ACC Power Rankings Week 5: Miami Separates Themselves
Miami was back at it again with another impressive win on the road against Clemson. By doing so they maintained their top spot in the conference and are pulling away from the rest of the ACC.
There were plenty of games that had the smell of an upset but only one team could pull that off, Virginia Tech. They stunned N.C. State after being down 17-0 early in the game. Is Virginia Tech back?
Florida State and North Carolina took care of their business with ease, while Maryland and Georgia Tech had close calls in their comeback victories.
The conference is beginning to show the contenders from the pretenders and it will continue that phase this weekend with a few more key matchups.
North Carolina squares off against a Clemson team that could be reeling from a disappointing performance against Miami.
Georgia Tech struggled with Wake Forest all game before they went ahead with 15 seconds left, so there is not telling what will happen when they take on Virginia this weekend.
The game of the week though is Florida State at Miami. The best rivalry within the conference and some would argue the best rivalry in the state of Florida. You would think home-field advantage would play a big role in this game but not between these two teams. Neither one of these teams have held their ground at home against one another recently. In fact, you would have to date back to the 2005-06 season when Florida State won at home 10-7. Other than that, the road team has won each of the last four games against each other.
Every game has it's favorites, but anything can happen on another separation Saturday.
12. Duke 1-4 (0-2) Last Week- 12
Duke had an early 9-0 lead on the road against Maryland, but fell to the Terrapins 21-16.
This season has been full of mistakes for the Blue Devils and they were back at making those exact mistakes that have cost them mightily all season. Too many turnovers and big plays have contributed to their demise and it doesn't look like it will get any better.
Sean Renfree has been the only bright spot on this team all season and that isn't saying much. He completed 28 of 56 for 351 yards and a touchdown, but was also intercepted two times.
I hate to say this, but this team may not win another game for the remainder of the season.
Next Game: vs. Miami 10/16
11. Boston College 2-2 (0-1) Last Week -10
At least they weren't blanked out at home again. The Eagles had no answer for the offensive attack of the Irish losing 31-13.
Dave Shinskie has been the starting quarterback for the Eagles all season, but this time he had to start the game on the bench. Freshman Chase Rettig got his first career start only to limp off the field in the second quarter with a sprained ankle.
Mike Marscovetra came in next and he didn't fare much better, throwing back-to-back interceptions on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter. He finished 22 of 37 for 193 yards.
The Eagles have been tormented with their quarterback play all season and it looks like it will be an on going problem unless a miracle happens.
Next Game: at N.C. State 10/9
10. Wake Forest 2-3 (1-2) Last Week- 11
Just when you think things can't get any worse for the Demon Deacons it does. Starter Tanner Price was already sidelined before the game, then Ted Stachitas and Brendan Cross were both injured early in the game.
So in comes fourth-string quarterback Skylar Jones who was moved to receiver last season. He was unable to help them maintain their 20-6 lead heading into the final quarter.
They blew a two touchdown lead, allowing Georgia Tech to charge right back and put up 18 points in the final quarter to win the game 24-20.
This would have been a huge victory for the Demon Deacons, but their abysmal defense blew it for them again after shutting the Yellow Jackets down for first three quarters.
Jim Grobe and his Demon Deacons won't be seeing too many more wins this season.
Next Game: vs. Navy 10/9
9. Virginia 2-2 (0-1) Last Week- 9
In a game where the Cavaliers were considered to be on upset alert, but they failed miserably getting blown out 34-14 by the Seminoles.
Marc Verica didn't get off to a good start, missing plenty of open receivers and finishing 4 for 15 in the first half. He was replaced by Ross Metheny in the fourth quarter, finishing the day 14 for 30 for 211 yards and one touchdown.
This team is still a long way from contending with the upper echelon in the ACC but could finish close to .500 at season's end.
Next Game: at. Georgia Tech 10/9
8. Georgia Tech 3-2 (2-1) Last Week- 8
Talk about an embarrassing performance from Georgia Tech. A 24-20 win over Wake Forest is nothing to brag about, especially when you are going against one of the worst defense's in the nation.
Josh Nesbitt finally looked like a quarterback that can throw, completing 11 of 21 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. He threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Correy Earls with 15 seconds left for the game winning touchdown in their comeback win.
There is still some work left to do for this team if they want the right to defend their ACC crown.
They get another crack at improving their record when they host Virginia this weekend at home.
Next Game: vs. Virginia 10/6
7. Maryland 4-1 (1-0) Last Week- 6
It's hard for a team to move back in the rankings after a win but the Terrapins did just that with a lackluster 21-16 victory over Duke.
The difference in the game was when Tony Logan scored on an 84-yard punt return in the third quarter to give them the lead for good.
Danny O'Brien play in place of injured starter Jamarr Robinson for the second straight week, but this time around he struggled unlike his first start last week. He went 9 for 26 for 170 yards and a 71-yard touchdown pass to Da'Rel Scott.
The Terrapins have a week off to prepare for a visit to Death Valley. There they will be greeted by a hostile environment with a chance to prove their worth in the ACC.
Next Game: at Clemson 10/16
6. North Carolina 2-2 (0-1) Last Week- 7
Don't look now ACC, but the Tar Heels are starting to find their groove and some suspended players are about to be back in commission.
They have won back-to-back games now after manhandling ECU 42-17.
Shaun Draughn carried the load scoring three second-half touchdowns to blow the game wide open. He finished with 137 yards and three touchdowns. T.J. Yates continued his steady play completing 18 of 26 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
The highlight of the evening was Da'Norris Searcy returning an interception for a touchdown in his first game back since his three-game suspension. Butch Davis didn't know how much of an impact he would make since he wasn't cleared to return until Thursday.
The Tar Heels are thrilled to have him back as he will make this defense a much stronger unit. They have another chance to make a statement when Clemson visits this weekend.
Next Game: vs. Clemson 10/9
5. N.C. State 4-1 (1-1) Last Week- 2
N.C. State looked to continue their dominance when they took on Virginia Tech. They came out quick going up 17-0 in the second quarter but would relinquish that lead falling to the Hokies 41-30.
Russell Wilson had another bit game throwing for 362 yards and three touchdowns, but was also intercepted three times.
The defense didn't pull their weight in the second-half, missing some key tackles and giving up big plays on several occasions.
"We just got off schedule," Owen Spencer said. "We're not a complacent team, because we've been through the tough days. We're not satisfied with anything. Yeah, we won three straight, four straight games, but that's nothing. V-Tech's done that for the past 10 years. We just have to go out there and stay hungry."
This is still a very strong team and will look to correct some of their mistakes when they take on Boston College next. Expect them to get back to their winning ways as the Eagles continue with their struggles this season.
Next Game: vs. Boston College 10/9
4. Clemson 2-2 (0-1) Last Week- 3
This was the opportunity the Tigers were waiting for and they blew it, losing to the Hurricanes 30-21.
Turning the ball over six times is no way to win a ball game. They were still in the game even with all of those turnovers.
On fourth-and-1from Miami's 20 with 8:20 to go, Dabo Swinney elected to go for it instead of attempting a field goal that would of pulled them within three points. Brandon Harris of Miami showed Swinney just why that was a bad decision when he stuffed Andre Ellington resulting in a turnover on downs.
Even with a week off Kyle Parker looked like he was still feeling the pain from the Auburn game. Or maybe that one million dollar pay check he received from the Colorado Rockies was looming on his mind. Either way he didn't play up to par, finishing the game 14 for 33 for 149 yards and three interceptions.
It also doesn't help when your receivers accumulate for six drops on the day.
With all that being said, it's still tough to drop them much in the rankings because they still had a chance to win when they played their worst game of the season.
The Tigers are go back to work when they travel to take on the Tar Heels who seem to have things clicking right now.
Next Game: at North Carolina 10/9
3. Virginia Tech 3-2 (2-0) Last Week- 5
Talk about a big win and one that Virginia Tech needed badly. It looked as if the Hokies were about to be routed when they were down 17-0 midway through the first-half.
That didn't faze Tyrod Taylor or the defense from storming back in the second-half to leave the Wolfpack faithful stunned in disbelief as the Hokies left with a 41-30 victory.
"I've had a lot of proud moments at Virginia Tech, a lot of good teams," Beamer said. "But I've never been prouder of a team than I am today."
The second-half showed just what most Hokie fans thought all along; this team is the real deal and shouldn't be overlooked.
Next Game: vs. Central Michigan 10/9
2. Florida State 4-1 (2-0) Last Week- 4
The Seminoles took care of business when they ran through Charlottesville, pounding the Cavaliers 34-14.
The ground attack finished with 256 yards, while Jermaine Thomas finished with 122 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He broke open the score early in the first quarter when he scampered down the sideline for a 70 yard touchdown.
Christian Ponder continues to look less impressive every week. Not making mistakes is about the only good thing for him at the moment. He completed 17 of 29 passes for 172 yards and one touchdown. The throwing arm still seems to be a sign of concern but the coaches, including Ponder refuse to address the issue.
It was a tale of two halves for the defense. The first-half was pure domination as they only allowed 42 yards of total offense, but the Cavaliers would finish with 304 yards when it was all said and done. However, they did rack up six more sacks to add to their nation leading total (25).
They can't have these types of lapses when they take on the Hurricanes down in Miami this weekend or they will be ran right out of the stadium in a hurry.
Next Game: at Miami 10/9
1. Miami 3-1 (1-0) Last Week- 1
You ask and you shall receive. Miami fans have been looking for that key win to hush those nay-sayers up and they did just that beating Clemson 30-21 in Death Valley.
Jacory Harris connected with his go-to receiver Leonard Hankerson for 147 yards and three touchdowns. Harris didn't have his best game but he finished with a career high in touchdown passes with four.
The real story was how their top-ranked ACC defense recked havoc on Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker. They forced six turnovers and three of those were thrown by Parker. This defense is a force to be reckon with and is a good reason why the offense managed to put up 30 points.
"The defense, they stepped up two weeks in a row, got us the ball and we scored points," Hankerson said.
The Hurricanes are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the ACC and looks to do more of that when they take on the Seminoles. It will mark their first home game of the season since opening week against FAMU.
Next Game: vs. Florida State 10/9