Atlantic Coast Conference News and Notes

12:04 PM, Nov 11, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -

ATLANTIC DIVISION

BOSTON COLLEGE: Andre Williams continued to make the case of being the nation's top running back, as he rumbled for a school-record 295 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Eagles to a 48-34 victory over New Mexico State in Las Cruces this past weekend. Williams now has rushed for 1,471 yards this season and ranks second in the nation in rushing at 147.0 ypg. Williams wasn't the only record-setting performer for BC, as senior WR Alex Amidon hauled in eight passes, for 88 yards and one TD and became the school's all-time leader in career receiving yards, passing Rich Gunnell and now has 2,494 yards in his career. With two straight wins, Boston College has moved to 5-4 on the season and needs just one more win to become bowl eligible in Steve Addazio's first season at the helm. The Eagles will take aim at that goal this weekend at home against NC State.

CLEMSON: The Tigers enjoyed a bye this past weekend as they prepare to close out the last month of the season. At 8-1 overall and 6-1 in conference play, Clemson will get back on the field on Thursday night at home against Georgia Tech.

FLORIDA STATE: With Oregon losing earlier in the week, the door was opened for the Seminoles to stake their claim at the No. 2 spot in the national rankings. Jimbo Fisher's squad took full advantage, blowing out Wake Forest, 59-3 and in the process, will defend their ACC title on Dec. 7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game in Charlotte. FSU captured the Atlantic Division crown with perhaps its best defensive effort of the season. The Seminoles managed just 296 yards of offense on the day, but help Wake Forest to a mere 166 total yards, while scoring two defensive touchdowns. The special teams got into the act as well, with a 97-yard kickoff return for a score in the fourth quarter. Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston's Heisman campaign took a little hit, as he was just 17-of-28 passing, for 159 yards, with two TDs and one INT. It marked FSU's fourth Atlantic Division crown. The team is now 9-0 for the first time since the 1999 National Championship team. The Seminoles now control their own destiny, as they will play for the national title in Pasadena if they win out. The team will take another step in that direction this weekend, closing out its ACC schedule against Syracuse.

MARYLAND: The Terrapins turned the ball over four times and couldn't recover, falling at home to Syracuse, 20-3. The loss was the third straight for Maryland, which has been sitting at five wins since mid-October. The Terps did themselves no favors with the turnovers and managed just 292 yards of total offense in the loss. Quarterback C.J. Brown struggled under center, completing just 21-of-40 passes, for 211 yards, with two interceptions. Amba Etta-Tawo was the top offensive performer in the loss, catching six balls, for 109 yards. The Orange seem to have Maryland's number of late with wins in each of the last five meetings. The Terrapins will attempt once again to become bowl eligible this weekend, when travel to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech.

NC STATE: The Wolfpack seemed to have Duke right where they wanted it, holding a 20-17 fourth-quarter lead, but NC State could not hold off the Blue Devils, who scored 21 unanswered points in a 38-20 decision. NC State outgained Duke in the game, rolling just 412 yards of offense. Shadrach Thornton led the way on the ground with 103 yards on 26 carries. Quarterback Brandon Mitchell was just 7-of-18 passing, for 148 yards with one TD and two INTs. Wideout Quintin Payton made the most of his three catches, going for 104 yards and one TD, including an 80-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter. The Wolfpack are just 3-6 on the season and still searching for their first ACC win of the season. They will take another crack at it this weekend in Chestnut Hill against Boston College.

SYRACUSE: The Orange took advantage of four Maryland turnovers and then relied on a strong ground game in posting a dominant 20-3 victory over the Terrapins this past weekend in College Park. Syracuse was led on the ground by tailback Jerome Smith, who rumbled for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. With his effort, Smith eclipsed 2,000 career yards (2,010), becoming the 21st back in school history to reach that mark. Smith now has four two-touchdown games this season. The victory was the fifth straight in the series for Syracuse, which also moved to 5-4 on the season, the first time the team has moved over .500 this season. The Orange have an opportunity to become bowl eligible, but will be fighting an uphill battle to do so this weekend, as they travel to Tallahassee to take on second-ranked FLorida State.

WAKE FOREST: The Demon Deacons felt the sting of the Seminoles this past weekend, as Wake Forest was no match for the now second-ranked team in the country, losing 59-3. Wake actually held FSU's potent offense to just 296 yards, but they could muster just 166 themselves. The team struggled in every facet of the game, giving up two defensive touchdowns and one return for another score. Tailback Josh Harris led the Demon Deacons on the ground with 66 yards on 15 carries. All-American candidate Nikita Whitlock had another strong outing in defeat, finishing with 2.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks. The senior nose tackle now ranks second in school history in TFL (46.5), trailing record- holder Calvin Pace by just 7.5 TFL. The Demon Deacons will be idle this week and will attempt to end a three-game losing streak on Nov. 23.

COASTAL DIVISION

DUKE: Trailing 20-17 in the fourth quarter this past weekend, the Blue Devils scored 21 unanswered points to run away from NC State and capture a 38-20 victory. DeVon Edwards was instrumental in the come-from-behind victory, returning two interceptions for touchdowns to close out the game. There weren't many offensive highlights for the Blue Devils, although wideout Jamison Crowder did haul in seven balls for 134 yards in the win. He was named the National Defensive Player of the Week. With the win, Duke moved to 7-2 on the season assuring itself a winning record for the first time since the team went 8-4 in 1994. David Cutcliffe continues to rebuild the Duke program, which is bowl eligible for the second straight season, the first time that has happened in school history. Duke will go for win number eight this weekend at home against Miami-Florida.

GEORGIA TECH: Winners of three straight, the 6-3 Yellow Jackets enjoyed a well-earned bye this past weekend. At 5-2 in conference play, Georgia Tech is seeking a Coastal Division title and spot in the ACC Championship Game against Florida State. The Yellow Jackets hold a half game lead in the division ahead of Virginia Tech (4-2) and will play Thursday night on the road at Clemson.

MIAMI-FLORIDA: Miami's miscues were too many to overcome, as the Hurricanes dropped a 42-24 decision to Virginia Tech. In all, Miami managed 352 yards in total offense, but allowed the Hokies to amass 549 yards. Stephen Morris was 16-of-29 passing for Miami, for 324 yards and two TDs. A good portion of that went to wideout Allen Hurns, who hauled in four catches, for 142 yards and a score in the loss. Still, Miami only managed 12 first downs and was an ugly 3- of-12 on third down in the loss. The Hurricanes opened the season with seven straight wins, but have since dropped two in a row to fall to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play. The Hurricanes will attempt to find their way back to win column this week on the road against the surprising Duke Blue Devils.

NORTH CAROLINA: Quarterback Marquise Williams completed the trifecta, recording a touchdown passing, rushing and receiving, as North Carolina routed Virginia this past weekend in Chapel Hill, 45-14. UNC rolled up 415 yards of offense in the win, while holding the Cavaliers to just 316. Williams completed 15-of-28 passes, for 185 yards and two TDs in the win. Wideout Quinshad Davis had five catches, for 65 yards and one TD and threw a 29-yard TD pass to Williams as well. It marked UNC's first game since starting quarterback Bryn Renner had season-ending shoulder surgery. With three straight wins, North Carolina is still in the hunt for bowl eligibility. The Tar Heels, who are 4-5 overall, will eye up a .500 record this weekend when the team takes on Pittsburgh on the road.

PITTSBURGH: The Panthers recorded two fourth-quarter interceptions and upset the then 24th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish last weekend at home, 28-21. James Connor rushed for two short TDs in the second half and All-American candidate Devin Street hauled in four balls, for 76 yards and two TDs as well. Quarterback Tom Savage was 22-of-35 passing, for 243 yards and two TDs, as Pittsburgh managed 355 yards of total offense, compared to Notre Dame's 456. Junior DB Ray Vinopal was instrumental in the win as well, responsible for three turnovers with one fumble recovery and two interceptions. The win halted a two-game skid for the Panthers, who at 5-4 overall, can become bowl eligible with a win at home this weekend against North Carolina.

VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers limp into their bye week with an ugly seven-game losing streak in tow, after last weekend's 45-14 rout at the hands of North Carolina. Virginia managed just 316 yards of total offense in the loss. Quarterback David Watford was a mere 14-of-30 passing for 129 yards in the loss with two interceptions. Keeon Johnson caught five balls, for 59 yards and one TD, while tailback Kevin Parks rushed for 100 yards and one TD on 24 carries. It was the 118th meeting between Virginia and North Carolina. The Oldest Rivalry in the South trails only the Minnesota/Wisconsin rivalry (122) and Kansas/Missouri rivalry (120) as the most-played FBS history. The Cavaliers are looking at an uphill battle to end their losing streak, as they close out the 2013 campaign against ACC powers Miami and Virginia Tech.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies continued their late season push as they rolled up a season-high 549 yards of total offense in a 42-24 road win at nationally- ranked Miami this past weekend at Sun Life Stadium. Tailback Tre Edmunds scored four times on the ground and finished with 74 yards on 14 carries, while quarterback Logan Thomas completed 25-of-31 passes, for 366 yards and two TDs in the win. Joshua Stanford (7 catches, 107 yards, one TD) and Willie Byrn (6 catches, 105 yards) both went over the century mark in receiving yards. The win ended a two-game skid for Tech. At 7-3 overall and 4-2 in conference play, Virginia Tech is still in the hunt for the Coastal Division crown, trailing Georgia Tech by just a half game in the standings. Frank Beamer's squad will go for win number eight this weekend at home against Maryland.

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