Atlantic Coast Conference News and Notes

Published November 25, 2013

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ATLANTIC DIVISION

BOSTON COLLEGE: Andre Williams has officially joined the Heisman party. With 263 yards rushing and two touchdowns in Boston College's 29-26 win over Maryland, Williams became the 16th player in NCAA history to surpass 2,000 yards in a season. Despite another stellar performance by Williams, it was place kicker Nate Freese that sealed the victory with a 52-yard field goal with two seconds left in the fourth quarter. Still, the attention given to Williams is certainly justified, as he now has 2,073 yards rushing on the year on 320 carries, with 16 touchdowns. Those kind of numbers, coupled with some of the frontrunners stumbling this past weekend has to have turned some head Williams' way in the Heisman race. Williams will get an opportunity to add to his gaudy numbers at Syracuse in the regular-season finale as the 7-4 Eagles attempt to close out Steve Addazio's first season at the helm with a fifth straight win.

CLEMSON: Senior quarterback Tahj Boyd put on quite the show for the hometown faithful, as he played his last game in Death Valley, closing out his distinguished career with 288 yards and five TD passes, on 21-of-28 passing against an out-manned Citadel squad. All five of Boyd's TD strikes came in the first half and went to five different receivers. In all, Clemson amassed 558 yards of total offense against the Bulldogs, while limiting their opponent to a meager 172 yards. It marked Clemson's 10th win of the season, the third straight campaign in which the Tigers have reached the 10-win mark. The win also gave the 2013 senior class 24 home wins, tied for the most in Clemson history with the 2012 class. The Tigers will close out their regular-season on the road, when they make the short trip to Columbia this weekend for state bragging rights against arch-rival South Carolina.

FLORIDA STATE: There may be a specter or doom over the Florida State program and in particular, its Heisman candidate under center, but Jimbo Fisher's team kept its focus this past weekend on the task at hand and made light work of the Idaho Vandals in Tallahassee, in an 80-7 rout. It was a record-setting performance for the Seminoles, who set a new school record for scoring, breaking an 18-year old record (77 points against NC State in 1995). Despite the distractions outside of football, Jameis Winston continued his Heisman run, passing for 225 yards and four TDs in the romp. Winston now has 32 touchdown passes on the year and is one from tying Chris Weinke's school record (33 in 2000). Winston wasn't the only 'Nole who had a good game, as tailbacks Devonta Freeman (129 yards, 1 TD) and Karlos Williams (114 yards, 2 TDs) both went over the century mark. The 11-0 Seminoles, who are locked in at No. 2 both in the polls and the BCS rankings, have two more hurdles before playing for a national title. The team closes out the regular season this weekend in Gainesville against Florida, before playing in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 7.

MARYLAND: This past weekend's clash with the Boston College Eagles was the final ACC home game for Maryland, which will make the move to the Big Ten next season. The finale didn't end the way the Terrapins would have liked, as a 52- yard field goal by BC's Nate Freese with two second remaining, lifted the Eagles to a 29-26 victory of the Terps. Maryland, like everyone else this season, struggled to contain BC's Andre Williams, who rushed for 263 yards and two TDs and in the process, eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark for the season. While Williams ran wild, Maryland's offense struggled to amass 278 total yards in the game. Quarterback C.J. Brown was 19-of-31 passing, for 178 yards and one TD, while rushing for a score as well. Maryland (6-5, 2-5 ACC) will close out its stay in the ACC this weekend with a road game at NC State.

NC STATE: Brandon Mitchell had a career-day, passing for 312 yards and four touchdowns, but it wasn't enough, as NC State dropped a 42-28 decision to East Carolina in Raleigh. The loss was the seventh straight for NC State, which is just 3-8 overall and winless in league play in Dave Doeren's first season at the helm. Other noteworthy offensive performers included Rashard Smith, who grabbed seven balls, for a career-high 104 yards and one TD, while Quintin Payton caught four balls, for 91 yards in the loss. Freshman Jumichael Ramos had two touchdowns on five catches. The Wolfpack have one more opportunity to stop the losing streak and finally put a check in the ACC win column as they close out their season this weekend at home against Maryland.

SYRACUSE: Syracuse's bid to become bowl eligible fell short this past weekend at home, as the Orange were halted on their final drive in Pittsburgh territory, falling to the Panthers, 17-16. It was a defensive game to be sure, as Syracuse amassed a modest 307 yards, while Pittsburgh finished with a meager 239 total yards. Quarterback Terrel Hunt was 18-of-28 passing, for 159 yards and one TD in the setback. Linebacker Marquis Spruill recorded two tackles for loss, bringing his career total to 39.5 TFL (third in school history). The Orange are 5-6 overall (3-4 ACC) and have one last chance to gain bowl eligibility, as they close out the regular season this weekend against Boston College at home.

WAKE FOREST: The Demon Deacons were up 14-0 early against the Duke Blue Devils, but could not maintain the lead and fell at home this past weekend, 28-21. The loss dropped Jim Grobe's squad to 4-7 overall and closed out its ACC slate at a disappointing 2-6. Wake managed a mere 248 total yards in the loss, getting identical 124 yard efforts on the ground and through the air. Quarterback Tanner Price continued to struggle without All-ACC Michael Campanaro on the outside, as he completed just 12-of-27 passes, for 124 yards, with one TD and one interception. Tailback Josh Harris led the ground game with 67 yards. Senior nose tackle Nikita Whitlock continued his All-American campaign, with a sack in the first quarter. He now has now recorded a tackle for loss in 10 of the 11 games this season and has nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss overall, both team-highs. The Demon Deacons will close out their season and try to bring an end to a four-game skid this weekend against rival Vanderbilt.

COASTAL DIVISION

DUKE: Anthony Boone threw three touchdown passes and Duke captured a share of the Coastal Division title with a 28-21 victory at Wake Forest this past weekend. David Cutcliffe's squad continued its fairy tale season with its school-record tying ninth victory of the season. It certainly wasn't pretty in Winston-Salem, but the defense really stepped up when needed, holding Wake Forest to just 248 yards of total offense in the game. Boone was an efficient 24-of-29 passing, for 256 yards and the three scores, two of which went to standout wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who finished the game with 10 catches, for 121 yards. There are still scenarios where Duke is shut out of the ACC Championship Game and a date with the mighty Florida State Seminoles, but the Blue Devils do control their own destiny and can punch their ticket to the title game by beating arch rival North Carolina in the season finale this weekend.

GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets took a break from FBS action this past weekend and hosted Alabama A&M in what turned into a 66-7 romp at home for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets rushed for 428 yards in the game as David Sims ran for 111 yards and one TD, while Synjyn Days and Matt Connors each had two rushing touchdowns in the lopsided affair. In all, the team amassed eight rushing scores and broke a school record with 52 first-half points, their largest half-time lead since 1950. In an effort to keep players healthy and not run up the score even more, Georgia Tech used mostly third- and fourth- string players in the second half. The Yellow Jackets (7-4), will close out the regular season this weekend with their annual finale against rival Georgia.

MIAMI-FLORIDA: It was a complete team effort, as Miami racked up 304 yards of offense and scored two defensive touchdowns in last weekend's 45-26 win over Virginia. With the win, Miami moved to 8-3 on the season and kept its slim hopes of a Coastal Division crown alive at 4-3 in the ACC. Quarterback Stephen Morris passed for 214 yards and two touchdowns, Dallas Crawford added two scores on the ground and wideout Allen Hurns led the way with 126 receiving yards and one TD for Miami, which ended a three-game losing streak. Tracy Howard recorded an interception that he returned for a touchdown on the first play of the game. Miami now has 17 interceptions on the season, the most since 2003. The Hurricanes need a lot of help this week to earn the divisional crown. The team needs to win at Pittsburgh and have both Duke and Virginia Tech to loss their season-finales.

NORTH CAROLINA: Larry Fedora's Tar Heels continue their strong run towards the end of their season, as they made light work of Old Dominion this past weekend in Chapel Hill, setting records in an 80-20 rout. Quarterback Marquise Williams was exceptional, throwing five fist-half TD passes in. The Tar Heels set school records for points and total yards (721). Williams finished 20- of-27 passing, for 409 yards and the five scores. Ryan Switzer (118 yards, two TDs) and Quinshad Davis (124 yards, 1 TD) both went over the century mark in receiving yards. Meanwhile, T.J. Logan rumbled for 137 yards and three TDs on the ground. In the process, the Tar Heels (6-5) became bowl-eligible with their fifth consecutive victory, their longest streak since 2001. UNC will close out the regular season and can play spoiler against rival Duke this weekend, as the Blue Devils will claim the Coastal Division title with a win in Chapel Hill.

PITTSBURGH: The Panthers made a late-game stand in their own territory that sealed a 17-16 win over Syracuse this past weekend and earned Pittsburgh bowel eligibility at 6-5 overall (3-4 ACC). Quarterback Tom Savage finished 28-of-41 passing, for 218 yards and one TD, while Tyler Boyd led all receivers with 10 catches, for 82 yards in the win. Senior tackle Aaron Donald continued his All-American season, being named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the win over Syracuse. Donald finished with nine tackles (eight solo), 3.5 TFL and two quarterback hurries. He made a key play when he blocked an extra-point in the one-point win for Pitt. Donald leads the nation in TFL (26), while ranking 10th in sacks (0.90 per game) and 11th in forced fumbles (0.36 per game). The Panthers close out their regular season this weekend at home against Miami-Florida.

VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers did themselves no favors in Miami this past weekend, as four turnovers directly resulted in 28 points for the hometown Hurricanes, who went on to post a 45-26 win at Sun Life Stadium this past weekend. The loss spoiled a strong offensive showing by Virginia, as the Cavaliers amassed 483 yards on the day. Tailback Kevin Parks led a ground game that rolled up 243 yards, with 130 yards and one TD on 26 carries. David Watford and Greyson Lambert both saw time under center, combining for 240 passing yards in the loss. At 2-9 overall, the Cavaliers will end their season this weekend at home against rival Virginia Tech. Virginia has lost eight straight games and will get one last chance to post a conference win (0-7).

VIRGINIA TECH: Frank Beamer's squad was idle this past weekend in anticipation of the regular-season finale at rival Virginia on Nov. 30. The Hokies dropped a 27-24 decision to Maryland last time out, ending a five-game win streak and dropping Virginia Tech to 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the ACC. The Hokies still have an outside shot at the Coastal Division title, but need help to get there.

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