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A look around the ACC

Originally Published: October 5, 2004
By Doug Carlson | Special to ESPN.com
Who's to blame for Clemson's offensive woes? What does Virginia think about its lofty ranking? Could Maryland actually be shutout of the postseason? Our ACC notebook addresses those questions, along with looks at FSU's QB question, Virginia Tech's resurgence and more.

Clemson
Though not yet at the season midpoint, Clemson's bowl hopes already are on the line in Thursday night's game at Virginia. At 1-3, the Tigers have only two games remaining that look like easy wins -- Utah State at home on Oct. 16 and Duke on the road on Nov. 13. "We've talked about kind of starting the season over,'' Bowden said. "We've played four, we had an open date, and now we've got a seven-game season.''

  • Clemson's biggest problem is easy to spot and difficult to fix. The Tigers are last among 117 Division I teams in turnover margin with 14 turnovers and only two takeaways in four games. Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has thrown 10 interceptions and lost three fumbles, but he's not entirely to blame. He's had poor pass protection (11 sacks) and no reliable running game to turn to (the Tigers are 97th nationally in rushing at 103 yards a game). In addition, Clemson's receivers have dropped passes at an alarming rate (12 in the last three games), including three potential touchdowns and four passes that were tipped into interceptions. In short, the offensive line deserves more blame than Whitehurst for an offense averaging 22.2 points a game -- on pace to be the lowest scoring team coach Tommy Bowden has ever had.
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