ACC: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

The most aggressive offense in the ACC in 2014 was Clemson, which might not have been a surprise in 2012 or 2013, but in a year in which there were so many personnel issues for the Tigers’ offense, it’s a bit shocking.

Clemson threw deep (20-plus yards) on 7.46 percent of its total plays, well above the league average of 5.93 percent, according to ESPN Stats & Info. And that was probably not the best idea either, because while Clemson went deep more often than anyone else, the Tigers also averaged the second-fewest yards-per-attempt on those throws (trailing only Syracuse) and nearly 10 yards per attempt less than what Tajh Boyd mustered last year for Clemson. That’s not exactly a recipe for offensive success.

[+] EnlargeDeshaun Watson
AP Photo/Rainier EhrhardtDeshaun Watson completed nearly 50 percent of his deep balls in 2014 with seven touchdowns and just one interception.
But, of course, personnel had a lot to do with that, and it only goes to show how much a healthy Deshaun Watson affects Clemson’s overall offensive success, because those aggregate numbers hardly tell the whole story.

Watson completed nearly 50 percent of his deep balls in 2014 with seven touchdowns and just one interception. He averaged 15.9 yards per attempt, which would’ve been tops in the ACC if he’d been the only quarterback throwing for the Tigers in 2014. But he wasn’t.

Cole Stoudt and Nick Schuessler completed just 15 percent of their deep balls this season with one TD, two interceptions and a woeful 5.2 yards-per-attempt average. To put that in perspective, if they’d been the only quarterbacks throwing for Clemson this year, the Tigers would’ve been dead last in the league in YPA by nearly four full yards.

That’s just one of the interesting facts we find when we dig into the ACC’s deep-ball numbers for 2014.

A few more, with deep-ball stats courtesy ESPN Stats & Info:

  • No team was worse on the deep ball in the ACC than Syracuse. This is no surprise. The Orange completed just 27.8 percent of its deep balls (worst in the ACC), averaged 9.2 yards per attempt (again, worst), had just two touchdowns (13th) and five interceptions (t-12th). That’s down a bit from last year, but the Orange have struggled on those throws ever since Ryan Nassib left.
  • Perhaps the most improved team on the deep ball this year was Virginia. Last season, the Hoos were just 7-of-50 on throws of 20 yards or more. This year, they more than doubled their deep-ball yards, completion percentage and TD throws.
  • North Carolina had one of the ACC’s most potent offenses, but it wasn’t because of the deep ball. This is one of the reasons Larry Fedora was so high on Mitch Trubisky, but the numbers didn’t back up that confidence. Overall, UNC’s completion percentage of 28 percent on deep balls was third-worst in the league and its 9.93 YPA was fourth worst, but Marquise Williams was far better than his counterpart. Williams wasn’t great (28 percent completions, 12.2 YPA) but Trubisky really struggled (3-of-15 for 100 yards with a pick).
  • Only Wake Forest went deep less often than Pittsburgh (4.28 percent of total plays), which seems a bit odd considering that the Panthers could’ve used play-action well (given the strong running game) and they actually had the highest completion percentage of any ACC team on throws of 20-plus yards (44.4 percent).
  • Florida State was far less successful on the deep ball this year than last, with its completion percentage down (48.8 in 2013 to 35.7 in 2014) and TDs way off (16 last year, nine this). But FSU also threw five fewer interceptions on deep throws this year, and when it did get a completion, it’s YPC was actually improved (40 YPA this year, 32 YPA last year).
  • No team was better on the deep ball than Miami in 2014. Brad Kaaya proved to be an excellent downfield thrower, matched with a good running game and speed at receiver. For the year, Miami completed 41.3 percent of its deep balls (second in ACC), averaged 14.6 yards per attempt (first) and had nine touchdowns on those throws (tied for first). It’s worth noting though that just 12 percent of Miami’s passes in 2014 were 20 yards or more, the third fewest in the league.
  • No team gained a higher percentage of its total offense in 2014 via the deep ball than Louisville (15.9 percent), which is interesting given that DeVante Parker missed seven games and Bobby Petrino cycled through three different quarterbacks. Overall, Louisville’s deep-ball numbers were virtually the same as 2013, in spite of losing its star receiver for more than half the year and a first-round draft pick at quarterback. That’s a real credit to the work Petrino did this season.
  • Not surprisingly, Georgia Tech and Boston College had the highest percentage of their pass attempts be deep balls. Next up though? NC State (17 percent).
  • Virginia Tech wasn’t great on the deep ball (10.5 YPA, four TDs, four INTs), but it was a necessary part of the Hokies’ offense. For the year, 74.1 percent of Tech’s plays of 20-plus yards came on throws of 20-plus yards -- meaning if the Hokies didn’t look deep, they rarely had a shot at a big play. The league average on that stat was 45.6 percent, meaning the rest of the ACC got more than half of its big plays from plays that weren’t deep balls. Virtually all of Virginia Tech’s big-play threat relied on the arm of Michael Brewer. That speaks volumes about the Hokies’ season.

Story of the season: Wake Forest

December, 15, 2014
Dec 15
When the new coaching staff arrived at Wake Forest, they began their evaluation of the program with strength tests. The numbers, Dave Clawson said, were not encouraging.

Clawson had coached at all levels of football, but what he found at Wake Forest was some of the worst results of strength tests he’d seen, and before he’d ever run a practice with the Demon Deacons, he knew there would be problems offensively.

“Our strength numbers were not anywhere close to what a Division I football team should be, let alone an ACC team,” Clawson said. “Those are things that take time. You’re not going to go from bad strength levels to good strength levels in six months.”

The numbers did get better as the 2014 season went along, and so did Wake Forest’s overall performance. But the hole Clawson had to dig his program out of was a deep one, and the results on the field underscored just how far the Deacons had to go.

[+] EnlargeJohn Wolford, Dyshawn Davis
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonA porous offensive line led to 45 sacks for freshman QB John Wolford.
The story of Wake Forest’s season can be summed up pretty easily with two numbers.

The first is 48 --the number of sacks the Deacons allowed this season, most in the nation. Freshman QB John Wolford was on the receiving end of 45 of those sacks (again, tops in the nation). It was virtually impossible to sustain drives when Wolford was so often a sitting duck.

The second is 2.47, or the average yards per carry on non-sack runs for Wake’s offense. It was by far the worst rate in the nation, with no other Power 5 team within a yard of Wake’s woeful tally.

Thirty-five percent of Wake Forest’s runs went for a loss, and no other team in the country was within 30 TFLs of the Deacons’ season total of 127.

In other words, the line of scrimmage was a disaster.

“We were overwhelmed at the line of scrimmage all year long,” Clawson said, “and we combined that with using six freshmen at the skill positions.”

That Wake Forest would be physically overmatched all season offensively was no surprise. But what was encouraging for Clawson in Year 1 was that the Deacons never played like they expected to be overwhelmed.

The line struggled, but Clawson saw the unit continue to work.

Those freshmen made mistakes, but Clawson saw several of them develop into capable football players.

Wolford took a beating, but Clawson saw a quarterback who remained poised in the pocket and improved as the year went along.

“He got better, and if anything, he showed he had courage and guts and was willing to step into the pocket,” Clawson said. “He took a lot of hits and had a lot of sacks and he continued to play hard. He didn’t play like a quarterback that got hit a lot. You didn’t see him throw off his back foot or react to a phantom rush.”

There are more numbers that showed Wake’s limitations -- that until the season finale, every point the Deacons scored was by a player who’d never scored before this season or that in that final game of the year, Clawson dressed just 48 scholarship players. But those are excuses, and Clawson said no one inside Wake’s locker room was interested in that.

“You never finish the year 3-9 and say it was a good year,” Clawson said. “Our standards are higher and our expectations are higher, but if this is the effort and intensity we play with, as we get stronger and recruit talent, that’s a great foundation.”

And that foundation did develop throughout the year.

Wake won just three games, but it was on the wrong end of a blowout just three times, too -- a relatively amazing stat considering the dearth of talent on the roster.

“We probably stayed in games against teams that were a lot more talented than us because we did play hard,” Clawson said.

The team continued to fight, even late in the season. A 6-3 win over Virginia Tech in the penultimate game of the year represented a high point defensively for the Deacons. A 41-21 loss to Duke in the finale was perhaps Wake’s best offensive performance.

It’s a reason to be encouraged, and that alone is progress at Wake Forest.

Clawson expects a young team again next year -- maybe younger than 2014 -- and those strength numbers still have a ways to go. The defense that kept Wake in a lot of games will lose two quality cornerbacks, and the schedule for 2015 won’t get much easier.

But the good news is that Clawson didn’t have to look that hard to find building blocks this year. The final project may still be a ways off, but this was a team that clearly knows the finish line exists. That’s encouraging.

“The one thing you always want your team to do was play hard, and people who watched us play knew we gave great effort,” Clawson said. “Now we’ve got to develop players and upgrade the talent level.”

All-ACC team's toughest omissions

December, 12, 2014
Dec 12
ESPN released its All-ACC team today, and though we certainly won’t expect much sympathy, it’s worth mentioning that putting those lists together is no easy task. This year, in particular, there were so many strong performances around the ACC that narrowing down the top guards, linebackers, defensive ends -- even the quarterback -- was an arduous task destined to leave some deserving players off the final list.

But since we don’t want to ignore those near-misses entirely, here is a quick look at some of the toughest decisions we had to make for this year’s All-ACC team.

Quarterback: The bottom line is that there is no better player in the conference than Jameis Winston when he’s on, but unlike last season, he had his share of struggles, too. Meanwhile, Marquise Williams emerged as a tremendous dual threat for UNC, helping to overcome a lot of the Tar Heels’ defensive struggles with some huge performances on offense, and Justin Thomas injected new life into Paul Johnson’s old option offense at Georgia Tech. Both Thomas and Williams were deserving candidates for first team — and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson would have been, too, if he had stayed healthy all season. Overall, it was a stellar year for quarterback play in the ACC.

Offensive guard: The problem with debating the merits of offensive linemen is that there aren’t many stats to use to break a tie, and when it came to our top three choices at guard -- Laken Tomlinson, Shaq Mason and Tre Jackson -- there was ample debate. In the end, we went with the first two, but Jackson’s contributions -- particularly with the revolving door at center for FSU this season -- shouldn’t go unnoticed. He might have been the Seminoles’ best offensive lineman.

Tight end: In the end, numbers set Clive Walford apart here. He led all ACC tight ends in yards, touchdowns, first downs, yards-per-catch and receptions per game while working with a true freshman quarterback. Still, it’s hard to ignore Nick O'Leary’s fine season (plus bonus points for taking on a bus and winning). Bucky Hodges, Gerald Christian, David Grinnage and Cam Serigne all had fine seasons as well.

Defensive end: OK, we cheated here. Vic Beasley was the obvious choice, but for the opposite side of the line, the debate between Dadi Nicolas and Mario Edwards Jr. was intense, with viable arguments made for both players. Edwards was a crucial cog on FSU’s defense, one of the most dynamic mixes of size and speed in college football. Nicolas was a force throughout the season and stepped up when interior lineman Luther Maddy went down with an injury. In the end, we followed the playoff selection committee’s precedent and avoided the tough question altogether by making our defense a 3-4 unit instead. Sorry, Dadi and Mario -- but now you know how Baylor and TCU feel.

Linebacker: There probably isn’t a more stacked position in the ACC than linebacker. Denzel Perryman and Stephone Anthony were exceptional. David Helton led the ACC in tackles. Lorenzo Mauldin was the most dynamic pass-rusher on Louisville’s stout defense. They all made the cut, but it meant a host of deserving options were left out, including BC’s Josh Keyes, Virginia’s Max Valles and Henry Coley, Syracuse’s Cameron Lynch and Georgia Tech’s Paul Davis.

All-ACC team, coaches' awards unveiled

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
The ACC coaches' awards and all-conference teams looked a lot like the media's version from last week, as Pitt running back James Conner led the way by winning offensive and overall player of the year honors.

Likewise, Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley one again took home defensive player of the year honors, while Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya was named both overall and offensive rookie of the year. Virginia safety Quin Blanding was again named defensive rookie of the year.

Coach of the year? That would be Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, who received 10 of the 14 votes from his peers.

Defending national champion Florida State led the way in all-league teams, tallying 18 players across the three teams.

The team with the second-most? Virginia, surprisingly enough, as the Cavaliers landed nine players on the all-league teams despite finishing with a 5-7 record.


WR: Rashad Greene (FSU)
WR: Jamison Crowder (Duke)
WR: Tyler Boyd (Pitt)
TE: Nick O’Leary (FSU)
T: Cameron Erving (FSU)
T: T.J. Clemmings (Pitt)
G: Laken Tomlinson (Duke)
G: Tre' Jackson (FSU)
C: Shane McDermott (Miami)
QB: Jameis Winston (FSU)
RB: James Conner (Pitt)
RB: Duke Johnson (Miami)
K: Roberto Aguayo (FSU)
SP: Jamison Crowder (Duke)

DE: Vic Beasley (Clemson)
DE: Mario Edwards Jr. (FSU)
DT: Grady Jarrett (Clemson)
DT: Eddie Goldman (FSU)
LB: Denzel Perryman (Miami)
LB: Stephone Anthony (Clemson)
LB: Lorenzo Mauldin (Louisville)
CB: Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech)
CB: Garry Peters (Clemson)
S: Gerod Holliman (Louisville)
S: Jalen Ramsey (FSU)
P: Wil Baumann (NC State)

To see the full roster, click here.

Among the biggest differences between the coaches' and media's voting: Boston College center Andy Gallik was relegated to the second team this time around, with Miami's Shane McDermott taking the top spot on the coaches' team. McDermott received only honorable mention status from the media last week. Louisville linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin was also a first-team newcomer, replacing Duke's David Helton, who made the media's first-team and who took home some pretty impressive hardware of his own Tuesday night in New York. Clemson cornerback Garry Peters was also a first-team addition, leaping the media's selection of FSU's P.J. Williams.

Louisville receiver DeVante Parker made the coaches' second-team after playing in just five games. Parker had made the media's third-team. The coaches flipped the media's second- and third-team quarterbacks, putting Georgia Tech's Justin Thomas on the second-team and North Carolina's Marquise Williams on the third-team.

The coaches' third-team ended up containing five linebackers, as four tied in the voting, as well as two cornerbacks and two punters.

To see the media's All-ACC picks from last week, click here.

ACC Power Rankings: Week 15

December, 7, 2014
Dec 7

ACC's All-Overlooked team

December, 2, 2014
Dec 2
The ACC announced its all-conference teams yesterday, but there were certainly a number of good players who didn't get recognized. So with that in mind, we put together our all-overlooked team focusing exclusively on ACC standouts who didn't earn first-, second- or third-team honors from the league.

QB: Brad Kaaya (Miami)
RB: Shadrach Thornton (NC State)
RB: Wayne Gallman (Clemson)
WR: Jarrod West (Syracuse)
WR: Bo Hines (NC State)
WR: (tie) Cam Phillips and Isaiah Ford (VT)
TE: Cam Serigne (Wake)
OL: Ian Silberman (BC)
OL: Eric Smith (UVA)
OL: Brian Chamberlain (GT)
OL: Kalon Davis (Clemson)
C: Quinton Schooley (NC State)

Kaaya led the ACC in touchdowns, yards-per-attempt and passer rating. He had his flaws, but that's a great season to go unnoticed. Thornton was actually the league's third-leading rusher among tailbacks. West somehow finished ninth in catches and 10th in receiving in the ACC despite an atrocious situation at QB for Syracuse. Hines was a go-to receiver from Day 1 as a true freshman at NC State and was among the nation's most reliable pass-catchers. The two freshmen at Virginia Tech, Cam Phillips and Isaiah Ford, will make plenty of All-ACC lists before their careers are done. Serigne's emergence was one of the very few bright spots on offense for Wake Forest. Silberman, a Florida transfer, set the stage for fellow former Gator Tyler Murphy to set the ACC record for rushing yards by a QB. Schooley was perhaps NC State's top lineman on a group that got significantly better as the year went along and helped the Wolfpack to finish second in the ACC in yards-per-rush. Smith gets a nod, but Virginia's line was largely a group effort, and until injuries began piling up in November, few lines had protected its QB better.

DE: KeShun Freeman (GT)
DE: Corey Crawford (Clemson)
DT: David Dean (UVA)
LB: Josh Keyes (BC)
LB: Marquel Lee (Wake)
LB: Dyshawn Davis (Syracuse)
LB: P.J. Davis (GT)
S: James Sample (Louisville)
S: Robert Smith (Clemson)
CB: Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)
CB: Kevin Johnson (Wake)

All you need to know about Crawford's impact is that when he was out against Georgia, the Tigers allowed 328 rushing yards and five touchdowns. In the next 11 games with him, they allowed 844 yards and five touchdowns. Freeman stepped up for Georgia Tech as a freshman to provide some much-needed pass rush. Keyes was one of the most versatile linebackers in the league, helping BC's defense rank fourth nationally against the run. Lee finished in the top 10 in the ACC in both tackles and tackles for loss on an under-appreciated Wake defense. Davis, like the rest of the Syracuse D, was largely ignored but finished the year with six TFL, seven QB hurries and three forced fumbles. Smith was the veteran voice in a young Clemson secondary, and his influence helped Alexander blossom into one of the league's best corners. While the defensive front got so much of the credit, Clemson's secondary also finished fourth nationally in pass defense.

K: Ammon Lakip (Clemson)
P: Riley Dixon (Syracuse)
Ret: Myles Willis (BC)

Lakip missed three of his first four kicks against FBS teams, and Clemson lost both games. But he showed ample resilience in connecting on 15 of his next 16. Willis led the ACC in kick return yardage and was responsible for one of the league's five return TDs. And Dixon, of course, was a Heisman candidate after a game-saving Week 1 TD pass, and we're just not ready to give up that dream.
The ACC announced its 2014 all-conference selections Monday, with a handful of noteworthy winners and snubs.

Florida State once again led the way with 17 players named, including 10 named first-team All-ACC. Duke had nine players named, Virginia had eight, and Coastal Division champ Georgia Tech had seven.

The most noteworthy first-team selection was FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, who has led the Seminoles to a second straight undefeated season, but also leads the league in interceptions. The battle for the top spot at quarterback was particularly close, with UNC's Marquise Williams (second team), Georgia Tech's Justin Thomas (third team), Miami's Brad Kaaya, Clemson's Deshaun Watson and NC State's Jacoby Brissett all having strong seasons, too.

Here's the first-team All-ACC selections:

QB: Jameis Winston (FSU)
WR: Rashad Greene (FSU)
WR: Jamison Crowder (Duke)
WR: Tyler Boyd (Pitt)
RB: Duke Johnson (Miami)
RB: James Conner (Pitt)
C: Andy Gallik (Boston College)
G: Laken Tomlinson (Duke)
G: Tre Jackson (FSU)
T: T.J. Clemmings (Pitt)
T: Cameron Erving (FSU)

DE: Vic Beasley (Clemson)
DE: Mario Edwards Jr. (FSU)
DT: Eddie Goldman (FSU)
DT: Grady Jarrett (Clemson)
LB: Denzel Perryman (Miami)
LB: David Helton (Duke)
LB: Stephone Anthony (Clemson)
CB: Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech)
CB: P.J. Williams (FSU)
S: Jalen Ramsey (FSU)
S: Gerod Holliman (Louisville)

K: Roberto Aguayo (FSU)
P: Wil Baumann (NC State)
Ret: Jamison Crowder (Duke)

To see the full roster, click here.

Among the biggest snubs in the ACC:

Miami tight end Clive Walford is a Mackey Award finalist and has more yards, touchdowns and first downs and caught a higher percentage of his targets than fellow Mackey Finalist, Nick O'Leary. Still, O'Leary was named to the first team.

Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker was a third-team selection thanks to missing the first seven games of the season, but he ranks seventh in the league in yards in spite of just playing five games.

NC State's Shadrach Thornton is third among running backs in yards (811) but was not named to any of the All-ACC teams.

BC's Josh Keyes has 11 tackles for loss — good for 12th in the conference — but was not one of the 10 linebackers named to All-ACC teams.

Wake Forest's Marquel Lee ranks 10th in the league with 12 TFLs and ninth in tackles with 101 but did not even earn an honorable mention.

Georgia Tech's Shaq Mason has anchored one of the best offensive lines in the country, helping pave the way for the nation's No. 4 rushing offense, but he was not a first-team selection.

By the numbers: Week 14 recap

December, 1, 2014
Dec 1
We’ve reached the end of the regular season, which means we’re blowing out the last installment of our stats recaps.

Georgia Tech’s big win

Georgia Tech’s win against Georgia was the fourth time this season an ACC team knocked off a non-conference top-10 opponent (Virginia Tech against Ohio State, Boston College against USC and FSU against Notre Dame were the others). The other four Power 5 leagues had just two wins against non-conference top-10 foes combined this season (both by the Pac-12).

Georgia Tech forced two crucial turnovers in the red zone against Georgia, and also had an interception to seal the game in overtime. That has been par for the course for the Yellow Jackets, who rank 10th nationally in turnover margin (+11), 12th in takeaways (27), fourth in points off turnovers (123), and second in red-zone takeaways (7).

In its past five games, Georgia Tech has 17 takeaways. Only Louisiana Tech has more during that span in the nation (18). And considering Georgia Tech averages the highest time of possession per drive (3:02), not only do all those takeaways lead to points, but it also accounts for average of 11 extra minutes of possession time per game. Not coincidentally, the Jackets’ time-of-possession edge during the past five weeks is an average of 12 minutes, 12 seconds.

Lucky No. 14 for Holliman

Louisville’s Gerod Holliman snagged his 14th interception of the season to clinch Saturday’s win against Kentucky. The interception also clinched the FBS record for Holliman, who tied the mark set by Washington’s Al Worley in 1968. If Holliman can snag one more pick during Louisville’s bowl game, he would match the highest total by any player in NCAA history, regardless of division.

Holliman’s 14 interceptions are astounding. No other ACC defender has more than four. Ole Miss' Senquez Golson is the closest nationally with nine, but only three other players in the country have even half Holliman's total. In fact, there are only 12 players from Power 5 teams in the nation who have more total passes defended than Holliman has interceptions.

The term "ball hawk" gets thrown around pretty loosely, but Holliman’s exploits in 2014 certainly warrant the moniker.

ACC's top tight ends

The ACC will have two-thirds of the Mackey Award finalists for the nation’s top tight ends, and we saw their impact in Week 14.

Clive Walford had four catches for 49 yards in the early going for Miami, but he went down with an injury with the score 21-13. Miami came up empty on four of its final six drives without him, and Brad Kaaya completed just 12-of-32 passes the rest of the way.

Nick O'Leary was Jameis Winston's top target in the red zone against Florida, catching four passes for 52 yards and two scores.

Though Walford and O’Leary are two of the nation’s three best tight ends, they are not exactly head and shoulders above the rest of the ACC.

Bucky Hodges helped lead Virginia Tech to an 11th straight win against Virginia on Friday. David Grinnage had a TD against UNC on Saturday, and Wake Forest’s Cam Serigne had six catches and a TD against Duke.

In fact, there are only seven Power 5 tight ends with at least 500 receiving yards this season, and the ACC is responsible for four.


Overall, the ACC has six tight ends with more than 300 receiving yards, nine with at least 20 catches, and eight with at least three touchdowns.

Cook comes of age

Dalvin Cook was the hero for Florida State yet again Saturday, rushing for a career-high 144 yards on 24 carries against Florida.

Since Cook emerged in Week 7, only four players in the ACC have accounted for more yards from scrimmage, and they are all pretty good: Duke Johnson, James Conner, DeVante Parker and Tyler Boyd.

But parse the numbers a little more, and it’s easy to see why Cook has been such a huge factor for the Seminoles. In the second halves of games since Week 7, no ACC player has more scrimmage yards than Cook (468), and he ranks eighth nationally in second-half yardage during that span.

Wolford steps up

It was a rough freshman season for Wake Forest's John Wolford, who was thrown to the fire early and then endured the highest sack rate of any quarterback in the nation. But if there is reason for optimism in Winston-Salem, it is because of how Wolford finished the season.

After tossing 13 interceptions in his first eight games, Wolford had just one in his final four games. In his first seven ACC contests, he completed 55 percent of his throws, averaged 4.9 yards per attempt and had three TD passes with seven interceptions. Against Duke on Saturday, he completed 67 percent of his passes, threw for 251 yards and had a career-high three touchdown passes without an interception.

Pitt’s dynamic duo

The regular season ended with Pitt’s Conner (1,675 yards) and Boyd (1,149 yards) as one of just four sets of Power 5 conference teammates to top 1,000 yards. The others were USC’s Nelson Agholor (1,223) and Javorius Allen (1,337), Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong (1,062) and D.J. Foster (1,002), and Michigan State’s Tony Lippett (1,124) and Jeremy Langford (1,360).

If you add a tailback’s rushing and a wideout’s receiving yards together, only Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Alex Erickson (2,911) and Colorado State’s Dee Hart and Rashard Higgins (2,894) had more yards than Conner and Boyd (2,824).

Extra points
  • In the past two seasons, Miami is a combined 13-3 with an average scoring margin of +17 in games before playing Florida State. The Hurricanes are a combined 2-7 with a scoring margin of -10 from the FSU game on.
  • Entering this season, Florida State had at least four tackles for loss in 56 straight games. Saturday’s win against Florida marked the third time this season FSU has finished with three. In nine of the Seminoles’ 12 games this season, they recorded zero or one sack. They had produced only 15 such games in the first four years of Jimbo Fisher’s tenure.
  • Only five Power 5 conference teams held every opponent this season to less than 450 yards of offense. Two of them are in the ACC: Boston College and Virginia.
  • Here is the complete list of quarterbacks with at least 2,000 passing yards, 300 rushing yards, 20 passing TDs and no more than five interceptions this season: Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley and NC State’s Jacoby Brissett. In fact, in the past five years, only eight Power 5 conference quarterbacks have matched those numbers.
  • J.C. Coleman racked up 118 yards on 18 carries in Virginia Tech’s win against Virginia. He has now topped 95 yards in all three games since Marshawn Williams went down with an injury. The last Hokies tailback to do that was David Wilson, who did it in seven straight in 2011.
  • Parker had his fourth 100-yard receiving day of the season against Kentucky. Only 10 players in the country have had more against Power 5 opponents, which is made even more impressive given that Parker has only played in five games total. Despite missing the first seven games of the season, Parker still ranks seventh in the ACC in receiving.
  • Miami’s Phillip Dorsett finished off the regular season as the nation’s leader in yards-per-catch, averaging 26.65. Colorado State’s Higgins (19), a Biletnikoff Finalist, is the only receiver in the country with more grabs of 30-plus yards than Dorsett (12).
  • Clemson’s Artavis Scott set a school record for freshmen with 185 receiving yards against South Carolina. Scott now has 851 yards this season, which is second to only Illinois' Mike Dudek among Power 5 true freshmen.
  • Clemson finished the regular season averaging 10.2 tackles-for-loss per game, tops in the country and the difference between the Tigers and No. 2 Virginia Tech (1.47 TFL per game) is the same as the difference between No. 2 and No. 19. In fact, Clemson's numbers are historically good. Since 2008, only two other teams even averaged 9 TFLs per game -- and one of those was last season's Clemson team.
  • With 11 tackles on Saturday, FSU's Reggie Northrup now has 101 for the year. He's the first Seminoles defender to top 100 tackles in a season since Buster Davis in 2006.
It certainly appears this is the end for Chad Morris at Clemson, as multiple reports have the Tigers’ offensive coordinator tabbed for the top job at SMU.

That Morris is leaving is no surprise. He’s had opportunities to take a head coaching job elsewhere each of the past two years, but he’s been reluctant to leave until he found the right opportunity. Given the state of affairs at SMU, it’s certainly an open question whether this job should’ve met that standard, but clearly Morris sees the potential.

Morris, of course, built his career as a high school coach in Texas, and he figures to add plenty to SMU’s recruiting in the state. With a low bar set for the Mustangs, there’s also nowhere to go but up for Morris.

But considering all the talent he also has returning for 2015 at Clemson, Morris would be passing up a chance to perhaps burnish his resume a bit more for a Power 5 job next year — but obviously that’s math he’s already done.

So the question for Clemson fans then becomes: Who’ll handle all that talent next season?

The State suggests wide receivers coach Jeff Scott will land the job, and that’s certainly not a stretch.

Scott is just 33, he’s a Clemson alum, he’s a whiz on the recruiting trail, and he’s the son of a coach. But Scott has never called plays before, and given that Morris was one of the highest-paid assistants in the country, it certainly would be a change of philosophy for the Tigers.

But, of course, it would also keep the same offensive philosophy from Morris’ regime, and with Deshaun Watson — who ran an offense in high school very similar to what Morris ran at Clemson — the star of the future for the Tigers, that makes some sense.

If Scott isn’t the guy, a few names to watch include Doug Meacham or Sonny Cumbie at TCU, Lincoln Riley at East Carolina or Jay Norvell at Oklahoma.

And even if Clemson already has a solid replacement for Morris, it could be in the market for a defensive coordinator sooner than later, too, as Brent Venables — who put together the No. 1 defense in the nation this year — continues to be a hot name around the country, too.

A few more links:

ACC Power Rankings: Week 14

November, 30, 2014
Nov 30

What we learned in the ACC: Week 14

November, 29, 2014
Nov 29
We learned plenty in the final weekend of the regular season.

1. Unbeaten ACC. The ACC went 4-0 against its SEC counterparts on Saturday, its first sweep on rivalry weekend since 2000. SEC apologists can spin the sweep any way they want ("But it was against the dreadful East!"), but there is one fact that cannot be ignored: The SEC East is a part of the SEC as a whole. So four wins over the East means four wins over the SEC. That matters. The biggest, most dramatic belonged to No. 16 Georgia Tech, upsetting Georgia 30-24 in Athens in overtime. Remember, No. 9 Georgia was considered a dark-horse playoff contender when the weekend started. No longer. The Jackets finished with 10 wins in the regular season for the first time since 2009 and beat Georgia for the first time since 2008. Clemson also ended its five-game losing streak to South Carolina in a dominating 35-17 victory. Not even Steve Spurrier had much to say afterward, crediting the Tigers for having the better team. No. 3 Florida State held on to beat Florida 24-19, while Louisville had to come back to beat Kentucky 44-40 in perhaps the chippiest game of the day. For a league that has had its struggles against its closest conference rival, the big weekend shows the ACC is capable of winning more than its fair share. Indeed, the ACC is on pace to post back-to-back winning records against the SEC for the first time since 2002-03.

[+] EnlargeJustin Thomas
AP Photo/David TulisJustin Thomas and Georgia Tech flew under the radar, but they are a dangerous team to face.
2. Watson's magic. Clemson needed to beat a down South Carolina team, and the Tigers came through in a big way. For the first time in school history, they had a 250-yard passer, 180-yard rusher and 180-yard receiver in the same game. That 250-yard passer, freshman phenom Deshaun Watson, played the game with a torn ACL. Say what? Coach Dabo Swinney revealed after the game that Watson tore the ligament during practice before the Georgia State game. He played against the Gamecocks with a knee brace and proved to be effective despite the injury. He finished 14-of-19 for 269 yards and two touchdowns. His passing efficiency of 188.57 is the best in the nation. Swinney expects Watson to play in the bowl game and then undergo surgery. The future looks bright in Clemson, though the Tigers might be looking for a new offensive coordinator. Chad Morris has been in discussion with SMU about its head-coaching job.

3. Virginia Tech and Pitt are going bowling. Just when you thought it was time to bury the Hokies, up they rise against their perennial punching bag, Virginia. It mattered not that UVa came into the game with big-time momentum with a win over Miami. In the Virginia-Virginia Tech series, the Hokies should be considered the favorites until the Hoos actually win. Virginia Tech extended its winning streak in the series to 11 and its bowl streak to 22 after the come-from-behind 24-20 win Friday night. Meanwhile, Pitt handled Miami on Saturday night 35-23 to become bowl eligible again. The Panthers started the season 3-0 before losing six of their next seven games. But wins over Syracuse and Miami salvaged the season for Pitt, which ran for 226 yards in the win over the Canes.

4. NC State rising. Perhaps the most surprising result of the day was in Chapel Hill, when the Wolfpack completely dominated North Carolina 35-7. The Tar Heels looked dominant themselves last week against Duke but came out flat and emotionless in their second rivalry game in as many weeks. Both Jacoby Brissett and Shad Thornton had over 160 yards rushing as the Wolfpack basically did whatever they wanted on the ground. After winning no ACC games a year ago, NC State finished 3-5 in ACC play, won seven games and beat UNC for the first time since 2011. That qualifies as progress.

5. BC, Duke keep on truckin'. It was convenient to discount what BC and Duke did a season ago, but they both proved this season they are no flukes. Despite losing Andre Williams, BC finished 7-5 again after a 28-7 win over Syracuse and had opportunities to beat Florida State and Clemson along the way. While Duke lost a chance to repeat as Coastal champs, the Blue Devils won nine games in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. Their 41-21 win over Wake Forest on Saturday night was one of their most complete victories of the season. Pretty obvious that Steve Addazio and David Cutcliffe have proven themselves to be among the best coaches in the ACC.

ACC viewer's guide: Week 14

November, 28, 2014
Nov 28
It seems like just yesterday we were kicking off the ACC season, but here we are at the finish line. Week 14 may be the end of the regular season, but there’s still plenty of intrigue -- from crucial rivalry showdowns to three teams playing for bowl eligibility. Here’s what to watch for.

Friday, 8 p.m.

Virginia at Virginia Tech, ESPN, #UVAvsVT

Few rivalries in the country have been as lopsided as this one, with the Hokies winning 10 in a row and 14 of the last 15. But this year’s matchup feels entirely different. UVa is coming off an emphatic win over Miami, a win that helped save Mike London's job. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, is coming off one of its most embarrassing losses in history, a 6-3 defeat to Wake Forest. Changes on the Hokies’ staff appear all but certain at this point. To add to the intrigue, both teams are playing for bowl eligibility, with the winner getting that crucial sixth win and the loser on to what promises to be a tumultuous offseason.

Saturday, noon

Georgia Tech at Georgia, SEC Network, #GTvsUGA

The Yellow Jackets toppled Georgia in Athens in 2008 in Paul Johnson’s first season as coach, and it appeared that perhaps the power structure in the state was beginning to change, but in the five years since, it’s been all UGA. In last year’s game, Tech led 20-0 in the second quarter only to lose 41-34 in double overtime. This year, the Jackets’ players are hoping to finally get some revenge, and with Tech playing its best football of the year, an upset is certainly possible. Georgia fell to Florida last month when it couldn’t stop the ground game, and Tech figures to employ the same philosophy this weekend.

Kentucky at Louisville, ESPN2, #UKvsLOU

There’s plenty on the line for both sides in the ACC’s newest rivalry game against the SEC. Kentucky has lost five straight, but a win here could get Mark Stoops’ squad bowl eligible. Louisville’s offense is finally clicking, as Reggie Bonnafon looks comfortable in his role as starter. A win for the Cardinals would keep them in the hunt for an Orange Bowl berth. But, of course, state bragging rights may top all of those goals.

South Carolina at Clemson, ESPN, #SCvsCLEM

Like Virginia and Georgia Tech, Clemson has been on the wrong side of a lopsided rivalry in recent years. Dabo Swinney beat South Carolina to secure the head-coaching job at Clemson in 2008, but he hasn’t been able to repeat the feat since. But freshman QB Deshaun Watson could return for this one, and he offers hope. Add to that a South Carolina defense that offers little in the way of a pass rush and has been gouged repeatedly this year, and things certainly look a bit more positive for the Tigers. It will be up to Vic Beasley & Co. to quell the South Carolina ground game, but Clemson fans are clearly hoping this is the year the Gamecocks’ run comes to an end.

12:30 p.m.

Syracuse at Boston College, ESPN3, #CUSEvsBC

Tyler Murphy & Co. nearly upended defending champ Florida State last week in Tallahassee, but fell just short. Whether the emotions of a close loss in a big game carry over may be the biggest factor in this matchup. Syracuse is reeling, with an offense that has mustered just 40 points in its last four games -- all losses. BC’s defense is one of the more underrated units in the country, which won’t make it easy for the Orange to bust out of their offensive slump, and Murphy’s big-play ability could be the spark for BC’s seventh win of the season.

NC State at North Carolina, ESPN3, #NCSTvsUNC

North Carolina had plenty to celebrate last week, knocking off rival Duke for the first time in three years, taking back the Victory Bell and earning bowl eligibility. Can the Tar Heels keep that momentum going against another rival in the regular-season finale? UNC has won four of five and played its best defensive game of the year a week ago, while NC State hasn’t beaten a bowl-eligible team since its opener against Georgia Southern. This could be a nice feather in North Carolina’s cap, but a win for NC State would be a signature victory for Dave Doeren.

3:30 p.m.

Florida at Florida State, ESPN, #UFvsFSU

It’s been exactly two years since Florida State last lost a game, and that one came at home against rival Florida. The two programs have trended in opposite directions since, with Jimbo Fisher poised for a run at a second straight national championship, while Will Muschamp will be coaching his final game for the Gators after resigning two weeks ago. Still, FSU hasn’t shown a propensity for blowing away anyone this season, and Florida has the ground game to frustrate the Seminoles’ D and the secondary to test Jameis Winston. A decade ago, Ron Zook upended FSU after he’d been axed by Florida. Muschamp will try to do the same this time around.

7 p.m.

Wake Forest at Duke, ESPNU, #WAKEvsDUKE

The record certainly won’t wow anyone this season, but Wake Forest has, in some ways, been one of the most impressive teams in the ACC. With huge holes across the offense, points have been at a premium all season, and the Deacons knew going into the year it would be an uphill battle. But they’ve continued to fight all season, which is a tribute to the work being done behind the scenes by head coach Dave Clawson. The work paid off with a 6-3 win over Virginia Tech last week -- Wake’s first conference victory in more than a year -- but the test is much tougher this week. Duke enters this game riding a two-game losing streak, and David Cutcliffe will surely want to send his seniors out with a win in their last home game.

Pittsburgh at Miami, ESPN2, #PITTvsMIA

James Conner's availability looks doubtful, which means it’ll be up to Chad Voytik and Tyler Boyd to spark Pitt’s offense. The bigger question, however, may be whether Miami is motivated to finish up the season. Last week’s game against Virginia was as listless as the Hurricanes have looked all year, and another poor showing in the regular-season finale could ratchet up those hot-seat rumors for Al Golden. There’s no question which side wins this game on paper, but with Pitt playing for a bowl game and Miami simply playing out the string, motivation could be the differentiating factor.

ACC Week 14 predictions

November, 26, 2014
Nov 26
Jared Shanker: In college football, there is no denying emotion plays a pivotal role, and playing for a coach and a bowl can be the tipping point for a team hoping to rally. No doubt Virginia will have no shortage of motivation against its in-state rival, but the Cavaliers are also the better team. Greyson Lambert is improving, and the Virginia defense is every bit as good as the one in Blacksburg. Virginia needs to limit mistakes, as the Cavs turned it over eight times during a four-game skid. The Hokies are struggling to create turnovers, though, which plays into UVa's favor. Mike London returns UVa to a bowl. Virginia 20, Virginia Tech 10

David Hale: If we’re slaves to whatever happened most recently, then Virginia Tech certainly looks like a lost cause. But let’s think bigger picture. The Hokies know what’s at stake here: A 22-year bowl streak, state bragging rights in a rivalry they’ve owned for a decade, perhaps the future of their longtime head coach. Is this a game where Virginia Tech is a no-show? No way. The Wake Forest game was brutal, but lessons were certainly learned. Brenden Motley will get a longer look at quarterback, and his mobility can help offset the Virginia pass rush. The ground game has actually looked better with J.C. Coleman the past two weeks. And while the Hokies clearly overlooked Wake Forest, that won’t be the case against rival Virginia. Plus, let’s not forget that, in spite of the record, Virginia Tech still features one of the most potent defenses in the country -- and it’ll give Lambert and the UVA offense fits. Virginia Tech 17, Virginia 14

Andrea Adelson: The Jackets and Bulldogs are running the ball extremely well this season, so both teams should be able to get some yards on the ground. The key in this game is going to be in the turnover category. Both teams have been excellent at taking the ball away this season. While Georgia Tech has converted 24 takeaways into 116 points, Georgia has allowed only six total points off its own turnovers. There is going to be quite the battle there. Given the way Georgia Tech has played during its winning streak, the Jackets will pull out a close one after one defensive score. Georgia Tech 35, Georgia 31

Matt Fortuna: Much like Georgia Tech, Georgia has proven its rushing attack can keep up the pace no matter who is in the backfield, as we've all seen what has happened even without the ridiculously gifted Todd Gurley. The Bulldogs' defense has greatly improved under coordinator Jeremy Pruitt this season, too, ranking 13th nationally. Has it shored up the loose ends that Florida exposed by repeatedly running on it earlier this month, to the tune of 418 yards? The Yellow Jackets' attack is different, sure, but the Dawgs have too much pride to fall to another rival, especially as they play for a chance at the SEC title game next week. Georgia 40, Georgia Tech 34

Shanker: If South Carolina manages to pull off the upset, Dabo Swinney will be hearing about it for as long as Steve Spurrier is hanging around college football. This is an absolute must-win game for Clemson, but dark clouds are already starting to form with star freshman Deshaun Watson still listed as day-to-day with a sprained knee. If Cole Stoudt starts, will he be able to take advantage of a vulnerable South Carolina defense? The Tigers have the No. 1 defense, but South Carolina is No. 18 in scoring against Power 5 competition. That means the Gamecocks could score just enough, and with Stoudt at quarterback "just enough" might be 17 points. South Carolina 17, Clemson 14

Adelson: The Tigers have relied on their defense all season, and will do it again to finally break their long losing streak to South Carolina. Clemson ranks No. 1 in the nation in total defense and will make life difficult for Dylan Thompson, who is not having the type of season anybody expected. While the prospects on offense look shaky if Watson is out, Clemson has won squeakers this season with an inconsistent Stoudt behind center. As long as Clemson takes care of the football, the defense will lead the victory. Clemson 17, South Carolina 14

Hale: Strictly from a matchup standpoint, Pitt doesn’t have a distinct edge, but this game may be a question of motivation. The storyline for Miami is a familiar one right now. Just like last year, the season built to Florida State, and the Hurricanes came up short. Last year, Miami responded by losing four of six to close out the season. This year, the follow-up to the FSU game was perhaps Miami’s worst performance of the season, which certainly bodes well for Pitt. On the flip side, the Panthers are desperately seeking win No. 6 to get bowl eligible, so there’s no question which team has more to play for. Add the fact that Chad Voytik is playing his best football of the season now, and Pitt is in position to move the ball even if James Conner isn’t at 100 percent. Pitt 21, Miami 20

Fortuna: Pitt is the more desperate team here, fighting to extend its season and make a bowl game for the third straight season under third-year coach Paul Chryst. But the Panthers could be without Conner, which will put much more pressure on Voytik and the passing attack. Is Miami's defense ready to take care of business after consecutive letdowns? Its offense should not be a problem in this one. Miami 38, Pitt 24

Adelson: Everybody expects Florida to play an emotional game for outgoing coach Will Muschamp. That should serve the Gators well in the early going, and they will have opportunities to establish the run against a Florida State defensive front that has had its up and downs this season. Dante Fowler, Vernon Hargreaves and company will throw some different looks at Jameis Winston and force him out of his comfort zone. But ultimately, Winston will do what he always does -- find a way to win a close game. Florida State 28, Florida 27

More unanimous picks

Syracuse at Boston College: The Eagles were the latest team to nearly upend Florida State last week, but that hasn’t always been a recipe for success afterward. It will be interesting to see if the physical and emotional toll of that loss carries over, but Syracuse certainly hasn’t been playing good football either. BC 33, Syracuse 13

Kentucky at Louisville: The ACC’s newest rivalry game may not offer much in the way of fireworks in Year 1. Reggie Bonnafon finally looks comfortable running Bobby Petrino’s offense, and Louisville is still fighting for an Orange Bowl berth. Kentucky is desperate to get win No. 6, but the Wildcats have lost five straight. Louisville 24, Kentucky 20

NC State at North Carolina: Ready for some offensive fireworks? Both of these teams are allowing an average of more than 400 yards per game to FBS foes, and both have potentially explosive offenses. That should make for a fun rivalry matchup to end the regular season, but UNC gets the edge after playing easily its most complete game of the season last week against Duke. North Carolina 45, NC State 33

Wake Forest at Duke: Last week’s win over Virginia Tech was a fitting moment for a Wake Forest team that has continued to fight in spite of adverse circumstances all season, and the Deacons' D is legit. Meanwhile, Duke is reeling from two straight losses. This game may end up close, but it’s still hard to see Wake pulling off the upset in two straight. Duke 24, Wake Forest 10

Current standings
Shanker: 66-20
Adelson: 66-20
Fortuna: 65-21
Hale: 65-21

By the numbers: Week 13 recap

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
A tour of some intriguing statistical performances from Week 13 in the ACC.

FSU’s hangover effect

Florida State fans have been quick to point to the number of well-rested teams getting their shot at the Seminoles this season as an explanation for some of FSU’s struggles. Indeed, four opponents faced FSU the week after byes and another had an FCS foe the week before (and that doesn’t include the season opener or this week’s game against Florida). In other words, seven of FSU’s 12 opponents would have had an extra week to focus on getting ready for the Seminoles.

But in addition to what came before the FSU game, what came after is interesting, too. Here’s a rundown of how FSU’s opponents fared the week after playing the Seminoles.

Oklahoma State: FCS opponent
Clemson: Beat North Carolina 50-35
NC State: Lost to Clemson 41-0
Wake Forest: Bye week
Syracuse: Fell behind Wake 7-0 but rebounded for 30-7 win
Notre Dame: Trailed Navy 31-28 entering fourth quarter before winning 49-39
Louisville: Trailed Boston College 13-3 before winning 38-19
Virginia: Bye week
Miami: Lost to Virginia 30-13

So of Florida State's six opponents to play an FBS team the following week, all but Clemson started sluggish, and two lost outright. Is that the hangover effect of teams giving FSU their best shot and coming up empty? It’s certainly not proof, but it’s worth consideration.

Marquise the magician

[+] EnlargeMarquise Williams
Gerry Broome/Associated PressNorth Carolina's Marquise Williams is one of two quarterbacks in the country with at least 2,500 passing yards, 700 rushing yards, 20 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns.
It’s largely flown beneath the radar because North Carolina’s defense faltered so badly in the early going, but Tar Heels QB Marquise Williams has emerged as one of the top players in the conference, if not the country.

Williams’ 33 touchdowns this season are the seventh-most by any player in the country, trailing only Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Ohio State's J.T. Barrett, Notre Dame's Everett Golson and Mississippi State's Dak Prescott among Power 5 QBs.

Williams and Prescott are the only quarterbacks in the nation with at least 2,500 passing yards, 700 rushing yards, 20 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs. In fact, in the last decade, only seven other Power 5 quarterbacks have done that: Vince Young, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, James Franklin, Taylor Martinez, Brett Hundley and Johnny Manziel.

And since Williams stopped splitting reps with Mitch Trubisky at the end of September, he’s thrown 12 touchdowns, four interceptions, completed 63 percent of his throws and rushed for 10 more scores. His adjusted QBR of 78.9 is 10th-best among Power 5 quarterbacks during that span.

Ramsey’s all-purpose D

Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey had another exceptional game against Boston College, racking up eight tackles, 1.5 for a loss and a sack. Ramsey now has 68 tackles, 9.5 for a loss and 11 passes defended this year.

The 9.5 tackles for loss are tied for the third-most by a defensive back in the nation, and only USC’s Su’a Cravens also has at least 10 passes defended to go with the TFLs.

Hat tip to the kids

Four true freshmen started in the penultimate week of the regular season, and Reggie Bonnafon and John Wolford both came away with wins. But the youth movement has been rampant in the league all year.

Here’s a strange coincidence: Senior QBs have thrown 1,018 passes in the ACC this year. True freshman QBs have thrown 1,017. So, since they’ve thrown virtually the exact same amount of passes, who’s doing better?

No question the edge goes to the kids, which should certainly bode well for the future of offenses in the conference.

Changes coming in Blacksburg?

After a disastrous, 6-3 loss to Wake Forest, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer admitted the QB position would be evaluated moving forward. Here’s why: Michael Brewer completed just 15 of 28 passes for 126 yards and an interception in the loss to Wake Forest. His QBR for the game was just 6.0 — the fourth-lowest by a starting QB in the ACC this season.

Since beating North Carolina on Oct. 4, Brewer’s Adjusted QBR is 29.8, the lowest of any ACC quarterback with at least 50 pass attempts.

Of course, if changes are in store, Beamer’s position could be under review, too. The Hokies are just 17-17 against FBS teams since the start of 2012, and six of those games required overtime. In regulation, Virginia Tech is just 13-15-2, and it has just four wins by two touchdowns or more against Power 5 foes.

Extra points

  • Pitt’s Tyler Boyd accounted for 126 of the Panthers’ 189 receiving yards Saturday, but that’s no surprise. For the season, Boyd is responsible for 52.3 percent of Pitt’s receiving yards — by far the highest percentage for any player in the country. Next up is Alabama’s Amari Cooper, who has 43.8 percent of the Tide’s receiving yards.
  • Virginia’s Quin Blanding had seven tackles and an interception in the victory over Miami, and he is second behind Duke’s David Helton in tackles in the ACC. More impressive, though: Of the top 100 tacklers in the nation this year, Blanding is the only freshman.
  • Louisville’s Brandon Radcliff has had four games with more than 95 rushing yards this season, and four games with less than 10. He gained 136 yards on 17 carries Saturday.
  • Duke Johnson could have set Miami’s all-time rushing record with 122 yards on the ground Saturday. Instead, he finished with just 88 — snapping a streak of 12 consecutive games with at least 90 rushing yards. He did have an additional 44 receiving yards, giving him 132 total scrimmage yards — his ninth straight game topping the century mark.
  • Wake Forest was the first team since 2012 to win a game when scoring six points or fewer (BYU beat Utah State 6-3) and the Deacons are just the fifth Power 5 team in the last decade to win a game with just six points scored. UTSA is the only other team this season to win a game in which it didn’t score a touchdown.
  • There were 13 field goals missed by ACC kickers in Week 13, and one more missed in an ACC game. That last one was by Notre Dame’s Kyle Brindza against Louisville, which cost the Irish the game. For the season, ACC kickers were connecting at a 78.2-percent clip. In Week 13, they made just 51.9 percent of their field-goal tries.
  • Defensive lineman Ron Thompson scored a rushing TD for Syracuse on Saturday — just the 11th rushing score of the year for the Orange, which rank 106th nationally in that category. But no running back has scored on the ground for Syracuse against an FBS team since Jerome Smith in last year’s bowl game.
  • Clemson’s Tyshon Dye missed all of last season and the first seven games of this year with injuries. Entering Saturday, he had just five career carries. Against Georgia State, however, he ran 20 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
There’s not much time for Virginia Tech to reflect on its 6-3 double overtime loss to Wake Forest, writes the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and that’s probably a good thing.

The Hokies probably have no interest in reliving the gory details, of course. And there are much bigger questions ahead.

[+] EnlargeFrank Beamer
AP Photo/John BazemoreFrank Beamer has a short week and plenty of issues after the Hokies' loss to Wake Forest.
First among them is getting prepared for Virginia. The Hoos’ defense was stellar against Miami on Saturday, and Mike London’s future in Charlottesville might depend on UVA ending its 10-game losing streak to its rival.

The future of many coaches on Virginia Tech’s staff could ride on Friday's outcome, too.

As The Roanoke Times writes, plenty of questions are swirling around the program, chiefly surrounding offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler.

Our Travis Haney suggests changes on the Hokies’ offensive staff seem likely — meaning Frank Beamer would be on his third offensive coordinator in four years.

But the more immediate change could come at quarterback, where Michael Brewer has struggled to ignite the offense.

For the season, Brewer has the second lowest Total QBR in the ACC (ahead of only Wake Forest freshman John Wolford, who bested Brewer on Saturday), and Brenden Motley certainly seemed to provide the only minor spark for the Hokies against the Deacons.

It’s a situation to monitor, and the decision on how Tech handles its QBs could have huge ripple effects for both the Hokies and UVA.

A few more links:



Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12