackles a safety. Revenge is sweet, unless it costs you the rest of your season. After throwing his fourth interception of the game, Ponder charged head-on at DeAndre McDaniel and separated his right shoulder in the hit. It was a collision that had many thinking the Noles' bowl hopes ended there.
7. Ryan Williams' fumble against North Carolina. He was at his own 24-yard line with 2:02 left in the game when he fumbled. It helped lead to UNC's nationally televised upset of then-No. 14 Virginia Tech in Lane Stadium. Williams was so distraught by it that he didn't go to class the following day.
6. Tyrod Taylor's nine-second scramble in the final minute against Nebraska. The play kept alive an 80-yard completion to Danny Coale, which was followed by Taylor's 11-yard touchdown pass to Dyrell Roberts three plays later with 21 seconds remaining. The impressive finish gave the Hokies a 16-15 win over No. 19 Nebraska.
5. Georgia Tech fans storming the field after beating Virginia Tech at home, 28-23. It was the Jackets' first home win against a top-five ranked team in more than 40 years.
4. The Tallahassee marathon. Georgia Tech and FSU combined for 1,071 total yards of offense and a total elapsed game time of 4:44 that ended in a 49-44 win for Georgia Tech. That game featured one of the more memorable plays of the season, as Josh Nesbitt ripped an apparent fumble recovery away from Florida State's Nigel Carr to preserve the win.
3. Paul Johnson's fourth-down call in overtime against Wake Forest. The Jackets had a fourth-and-1 from the 5-yard line and had been 0-for-4 that night on their previous fourth-down conversion attempts. The Coastal Division title was on the line. Didn't matter. One play later Josh Nesbitt was in the end zone.
2. Florida State coach Bobby Bowden throwing down the spear in the final game of his career. You saw it. ‘Nuff said.
1. Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich announces on ESPN's "College GameDay" that he is cancer free. On Oct. 3, Herzlich was an inspiration to his team yet again, and the Eagles went on to defeat FSU, 28-21. The win gave BC back-to-back Atlantic Division wins and put them in contention to win the division, but more importantly, the ACC's best defender from 2008 said he'll be back in 2010.