After a lackluster performance in Week 3, the ACC had an impressive Week 4, with the conference going 8-1 on the weekend. It’s clear Clemson is the best team, obviously, and Virginia and Wake Forest seem to be fighting for second-best in the league. After that? Good luck trying to identify who’s real and who’s not. A lot went down this week in the ACC and here’s what happened:
Pittsburgh Upsets UCF
Not many expected going into Saturday that the Panthers had a realistic shot at snapping UCF’s regular-season winning streak. The Knights are a team that hadn’t lost a regular-season game since November of 2016. Pittsburgh was ready up for the challenge; however, as they jumped out to a 21-0 lead before climbing out of a ten-point hole to upset the 15th-ranked team in the country.
Kenny Pickett threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns, which includes the game-winning ‘Pitt Special’ touchdown catch, the same play the Philadelphia Eagles ran in the Super Bowl to beat the Patriots. Before upsetting UCF, Pitt’s last win over a top-15 team came against Miami in November of 2017. Next for the Panthers is a home tilt against FCS Delaware.
Florida State, Miami and Virginia Survive
The Seminoles nearly blew another second-half lead, the Hurricanes squeaked by Central Michigan and the Cavaliers had to rally just to beat Old Dominion.
No one is sure what Willie Taggart and his team do at halftime, but whatever it is, it’s not working. Through four games, Florida State is outscoring its opponents 90-43 in the first half. After halftime? They’re being outscored 92-45. Luckily, that trend didn’t continue against Louisville as Alex Hornibrook came up big with James Blackman out with an injury. The grad-transfer went 15/20 for 255 passing yards and two touchdowns. Cam Akers added 112 yards on the ground and three touchdowns in the win.
Miami entered their matchup against the Chippewas as 30.5 point favorites, according to Vegas. They escaped with an ugly 17-12 win, thanks in large part to another solid performance from freshman quarterback Jarren Williams. He completed 17 of 24 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Nobody is complaining about a win in college football nowadays, and the Hurricanes get a week off before hosting Virginia Tech in ACC play.
The Monarchs have given ACC teams fits over the last few seasons. Last year, they upset then 13th-ranked Virginia Tech as 28.5 point underdogs. In Week 2 of this season, they nearly shocked the Hokies again, and trailed by only seven points in the fourth quarter before VT pulled away. On Saturday, ODU was up 17-0 on 21st-ranked Virginia and had many believing another all-time shocker was on the horizon, until Virginia’s superior talent and athleticism took over the game.
The Cavaliers’ defense should get the majority of the credit for the comeback win to stay unblemished, though. Junior Zane Zandier returned an interception for a touchdown as the defense shut down ODU in the second half. Virginia travels to Notre Dame next Saturday, where they’ll look to beat the Irish for the first time in school history.
Tar Heels Fall to Appalachian State
After an impressive 2-0 start, UNC has come back down to earth, so to speak. The Tar Heels couldn’t turn it on late, as they tend to do, and were upset by Appalachian State 34-31 in Chapel Hill. Although he did pass for 323 yards and three touchdowns, freshman QB Sam Howell had three costly turnovers that led to the loss. It was the Mountaineers’ first win over a power-conference school since they beat Michigan in 2007. Mack Brown and his squad need to regroup quickly as they host top-ranked Clemson this weekend.
Other notable results:
Clemson: 52, Charlotte: 10
Wake Forest: 49, Elon: 7
Boston College: 30, Rutgers: 16
Western Michigan: 33, Syracuse: 52
Ball State: 23, NC State: 34