Another week, another crazy set of results, particularly in the ACC. Our remaining opponents finished the weekend at 4-2, with the two losses going to NC State (a 30-24 setback to Wake Forest) and North Carolina (a 16-3 loss to Virginia). The two teams that were a combined 0-6 vs. FBS competition going into the weekend - namely Maryland and Virginia - now sit atop the Atlantic and Coastal Division standings, respectively. Huh?
Let us take a trip around the box scores.
Virginia Tech 34, Duke 26. This wasn't your typical Hokies win. The Hokies struggled to put away the Duke offense, and needed a career-high 327 yard passing performance from Tyrod Taylor to put away the Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. Taylor finished the day throwing for 17-of-22, 327 yards and 2 touchdowns in the win. The Hokies scored twice in the final quarter to put away Duke. The bruising Hokies running game never really got humming, with Duke stuffing the run and Ryan Williams finishing with 83 yards on 23 carries. It was the Duke offense that was the surprise of the day, as Duke QB Thaddeus Lewis torched the Bud Foster-led defense for 359 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. Duke all-name kicker Will Snyderwine added four field goals on the day. The Hokies take the short trip back to Durham to host BC this week. Somewhat curiously, the 4-1 Eagles are listed as 13.5 dogs in Vegas.
Wake Forest 30, NC State 24. Riley Skinner continues to work his magic torching ACC secondaries. Skinner threw for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 30-24 victory over the Wolfpack in NC State's ACC opener. However, the story of the day wasn't Wake Forest's quarterback but rather NC State's quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson saw his NCAA record 379 pass streak without an interception broken. And Wilson threw not one but TWO costly interceptions in the losing effort. After throwing for four touchdowns the previous three games, Wilson only found receivers in the end zone twice this week, adding a third score on the ground with his legs. Wolfpack receiver Owen Spencer was the leading receiver with 4 catches for 102 yards. On defense, the Disciplinarian is none too pleased with the Wolfpack defense getting torched for 361 yards through the air. So much so he's decided to shake up this weekend's lineup for both the linebackers and the secondary. O'Brien may start four new starters in the secondary this Saturday. The Wolfpack host the Blue Devils and senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis before traveling to Chestnut Hill in two weeks.
Notre Dame 37, Washington 30 (OT). For yet another week, the Irish are making a habit of taking 'meh' teams to the wire. This week it was the Irish hosting the Washington Huskies, a game in which they needed OT to knock off UW. Jimmy Clausen was downright robotic, completing 23-of-31 for 422 yards and 2 TDs. His now new favorite target Golden Tate hauled in 9 catches for 244 yards and a score. The Irish certainly don't have to worry about the offense; it's more the defense that needs to work out the kinks. The Irish can't seem to buy a defensive stop, and that's not taking anything away from Washington QB Jake Locker. Locker threw for 281 yards and a score, while Huskies running back Chris Polk gained 136 yards on the ground. The Irish get an off week this week as they prepare for both Southern Cal and Boston College to invade South Bend.
Central Michigan 20, Buffalo 13. Stop me when you've heard this story before. Chippewa QB Dan LeFevour threw for 268 yards and a pair of touchdowns to knock off yet another MAC opponent. He also chipped in just shy of 100 yards on the ground on 21 carries. Antonio Brown was the leading receiver on the day, hauling in 6 catches for 112 yards and a score. The bad news is that the Eagles haven't been able to get sustained pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season. As our October 31 date with CMU draws closer, I am getting more and more concerned about the damage LeFevour can inflict on the Boston College defense. The good news, if there is any, is that Buffalo running back Ike Nduka was able to rush for 172 yards on 22 carries in the losing effort. Here's to hoping that the Chippewa defense will see a healthy dose of Montel Harris and Josh Haden on Halloween. The Chippewas next host one directional Michigan (Eastern) followed by three consecutive road trips to another directional Michigan (Western), Bowling Green and Boston College.
Virginia 16, North Carolina 3. For the first time this season, two of our upcoming opponents actually played each other ... and the result was certainly surprising. The visiting Cavaliers defense was able to limit the North Carolina offense to 174 total yards and forced three turnovers in a 16-3 win. The win was the first UVA win on the season and sends North Carolina to the bottom of the Coastal Division standings. Cavaliers running back Mikell Simpson rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown, as well as catching four passes for 45 yards. Neither team could really get the ball moving, with Virginia amassing a mere 129 yards of total offense in the first half and UNC only managing 67 yards. UVA was up 6-0 at half and pulled away in the fourth quarter when Simpson scored on a eight yard touchdown run. The Tar Heels offense couldn't get anything going, with quarterback T.J. Yates completing 20-of-36 passes for 135 yards and two interceptions. Tar Heel fans are now asking, where is the offense? UNC tries to answer that question against Georgia Southern this weekend, while Virginia hosts the 3-2 Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday.
Maryland 24, Clemson 21. More strangeness in the ACC. This time, it's the Maryland Terrapins knocking off the Clemson Tigers at Byrd Stadium. Chris Turner threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Turner led the Turtles on two touchdown drives in the last five minutes of the first half to take a 17-13 lead to the locker room. Clemson's speedsters wouldn't be denied, however, with C.J. Spiller rushing for 72 rushing yards and adding a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second half (sound familiar?). Why kick to this guy? Jacoby Ford also added a score on the ground in the loss. Trailing 24-21 late in the fourth quarter, Clemson QB Kyle Parker drove the Tigers down to the Maryland 28 before coughing up the ball. No rest for the Atlantic Division leaders, however, as they travel to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest in another crucial ACC Atlantic Division matchup. Eagles fans will be cheering for a Demon Deacon victory in this one.