ACC Weekly Round-Up: Week 3

In this week’s ACC Wrap we take a look back at week two and ahead to this weekend’s slate. There’s been some big news this week related to COVID-19 as the conference prepares to have two nationally televised contests Saturday.

The ACC was the showcase conference last weekend, hosting the ABC Game of the Week while being on numerous channels throughout the country. Seven teams enter this weekend’s play ranked in the AP Poll top 25 with two other teams receiving votes.

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There have two huge headlines this week in the ACC. First, the biggest is that Florida State head coach Mike Norvell tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss this weekend’s rivalry game versus Miami. Norvell has been in quarantine since the announcement, and he should be back before FSU’s next game versus Jacksonville State. Deputy head coach Chris Thomsen will lead the team this weekend with offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham calling the plays. 

The other headline is that this weekend’s Notre Dame versus Wake Forest game was moved to December 12th due to a COVID-19 outbreak at Notre Dame. The Irish are in quarantine and right now it’s too early to know how their schedule will infold moving forward.

There are six games this week, highlighted by the FSU/Miami rivalry which will be the ABC Game of the Week, and a ranked contest between Louisville and Pitt. 

Four teams are off this week. We will look at them first.

  • Clemson – Just another rock solid, dominating performance by the nation’s top ranked team. The 49-0 win over Citadel was over early in the second quarter as the Tigers were up 49 at halftime. It wasn’t a huge statistical game for Trevor Lawrence, but he went 8/9 for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns all in the first half. Their next game is October 3rd at home versus Virginia.
  • North Carolina – The 11th ranked Tar Heels are on an extended break and are slated to play again October 3rd at Boston College.
  • Notre Dame – The 7th ranked Fighting Irish blasted USF 52-0 last weekend. The Irish showed their depth at running back as C’Bo Flemister had 127 yards and a score while the defense got after the Bulls offense all day. With the outbreak, Notre Dame is off and is slated to play their next game October 10th home versus FSU.
  • Wake Forest – Wake is coming off a hard-fought 45-42 loss to rival N.C. State. They’re off this week. Their game versus Campbell was moved from October 9th to the 2nd.

This week’s match-ups should be competitive, and Virginia Tech makes its debut after having a COVID-19 outbreak to start the season.

  • FSU @ #12 Miami – Just three weeks ago this game looked like it could go either way. Fast forward to this week’s game and both teams are on opposite sides of the spectrum. FSU laid an egg in its season opening loss versus Georgia Tech and they are without their head coach Mike Norvell. Miami is riding high behind D’Eriq King and its potent offense, and they are coming off a 47-34 win over Louisville which pushed them up five spots in the polls. Miami enters this game as the favorite for the fourth time out of the past five, and they are double-digit favorites as of Wednesday. This game is always close – what will we see from the Seminole offense this week? Can FSU shut down King and their offense? The Hurricanes defense looked vulnerable versus the Cardinals last week giving up 516 yards of offense, but Bubba Bolden had a big game as he earned player of the week honors for his performance. 
  • #24 Louisville @ #21 Pittsburgh – This game will be decided on which team’s strength is able to make plays – Louisville’s offense vs Pittsburgh’s defense. Louisville continues to struggle defensively as they gave up 485 yards to Miami, but it was the untimely busted coverages and missed tackles that really did them in. Louisville has to protect the ball better (they had 3 turnovers last week) as Pitt will look to ride their defense. After putting up 55 points against Austin Peay in their season opener, the Panthers offense  struggled to score 21 against a Syracuse defense. 
  • N.C. State @ #20 Virginia Tech – The Hokies make their season debut after having their first two games moved due to COVID-19. The Wolfpac surprisingly started Bailey Hockman over Devin Leary, and Hockman responded in leading the offense to 45 points and 191 yards passing with 2 touchdowns (1 rushing). Ricky Pearson Jr led the way with 99 yards and 2 scores, and Bam Knight rushed for 97 yards and another score. The Wolfpac defense will need to be much better against Hendon Hooker and a Hokies offense that is primed for a good season.
  • Georgia Tech @ Syracuse – We all got a look at freshman running back Jahmyr Gibbs and can see what all of the hype is about. Fellow freshman Jeff Sims was inconsistent vs UCF, again turning the ball over in key moments and putting the defense in situations they couldn’t stop. While UCF has one of the best offenses in the country, GT’s defense struggled in game 2 after holding FSU to 13 points in week 1. Syracuse brings in an offense that hasn’t gotten on track yet behind Tommy DeVito, but the defense should present a problem to Sims and the GT offense.
  • Duke @ Virginia – While Duke looked competitive in its first game vs Notre Dame, they fell flat last week in a 26-6 loss at Boston College. They travel to Virginia and take on the Cavaliers who are making their season debut. This looks to be a low scoring game as both defenses, especially Virginia, are the strength of each team. If Duke can not turn the ball over (they had 5 turnovers last week) they can pull off the upset. 
  • Texas State @ Boston College – The Jeff Haley era at BC got off to a solid start in their win versus Duke. The Eagles went with ND transfer Phil Jurkovec as their starter, and he was efficient throwing for 300 yards and 2 scores. Surprisingly, the rushing attack was held in check as David Bailey was held to just 51 yards on 18 carries. Duke’s 5 turnovers last week were the difference in the game. Look for BC to use their out of conference game to work on scheme and the running game as they look ahead to ACC play.

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