Welcome to ACC Action! Each week our staff will divide up the conferences, watch the games pertaining to the the assigned conference and then write up an overview with the key takeaways from that weekend.
All 14 teams in the ACC were in action this week with 7 inter-conference games to digest.
Let’s dig into the notable impressions and what we learned from Week 9 in the ACC.
Jackets Take Hokies Will
Make it three in a row in the series for Georgia Tech over Virginia Tech, including four of the last five after the Jackets beat the Hokies 49-28 on Thursday night. Bud Foster's defenses is allowing an average of 36 points per game to Georgia Tech in the current 3 game skid.
More alarming than the points allowed is the dominance in the rushing attack. Without QB TaQuon Marshall, GT was 0-for-1 passing in the game but rushed the ball 78 times for 465 yards and 7 touchdowns. No typos - you read that correctly. The rushing production tells the story. The Hokies knew the Jackets would run the option, they couldn't stop it and GT imposed its will on VT.
Losing key contributors Tim Settle, Tremaine Edmunds, Terrell Edmunds, Greg Stroman, Brandon Facyson, Adonis Alexander and Trevon Hill from last year's unit, the Hokies defense hasn't replenished like it has in previous years. The Hokies defense is ranked 98th in average yards allowed per game and 73rd in points against.
It looks like the Justin Fuente era at Virginia Tech will result in a consecutive season with a declining win total after claiming 10 victories in 2016.
Taggart's Comments Age Poorly
In Florida State's 59-10 loss to Clemson on Saturday, the Noles gained NEGATIVE 21 (-21!!!) rushing yards on 25 carries. FSU QBs were sacked 5 times!
Clemson's group up front collectively stood out and controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the game. It wasn't just the starting group of Clelil Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins and Austin Bryant who dominated the game. Rotational lineman Xavier Thomas, Albert Huggins, Xavier Thomas, Justin Foster, Xavier Kelly and Chris Register all made splash plays. The Tigers have the deepest defensive line in college football and is capable of over-matching any offense in the nation. Who's ready for Bama - Clemson?
Cavs in Control of the Coastal
Get ready for Clemson vs Virginia in the ACC Championship game! Boasting a 6-2 overall record and 4-1 mark in the ACC after its Week 9 victory over UNC, Virginia is in first place of the Coastal Division with a manageable schedule the rest of the way. The Hoos' next 2 games are at home against Pitt and Liberty and then close the season on the road against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
Led by QB Bryce Perkins, RB Justin Ellis and WR Olamide Zacchaeus the Cavs feature its best offense in recent memory and one of the best defensive units in the nation. The strength of the team is its secondary that features star defensive backs Bryce Hall and Juan Thornhill. S Brenton Nelson, CB Tim Harris and OLB Chris Peace are players I need to take under more consideration for the NFL level and I hope to get some film work done on them soon because they keep popping in live watches.
Wouldn't it be something if Bronco Mendenhall leads UVA to its first 10-win season since 1989 and second time ever in school history? It's very much a real possibility.
Harmon Dominates But Cuse is Bowling
NC State WR Kelvin Harmon was dominant in the Pack's 51-41 loss to Syracuse on Saturday night. Haling in 11 passes for 247 yards and 2 TDs, Harmon's play strength, ball skills, route running and physicality was more than the Orange could handle. He's the best offensive player in the conference and arguably the best WR prospect in the rising 2019 draft class. This was a resume game.
Unfortunately, Harmon doesn't play defense and the Pack had no answers for Eric Dungey and Syracuse's passing offense. Dungey lit up NC State to the tune of 411 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Syracuse is now bowl-eligible for the first time since 2013. Dino Babers has righted the ship but how much longer until a bigger opportunity comes along?
Colburn Revenge Game
I expected a bigger season from Wake Forest RB Matt Colburn than what he's produced so far, but he couldn't have been more effective against Louisville in Wake's 56-33 victory over the Cardinals. Oh, and there's this:
Averaging 12.2 yards per carry on 20 rushes is a ridiculous feat. Perhaps this will be the performance that propels Colburn to a productive close to his career. Regardless, I think he can provide quality depth in the NFL.
- Welcome back AJ Dillon! After missing time with an ankle injury, Dillon returned to carry the ball 32 times for 149 yards and a TD on Friday Night against Miami.
- The Hurricanes boast the No. 3 defense in College Football but not having an upgrade over Malik Rosier is going to spoil a championship-caliber unit. S Sheldrick Redwine is an underrated prospect on the Canes defense and his stellar senior season continued in Miami's loss to BC.
- Boston College CB Hamp Cheevers hauled in his fifth interception (in wild fashion) against Miami, tying him with LSU's Grant Delpit for the FBS lead.
- Hokies WR Damon Hazelton is having a breakout R-Sophomore season and was a rare bright spot for VA Tech this week. He's now up to 35 receptions for 596 yards and 6 TD's in 7 games. He's hauled in a TD catch in every game this season except against UNC.
- As Louisville continues its embarrassing season and falls to 2-6 overall and 0-5 in ACC games, just wanted to continue reminding the world that Bobby Petrino doesn't deserve a coaching gig in college football.
- This tweet was sent before Syracuse allowed 541 yard and 41 points to NC State and NC State allowed 561 yards and 51 points to Syracuse. The ACC turned into track meets with basketball scores this weekend.
- In six games against Power 5 competition this season, Louisville is allowing an average of 44.3 points per game. The Cardinals' defense has been bad for years and it's getting worse.
- Wake Forest WR Greg Dortch hauled in 8 passes for 135 yards against Louisville. He's a R-sophomore and a Jamison Crowder clone.
- Florida State CB Levonta Taylor is clearly struggling with an injury. After seeing him play so well last season with impressive quickness and fluidity, his ability to move is nowhere near the same. It may be time to shut him down and get his body right.
- Virginia S Juan Thornhill continues his impressive transformation from corner to safety with an active outing against UNC. He racked up 7 tackles, .5 TFL and a PBU.
- Virginia WR Olamide Zacchaeus caught 10 passes for 108 yards against UNC and is now UVA's all-time leader in receptions. His record-breaking career has been impressive.
- Virginia CB Bryce Hall logged 2 more PBU's against UNC to increase his total on the season to 16. He's the best CB prospect that only I am talking about.
- Pitt RB Qadree Ollison continued his outstanding senior season with 18 rushes fo4 149 yards and a TD in the Panthers's 54-45 win over Duke.
- Duke QB Daniel Jones set new career-highs in passing yards and passing TDs in the Blue Devils' loss to Pitt. Spraying the ball all over the yard, Jones completed 27-of-42 passes for 396 yards and 4 TDs. He has a ton of momentum as a prospect right now.
- NC State had no issues shutting down Syracuse's rushing offense. The Orange had 37 rushes for 81 yards. LB Germaine Pratt was all over the field with 16 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Power Rankings After Week 9
- Boston College
- NC State
- Virginia Tech
- Wake Forest
- Florida State
- Georgia Tech
- North Carolina