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Tuesday, September 22, 2009
On tap in the ACC: Week 4



Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


There are no Thursday night ACC games this week. Virginia has a bye week. Here’s a look at Saturday’s lineup:

No. 22 North Carolina (3-0) at Georgia Tech (2-1) (Raycom, 12 p.m. ET)

The series: Georgia Tech leads, 23-18-3.

Last time: UNC won, 28-7, in 2008.

At stake: If Georgia Tech loses, it puts itself in a serious hole in the Coastal Division standings, having lost potential tiebreaker situations to both Miami and UNC.

Of note: UNC has won just twice in the past 11 meetings, and both wins were in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels haven’t won in Atlanta since 1997. Georgia Tech leads the ACC and ranks 16th nationally in rushing offense (243.7 yards per game). North Carolina leads the ACC and ranks seventh nationally in rushing defense (52.3 yards per game).

South Florida (2-0) at No. 18 Florida State (2-1) (ESPNU, 12 p.m. ET)

The series: First meeting.

Last time: First meeting.

At stake: Momentum. The Noles are coming off an impressive thumping of then-ranked No. 7 BYU, but it’s time to see how they handle success. Another win this weekend would give them a surge heading into next week’s Atlantic Division road trip to Boston College.

Of note: A total of 40 players in these two programs were high school teammates. That’s just one more than when FSU meets Miami. Among those roster connections are South Florida backup quarterback B.J. Daniels, who will replace injured quarterback Matt Grothe. He attended Lincoln High with Josh Gehres and Ja’Baris Little.

Wake Forest (2-1) at Boston College (2-1) (ESPN360.com, 2 p.m. ET)

The series: Boston College leads, 8-6-2.

Last time: The Eagles won, 24-21, in 2008.

At stake: Pride. Boston College is coming off its worst offensive performance in decades. For the Eagles to save face – not to mention have any shot at contending for the Atlantic Division -- they’ve got to respond with a respectable performance, even if it comes in a loss. And Wake Forest, knowing how much Boston College has struggled at quarterback, won’t want to fall behind early in the division race to a team that could only muster 54 yards of total offense last weekend.

Of note: Wake Forest has now converted 10-of-11 red zone attempts and has produced nine touchdowns and one field goal when reaching the red zone. BC’s offense might be a problem, but its defense is not. The Eagles, who are ranked fourth nationally, have held their opponents to just 187.7 yards per game in total offense and last week held Clemson without an offensive touchdown.

No. 15 TCU (2-0) at Clemson (2-1) (ESPN360.com, 3:30 p.m. ET)

The series: Clemson leads, 2-1-0.

Last time: Clemson won, 3-0, in 1965.

At stake: A possible push back into national conversation. Aside from talking about Clemson’s implosion last year, it’s been a quiet season for the Tigers when it comes to big-picture relevancy. Knocking off a top 25 team would help change that.

Of note: Clemson is 7-11-1 at home against nonconference top 25 teams. TCU running back Joseph Turner rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Texas State. TCU is averaging 43 points per game, but the Tigers are holding opponents to 17.

Rutgers (2-1) at Maryland (1-2) (ESPN360.com, 3:30 p.m. ET)

The series: Maryland leads, 5-3-0.

Last time: Maryland won, 34-24, in 2007.

At stake: A losing streak. The Terps need to avoid back-to-back losses heading into their first ACC and Atlantic Division game next weekend against a Clemson team with superior athletes. A road trip to Wake Forest follows in another Atlantic Division game.

Of note: Maryland receiver Torrey Smith is the only player in the FBS to earn at least 225 all-purpose yards in each of the first three games this season. In fact, only two other players--- C.J. Spiller and Tulsa’s Damaris Johnson -- have done it twice. Smith ranks first in the nation in all-purpose yards per game with an average of 249.0.

No. 9 Miami (2-0) at No. 11 Virginia Tech (2-1) (ABC/ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET)

The series: Miami leads 17-9-0.

Last time: Miami won, 16-14, in 2008.

At stake: King of the Coastal. It’s very possible this game will determine the winner in the Coastal Division come November, and it will settle a tiebreaker later if need be.

Of note: Jacory Harris ranks third nationally in passing efficiency. Against Nebraska, Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 12 of 27 passes for 192 yards – 92 of which came on his final game-winning drive. Taylor needs four yards to move past Michael Vick for third place in career rushing yards by a Tech quarterback.

Pittsburgh (3-0) at NC State (2-1) (ESPNU, 3:30 p.m. ET)

The series: Pittsburgh leads, 5-2-1.

Last time: Pittsburgh won, 34-19, in the 2001 Tangerine Bowl.

At stake: NC State’s path. Which direction is the Pack headed? This game will be a much better indicator than Murray State and Gardner-Webb.

Of note: Russell Wilson has now thrown a NCAA-record 329 times without an interception. Aside from a 14-14 tie in 1986, none of the games in this series have been decided by fewer than 11 points, and the average margin of victory is 23.4 points. Pitt’s rushing defense is holding opponents to 80 yards per game.

North Carolina Central (0-3) at Duke (1-2) (theacc.com, 7 p.m. ET)

The series: First meeting.

Last time: First meeting.

At stake: Embarrassment. Duke is still Duke, but even the Blue Devils shouldn’t lose to two FCS schools in one season. NC Central is in the third year of its reclassification from NCAA Division II to Division I and will officially join the MEAC next summer.

Of note: Duke wide receiver Johnny Williams had eight pass receptions last week in a loss to No. 22 Kansas. Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis needs five touchdown passes to tie Ben Bennett’s school record of 55 career touchdown passes.