NCF Nation: Robert Randolph

ACC power rankings: Week 3

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
8:23
PM ET
Last week was a little bit more revealing about which direction each team is headed this season, but there are still far more questions than there are answers about who is really good in this league. So far, Florida State looks like the most complete team in the ACC, but the Noles have yet to face a high-caliber opponent. That will change this weekend when FSU hosts Oklahoma. Georgia Tech also looked impressive in its win at Middle Tennessee State, and the Hokies’ defense came through at East Carolina. Here’s a look at the latest power ranking for the ACC:

1. Florida State (2-0): The Seminoles cruised to a 62-10 win over Charleston Southern and dominated the game on both sides of the ball. There were some mistakes, though, that just won’t fly this weekend against the Sooners. Still, FSU is right where it is supposed to be heading into the signature game of the season – 2-0.

2. Virginia Tech (2-0): Coach Frank Beamer earned his 200th win as the Hokies snuck by East Carolina 17-10, avoiding a scare from the Pirates. The defense was the highlight, as quarterback Logan Thomas struggled in his second career start. There is still time to get the kinks out, starting this weekend against Arkansas State.

3. Georgia Tech (2-0): The Yellow Jackets showed no sign of a letdown and dominated Middle Tennessee from start to finish in a 49-21 win. The passing game was once again a factor, and quarterback Tevin Washington showed control of the offense. The Jackets host Kansas, which is also 2-0.

4. Maryland (1-0): The Terps had a bye week, and remain in their previous spot. They’ll get a bigger challenge this weekend against No. 18 West Virginia. Maryland is off to a good start under first-year coach Randy Edsall after its win against Miami, but the Terps will have to do better in the red zone against the Mountaineers.

5. North Carolina (2-0): The Tar Heels started out strong in their win over Rutgers, but five turnovers raised questions about this team. One week after a nearly flawless debut, quarterback Bryn Renner struggled. The Tar Heels host Virginia in the first Coastal Division matchup of the season.

6. Clemson (2-0): The Tigers have struggled on both sides of the ball against both Wofford and Troy, leaving some to wonder if they’re really ready for a grueling three-game stretch that begins this weekend against defending national champion Auburn. Coach Dabo Swinney has said repeatedly that his team is a “work in progress.”

7. Miami (0-1, 0-1 ACC): The Hurricanes struggled through the Maryland game without eight suspended players and have switched to quarterback Jacory Harris for the Ohio State game. Turnovers continued to be a problem for the Canes, but they had a bye week to regroup.

8. Wake Forest (1-1, 1-0 ACC): The Deacs rebounded quickly from their season-opening overtime loss to Syracuse with a 34-27 win over Atlantic Division opponent NC State. It was an important win for Wake’s hopes of bowl eligibility and the first move in the conference standings. The Deacs reaped the rewards of playing all four quarters.

9. NC State (1-1, 0-1 ACC): The Wolfpack’s suspect performance against Liberty wasn’t a fluke. This team really does have some questions. Quarterback Mike Glennon revived the offense in the second half, but it was too little, too late against the Deacs. They get what should be a breather this weekend against South Alabama.

10. Virginia (2-0): In a bizarre game that went down to the wire, kicker Robert Randolph delivered the game-winning field goal for a 34-31 road win over Indiana. Another road test awaits, as the Hoos travel to Chapel Hill for their first Coastal Division game of the season.

11. Boston College (0-2): It’s been a disappointing start to the season for the Eagles and a disastrous one for their bowl hopes. The Eagles were outplayed in a 30-3 loss to Central Florida just one week after losing to Northwestern’s backup quarterback at home. BC was 1 of 12 on third downs, and quarterback Chase Rettig was sacked three times and picked off twice.

12. Duke (0-2): The Blue Devils made it interesting for a half against Stanford – were even in a position to be leading at the half – and then the Cardinal hit them with reality, and Andrew Luck. It wasn’t a surprising result, but Duke has a chance to bounce back this weekend against a downtrodden Boston College team.

ACC helmet stickers: Week 2

September, 10, 2011
9/10/11
11:30
PM ET
Remember, I only get five of these, and consideration was given to the level of opponent that was played. Florida State might have looked like the best ACC team out there, but they should have against Charleston Southern. Clemson QB Tajh Boyd had a great game, but again, it came against Wofford. Here's a look at your top five performers for Week 2:

Tanner Price, QB, Wake Forest: He completed 22 of 35 pass attempts for 297 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a key 34-27 Atlantic Division win over NC State. Price set the tone in the first half with 223 yards on 17 of 25 passing. That helped propel the Deacs to a 20-6 halftime lead.

Virginia Tech defense: The Hokies held ECU to 112 yards of total offense, and minus-15 rushing yards in a narrow 17-10 win over East Carolina. They also had five sacks and nine tackles for loss. In an otherwise tight game, Bud Foster’s defense was the difference.

Virginia kicker Robert Randolph: The Cavaliers couldn’t have done it without him. Randolph kicked four field goals, including the 23-yard game-winner to give Virginia a 34-31 win at Indiana. Randolph’s three field goals in the first half helped Virginia to a 16-3 lead.

UNC’s defense. The Tar Heels held Rutgers to just one yard rushing, had three sacks, and made a critical goal-line stand in the first quarter of a 24-22 win over Rutgers. UNC forced a turnover on downs with 2:32 left to play, and the offense ran the clock out from there.

Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington: He ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more as the Yellow Jackets rolled over Middle Tennessee, 49-21. Washington completed 5 of 8 passes for 202 yards, and scored on runs of two and seven yards.

Final: Virginia 34, Indiana 31

September, 10, 2011
9/10/11
10:47
PM ET
Virginia found a way to win, scoring 11 points in the final 6:34 at Indiana. Robert Randolph kicked the game-winning field goal and the Cavaliers finally got that elusive road win and are off to a 2-0 start in Mike London's second season.

It's obviously very early in the season, but Virginia dramatically helped its chances of bowl eligibility by climbing out of a fourth-quarter hole. A 4-0 nonconference record is almost a must-have for the Hoos to have a chance at reaching the postseason earlier than scheduled. Indiana gave Virginia a pretty good scare, scoring 21 fourth-quarter points, but the Cavaliers' two-point conversion attempt tied the game at 31 and gave them one more chance.

Virginia has another road trip looming next weekend, at Coastal Division opponent North Carolina, which will be tough, but this will be an experience to draw from and build upon.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Downfield passes. Disciplined defense. And a little luck. This can't be the same team that lost to William & Mary in the season opener. It's not. Virginia looks like a team capable of contending for the Coastal Division right now, a team that should be taken seriously. And if the Cavs didn't have Georgia Tech's attention by the kickoff, they certainly have it now. Robert Randolph's 49-field goal bounced off the cross bar and in to tie the game at 3.

This home crowd is loving life. They're suffering a steady rain, which is coming down so hard you can see it blowing sideways, and while there are still a lot of empty seats in the upper deck, the Cavaliers' fans finally have a team worth cheering for.

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