It was a wild week in the ACC highlighted by a thriller in Death Valley where Louisville and Clemson battled for the top spot. We take a look at all the action across the conference this week.
Miami left Atlanta with Mark Richt’s 200th win and his first in the ACC. The Hurricanes returned two Justin Thomas fumbles within a minute of each other in the second quarter to take a 28-7 lead. The Yellow Jackets did not go away without a fight, and they closed the gap to 28-21. Brad Kaaya sealed the victory with a touchdown pass in the 3rd quarter. Miami moves to 4-0 on the year while Georgia Tech falls to 3-2. Next week Miami hosts Florida State, while Georgia Tech travels to Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame 50 – Syracuse 33
A shootout erupted in East Rutherford between the Irish and Orange combined for 36 points in the first five minutes. DeShone Kizer set a career best with 471 yards, and the Irish defense stepped up to hold Syracuse to seven second-half points. Syracuse QB Eric Dungey scored all five touchdowns (two passing, three rushing) and added 363 yards through the air. Notre Dame is still searching for answers on the defensive side of the ball. Notre Dame let up 30+ points for the fourth time this season. Next week Syracuse faces Wake Forest, and Notre Dame travels to NC State.
Bringing home a W!— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) October 1, 2016
Notre Dame takes down Syracuse 50-33 at MetLife Stadium. pic.twitter.com/IxaKHBIGbT
The Cavaliers forced six turnovers and intercepted Daniel Jones five times, tying a school record. Virginia looked like a much-improved team since the season-opening blowout loss to Richmond, and Bronco Mendenhall is a winner in his first ACC game. After beating Notre Dame last week, many thought Duke would comfortably win against Virginia. Jones threw only three interceptions in his first four games but struggled to take care of the ball against Virginia. Virginia is on a bye next week, while Duke welcomes Army to Durham.
Boston College 35 – Buffalo 3
Boston College’s defense has been exceptional so far this year and did what was expected of them against Buffalo. The Eagles cruised to a second straight victory and hope to carry some momentum against Clemson next week. Boston College held Buffalo to 67 yards in the game, 42 passing, and 25 rushing. Eagles QB Patrick Towles finished with 234 yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran eight times for 18 yards. Boston College will look for their first conference win in over a year when they host Clemson on Friday night.
North Carolina went into Tallahassee and snapped Florida State’s 22-game home win streak. After being down 21-7 at halftime, Florida state took a 35-34 lead with less than a minute left in the game, a missed extra point being the difference. 23 seconds later, UNC kicker Nick Weiler converted a 54-yard field goal as time expired to redeem himself. Tar Heels QB Mitch Trubisky recorded his third straight 400-yard passing game. Dalvin Cook led the Seminoles offense with 256 total yards, but it wasn’t enough to seal the win. UNC hosts Virginia Tech next weekend while Florida State travels to Miami.
The Wolfpack jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Ryan Finley threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns for NC State, who finished the game with 527 yards of offense. The Wolfpack executed the plan of getting ahead early, and keeping a comfortable lead late in the game to perfection. The Demon Deacons were looking to start the season 5-0 for the first time since 2006. After struggling early and falling behind by 20, they crept as close as 26-16 but never really threatened. Next week Wake Forest gets a visit from Syracuse, and NC State hosts Notre Dame.
Pitt 43 – Marshall 27
Pitt held off a second half Marshall rally to get the season back on track. After two last-minute losses the previous two weeks, it looked as though they had righted the ship. The Panthers took a 27-0 lead into the half, but the Herd clawed back within 30-27 with four minutes remaining in the game. Pitt faced a third down near midfield with about a minute to go when QB Nate Peterman took a shot downfield and connected with Jester Weah who shrugged off the cornerback on his way into the end zone. Avonte Maddox added a pick-six as time expired to extend the margin of victory to 16. Next week Pitt hosts Georgia Tech for Homecoming weekend.
Clemson outlasted Louisville in an instant classic in Death Valley. Clemson relied on Deshaun Watson down the stretch to come back twice in the fourth quarter. Watson accounted for five touchdowns including the game-winner late in the fourth quarter. Lamar Jackson was once again electric with two rushing and one passing touchdown in the game. The Cardinals came up just short on fourth down from the Clemson 9 when James Quick was knocked out of bounds a yard short of the first down line. Clemson has now won 19 straight home games and is the clear favorite in the ACC. Louisville is off next week while Clemson faces a short week with a Friday night trip to Boston College.
CLEMSON WINS!!!— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) October 2, 2016
? What a time to be a Tiger! ? pic.twitter.com/SJkciILFr0