Starting off the ACC weekend on Thursday night, Miami visited Pittsburgh for an important matchup after suffering a loss to Ohio State in their last game. With an extra week of preparation for the matchup due to a bye week in Week Three, this was a must win game for Miami before they enter their conference play.
Jacory Harris looked as if he had not yet shaken off the four interceptions he threw at Ohio State as he started the game with two interceptions in the first half. Despite the turnovers, Miami went into the half with a 10-0 lead.
Harris’ short memory served him well as he came out to open the first half with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Hankerson. The Hurricanes continued to dominate in Pittsburgh as they held the Panthers to a mere three points on their way to a 31-3 victory. The Big East is not very strong this year, but this was a good win for Miami on the road after a defeat. They needed a good win before entering play against their ACC counterparts.
N.C. State emerged from the weekend as the only remaining undefeated team in the ACC after a trip to Atlanta for a game against Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack came into the game as eight point underdogs, but they did not seem to let that bother them, menacing Paul Johnson’s triple option offense.
Nate Irving seemed to be in on every play as he finished the game with four and a half tackles for a loss, including one sack. Georgia Tech’s triple option creates an opportunity for a big play on every down. But the Wolfpack showed that with containment and discipline, those plays can be held to a minimum.
Johnson’s offensive scheme has proven to be effective in his coaching career in Atlanta, but it could continue to stumble against conference foes who continue to see this style of play on a yearly basis. Russell Wilson continued to show why he entered the season on the Davey O’Brien watch list as he posted 368 passing yarda and three touchdowns and a rushing touchdown to top it off.
N.C. State controlled the game, and though Georgia Tech was able to make it close a couple times, the Wolfpack bounced back each time with another score on their way to a 45-28 victory. N.C. State has now given the ACC two teams in the AP Top 25, as they begin Week Five with a No. 23 ranking.
Perennial ACC power, Florida State, continued their effort in erasing an embarrassing Week Two loss at Oklahoma from the minds of fans and critics as they completely dominated Wake Forest.
After a scoreless first quarter, Christian Ponder managed to find the end zone with a 10-yard pass to Willie Haulstead to give the Seminoles a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. Ponder played a mistake-free game as he threw for 243-yards and two touchdowns against no interceptions, while rushing for a touchdown as well.
The Florida State defense posted their first shutout of the season as Wake Forest managed to gain a total of only 185-yards, with 119 of those yards coming on two drives late in the game. The Seminoles began the season in the Top 25, but fell out after a disgraceful loss to Oklahoma. However, with a win next week in Charlottesville against Virginia they could see themselves back in the ranks before a tough matchup at No. 16 Miami in two weeks.
The ACC had another good week of play as three of the top teams in the conference all posted definitive wins against their opponents while the rest of the conference performed better than average, as well.
Virginia Tech continued to keep things going in the right direction this week with a shutout 19-0 victory at home against Boston College. North Carolina got a great win against a tough Rutgers squad on the road, as the Tarheels posted their first strike in the win column for the season.
TJ Yates continued to perform well as he completed 22 of 30 pass attempts for 204-yards as North Carolina battled back from a 10-0 first quarter deficit. Maryland and Virginia both came out of the weekend with lopsided victories against below average opponents, Florida International and VMI, respectively. Duke suffered the lone out of conference loss for the ACC in a discomforting loss at home against Army.