Atlantic Coast Conference News and Notes

12:33 PM, Sep 2, 2013   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ATLANTIC DIVISION

BOSTON COLLEGE: The Steve Addazio era got off on the right foot, as Boston College knocked off FCS foe Villanova this past weekend, 24-14. Wideout Alex Amidon was instrumental in the win, hauling in a career-high 13 balls, for 146 yards and a touchdown. With his performance, Amidon cracked the top-10 all- time at BC with 127 career receptions. Amidon is now tied with Brian Brennan and Rich Gunnell for most career 100-yard receiving games at BC with eight. Other skill players that made impressive contributions included quarterback Chase Rettig (23-of-30 passing, for 285 yards and two TDs) and tailback Andre Williams (23 carries, for 114 yards). Senior linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis had a strong defensive game, posting 12 tackles, his 11th career double-digit tackle game. The Eagles will jump into ACC play this week when they play host to Wake Forest.

CLEMSON: It was the biggest game of the opening week and when the dust settled, Clemson made it known that an eighth straight national title for the vaunted SEC would not come easy, as the Tigers knocked off an SEC heavyweight, with a 38-35 decision over then fifth-ranked Georgia in Death Valley. It was the first win over Georgia since 1990 for the Tigers. Clemson became the first non-SEC school in college football history to defeat top-10 SEC opponents in back-to-back games, after knocking off No. 7 LSU last year in the Chick-fil-A Bowl (25-24). Senior signal-caller Tajh Boyd got his Heisman campaign off to a fast start, passing for 270 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 43 yards and two more scores. Former All-American Sammy Watkins made the most of his six catches, going for 127 yards and one TD, while tailback Roderick McDowell toted the ball 22 times for 132 yards in the win. Clemson will continue a brief two-game game homestand this weekend, as the Tigers get set to host FCS foe South Carolina State.

FLORIDA STATE: The defending ACC champions get a late start to their 2013 campaign, as they get set to open the season on Labor Day against new ACC member Pittsburgh.

MARYLAND: What a difference a year makes. More to the point is the fact that a healthy quarterback can mask many a flaw. After missing all of last season with a knee injury, C.J. Brown made a triumphant return to the field, completing 20-of-23 passes, for 281 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 105 yards and two more scores in Maryland's 43-10 blowout win over FIU this past weekend. The five touchdowns Brown accounted for are the most by a Maryland player in a single game since Scott McBrien had six against North Carolina in 2003. In all, the Terrapins amassed a whopping 576 yards of total offense. Wideouts Deon Long (nine catches, 110 yards, one TD) and Stefon Diggs (five catches, 98 yards, one TD) provided Brown with reliable targets downfield. Maryland will step out of FBS play this week to take on FCS foe Old Dominion in College Park.

NC STATE: The Dave Doeren era in Raleigh opened on a strong note, as NC State blew out Louisiana Tech 40-14. Freshman tailback Matt Dayes rushed for 84 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Dayes received an expanded role in the season-opener as starting tailback Shadrach Thornton served a one-game suspension. Everything was not rosy however, as starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell (Arkansas transfer) left the game early with a foot injury and did not return. Mitchell suffered a fracture in his left foot and will be out 4-6 weeks as a result. Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas filled in for Mitchell and completed 15-of-27 passes, for 212 yards in the victory. Overall, NC State racked up 542 yards of total offense, its best output in a season-opener since 1990. The Wolfpack will take on FCS foe Richmond this weekend, continuing a four-game homestand to begin the 2013 campaign.

SYRACUSE: Another new coach heading into his debut this season was Scott Shafer, but his Orange failed to deliver a win, as they were tasked with a tough opponent, taking on Penn State at MetLife Stadium in the New York College Classic. Jerome Smith was responsible for both Syracuse touchdowns, as he rushed for 73 yards in the 24-17 loss to the Nittany Lions. Senior Drew Allen started at quarterback for the Orange, but played to mixed reviews, as he completed just 16-of-37 passes, for 189 yards with two interceptions. The Syracuse defense played well for the most part, forcing PSU into four turnovers and holding Penn State to 353 yards, including a mere 57 yards rushing. The Orange will continue a tough run through the Big Ten with this weekend's road trip to nationally-ranked Northwestern.

WAKE FOREST: The Demon Deacons opened the 2013 season against FCS foe Presbyterian and rolled to a 31-7 victory. It was a defensive performance rarely seen in Winston-Salem, as Wake held the Blue Hose to a mere two first downs, the first time that has happened since 1944. Wake forced Presbyterian into six total turnovers, and held the Blue Hose to a mere 151 yards of total offense, including just 49 yards passing. Quarterback Tanner Price didn't have to do much, completing 14-of-25 passes, for 219 yards and one TD. He also added a score on the ground. Freshman Jonathan Williams led all receivers with five catches, for 143 yards in the win, setting a school record for yards by a Demon Deacon in his collegiate debut. Wake will kick off its ACC schedule this week with a road trip to Boston College.

COASTAL DIVISION

DUKE: The Blue Devils got their 2013 season off to a rousing start, posting their first shutout since 1989, as they dominated NC Central, 45-0 this past weekend in Durham. The game also marked the first home shutout for Duke since 1978. It was a balanced attack with Duke racking up 488 yards of offense, while limiting NC Central to a mere 184 total yards. A usually forgotten part of the Duke offense, the ground game was impressive, amassing 257 yards on 5.2 yards per carry, the most in the David Cutcliffe era. Quarterback Anthony Boone was 16-of-20 passing, for 176 yards and added one touchdown on the ground. The Blue Devils will step back into FBS play this weekend when they hit the road to take on Memphis.

GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets were simply too much for Elon to handle in the season-opener for both squads, as Georgia Tech rolled to a 70-0 shutout this past weekend. It marked the largest margin of victory by an ACC school, besting Florida State's 69-0 win over Western Carolina in 2008. Quarterback Vad Lee threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third score, as Tech racked up 557 yards of total offense. The patented ground attack under Paul Johnson was once again lethal, as the Yellow Jackets picked up 368 rushing yards on 7.4 yards per carry. Six different players found the end zone on the ground. The defense was just as impressive, including a school-record 173 interception return yards. The Yellow Jackets will take advantage of this week's bye, before taking on Duke in Durham on Sept. 14.

MIAMI-FLORIDA: Following a highly successful freshman campaign, tailback Duke Johnson showed the nation that a sophomore slump was probably not going to happen, as he carried the ball 19 times for a career-high 187 yards in a 34-6 rout of Florida Atlantic in the season-opener. The Hurricanes were powered by a ground game that amassed 303 yards, as Johnson was relieved of his duties in the third quarter. Quarterback Stephen Morris threw for 160 yards and one TD to provide offensive balance. With 503 total yards of offense, Miami eclipsed the 500-yard mark in a season-opener for the first time since 2002. Things will get much tougher this weekend, as the Hurricanes play host to instate rival Florida.

NORTH CAROLINA: UNC had the unenviable task of taking on a top-10 team to begin the 2013 season and it didn't turn out well for the visiting Tar Heels, as they fell to No.6 South Carolina in Columbia last week, 27-10. Quarterback Bryn Renner threw the ball early and often, completing 26-of-43 passes, but for only 194 yards and one TD. Romar Morris, in relief of former All-American tailback Giovani Bernard, managed 69 yards on 15 carries in the loss. The offensive line for North Carolina played well for the most part, limiting All- American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to a mere three tackles and no sacks. The Tar Heels take aim at their first win of the season this weekend, as they play host to Middle Tennessee.

PITTSBURGH: The Panthers get welcomed into their new conference on Labor Day, as they play host to defending ACC champion Florida State to begin the 2013 season.

VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers had to wait an extra two hours with a 129 minute delay due to inclement weather, but Virginia made up for lost time, posting an impressive 19-16 win over a tough BYU squad this past weekend. Virginia got the job done despite managing a meager 223 yards of total offense, thanks to holding an almost nine minute advantage in time of possession. Tailback Kevin Parks led the anemic offensive attack with 65 yards and one TD on the ground. Quarterback David Watford was just 18-of-32 passing in his first start, for 114 yards with one TD and one interception. Darius Jennings led the team with seven receptions, for 62 yards and one score. Mike London is now 6-0 in season-opening games as a head coach, including a 4-0 mark at Virginia. The Cavaliers continue a three-game homestand to begin the season with a monstrous task, as they welcome the Oregon Ducks to Charlottesville this weekend.

VIRGINIA TECH: Special teams were the difference in the season-opener for Virginia Tech and while it is usually the Hokies that make the defining plays on special teams, it was the two-time defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide that cruised to victory at the Georgia Dome, taking back two returns for touchdowns. The 35-10 loss to Alabama certainly put a damper on the collegiate debut of redshirt freshman tailback Trey Edmunds, who rumbled for 132 yards for Tech in defeat. The Hokies actually out-gained the defending champs, 212-206 in the game, but quarterback Logan Thomas was completely neutralized, completing an ugly 5-of-26 passes, for a mere 59 yards and one interception that was returned for a touchdown. Tech will take a considerable step down in terms of competition this week, when the Hokies play host to FCS foe Western Carolina.

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