Many thought that Week 7 would provide some clarity in regards to the ACC. Well, many of them were wrong. Virginia and Wake Forest, the league’s next best teams behind Clemson, both suffered questionable losses to Miami and Louisville, respectively. Here’s what else took place in the ACC this weekend:
Louisville Stuns Wake Forest in a Thriller
After two years without an ACC win, the Cardinals earned their second one in as many weeks as they outlasted 19th-ranked Wake Forest 62-59. It was the second highest-scoring game ever in the ACC, with both teams combining for 1,118 total yards. Just to put into perspective just how wacky this game was: the two teams combined for six touchdowns in the final nine minutes of the game. Freshman quarterback Evan Conley replaced injured Micale Cunningham and threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns on 12/18 passing. Conley also scored the game-sealing touchdown with a 41-yard run on a crucial fourth-down call.
Wake’s Sam Hartman came in for an injured Jamie Newman, and nearly led them to a 21-point comeback win. Hartman combined for 185 yards of offense and three touchdowns in the loss, which was Wake’s first of the season. It was the Cards’ first road win over a ranked team since they beat West Virginia in 2011. It was their first win against a ranked opponent since they blasted Florida State 60-23 in 2016.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson Get Back on Track
Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers weren’t all that impressive three weeks ago against UNC. After a long bye week and the media questioning his team’s potential, Lawrence and second-ranked Clemson took out their frustration on Florida State by a score of 45-14. The sophomore quarterback was efficient, throwing for 170 yards and 3 touchdowns on 17/25 passing, while adding an 8-yard touchdown on the ground. RB Travis Ettiene put together another 100-yard rushing performance, with 127 yards on 17 rushes.
The Tigers’ defense shut down the Seminole offense all day long, limiting them to a mere 253 yards of total offense. Clemson also forced four FSU turnovers, as the Tigers extended their winning-streak to 21 games in a row. Next up for Clemson is a road tilt against a surprising Louisville team so far, while the Seminoles visit Wake Forest.
Wolfpack, Hurricanes Earn Hard-Fought W’s
The Wolfpack picked up their first ACC win of the year as they took down the Orange in an ugly 16-10 win. This game is what they refer to as an “offensive struggle”, as both teams didn’t necessarily struggle moving the football; however, neither could finish their drives with points. NC State led 16-0 before Syracuse made it interesting late, as Tommy DeVito’s touchdown pass to Trishton Jackson cut it to six with a minute left. Wolfpack kicker Christopher Dunn was reliable, hitting all three field goals he attempted, including a 48-yarder. QB Bailey Hockman completed 16 of 27 passes for 205 yards in the victory. Cuse’s Tommy DeVito played well, however, the same offensive woes that have plagued Syracuse all year long were present once again Thursday night. The Orange will be looking to avoid an 0-3 start in ACC play when they host Pittsburgh Friday. NC State travels to Chestnut Hill for a matchup with AJ Dillon and Boston College.
It’s hard to classify a Week 7 game as a “must-win” game, but that’s exactly where Miami found themselves last Friday night. After dropping a heartbreaker at home to Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes upset 20th-ranked Virginia in another defensive battle. N’Kosi Perry played well in his second start, throwing for 182 yards and one touchdown pass without committing a turnover. Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins eclipsed over 270 yards of offense, but never managed a touchdown drive for the Cavaliers. To make matters worse, cornerback and Preseason All-American Bryce Hall went down with a severe ankle injury. The Hurricanes host Georgia Tech next, while Virginia welcomes Duke.
Duke: 41, Georgia Tech: 23 – The Blue Devils took care of the Yellow Jackets behind their four rushing touchdowns and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by Javon Jackson. GT actually outgained Duke in total yards and didn’t commit a turnover, and still lost by 18 points. They’ll look for ACC win number one when they travel to Miami on Saturday. Duke plays Virginia on the road.
Virginia Tech: 34, Rhode Island: 17 – Hendon Hooker had another stellar performance since taking over as starting quarterback. The redshirt sophomore totaled 304 yards of offense and 3 touchdowns as the Hokies pulled away after it being a three-point game in the third quarter. VT hosts UNC next as they’ll look to get to .500 in ACC play.