Wednesday, November 16, 2011
ACC superlatives watch: Week 12
By Heather Dinich
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s starting to be a pattern here. The biggest problem is going to be choosing one of these guys at the end. Here are your weekly front-runners for the ACC’s top awards:
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd: He certainly didn’t play his best game against Wake Forest, throwing two picks and having about five more that could have been intercepted. He was a major factor, though, in getting the Tigers back into the game. Boyd still leads the ACC in passing average per game and total offense. He has completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 3,017 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins: He is the ACC’s top receiver and leads the league in receptions per game and receiving yards per game. He is also second in kick return average and leads the league in all-purpose yards with 187.2 per game. He has 68 catches for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Virginia Tech running back David Wilson: He has now had seven straight games with 100 rushing yards, and leads the ACC with 136.1 yards per game. He has 116 broken tackles and 821 yards after contact this year -- that’s 226 more than Alabama’s Trent Richardson. He also has 24 plays this year over 20 yards.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Miami linebacker Sean Spence: He has been the anchor of the defense all season and has 83 total tackles (15th nationally), 11.5 tackles for loss (tied for 10th nationally) for 37 yards, three sacks for 23 yards and a forced fumble. No other player at a BCS school has won defensive player of the week honors for their conference three times this season.
Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly: He had 18 tackles against NC State last weekend, nine of which came in the final 13 minutes. He also has 10 or more stops in 32 consecutive games. He is one of only four players with 500 or more career tackles since the NCAA began tracking the statistic in 2000.
Duke safety Matt Daniels: Daniels is tied for second nationally in passes defended and tied for third nationally among all defensive backs in tackles per game. Daniels enters this week having made 300 career tackles, including 102 this season, a 10.2tackles per game average which ranks him second among all defenders in the ACC and 15th nationally.
COACH OF THE YEAR:
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney: He has led the Tigers to their second Atlantic Division title in three years and an undefeated 7-0 record at home this year. It was a remarkable, unexpected turnaround for a team that was 6-7 last year and entered this season with an entirely new offensive system, new coordinator and new starting quarterback.
Virginia coach Mike London: Expectations were low for the Hoos in London’s second season, but he already exceeded them by getting the team to bowl eligibility. Now only two wins stand between Virginia and the Coastal Division title.
Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe: Had the Deacs defeated Clemson on the road last weekend, Grobe would have topped the list. He must still be considered at this point, considering how well Wake Forest played against the Tigers, and what a turnaround this season has been for a team that finished 3-9 a year ago. The next step is bowl eligibility.