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ACC Bloggers Week Twelve Review
CFN’s ACC Bloggers put the previous weekend under the microscope, looking for the Lucky 7
SB is Shawn Bridwell, NH is Nathan Heard, JH is Justine Hendricks, and BS is Bradlee Simoneaux.
1. OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
SB: Mike Glennon; QB, NC State – Glennon completed better than 60% of his passes en route to 253 yards and three touchdowns with no picks in a 37-13 rout of # 9 Clemson. From start to finish Glennon was in command of the offense netted 400 yards of offense with no turnovers.
NH: Tevin Washington; QB, Georgia Tech – 321 yards of total offense is his input this week and his personal best so far for the year. There are American Football teams in Europe starving for 321 yards of total offense while this one QB gluttonously gobbles up yards unaware of those who are starving for offense. An option fanatic might nit-pick about his years pass completion percent, but that’s too picky, he has a good nose for the run & he knows when to pitch the ball. The WR’s he has do a good job of making the most of the receptions they catch when they catch, they also do a good job blocking for him, so maybe he could stand to practice throwing a better ball in appreciation, but we’ve gotten off topic. 321 yards!
JH: Ja’Baris Little; TE, FSU – Little didn’t put up huge offensive numbers, but the backup TE deserves some congratulations for catching his first career TD in the final home game of his senior season.
BS: Logan Thomas; QB, Virginia Tech – Thomas had another outstanding game, throwing for two touchdowns on 19 of 32 passing with no interceptions, and he also added 32 yards on the ground and another touchdown. The Hokies still have an outside chance at making it to the BCS National Championship, and they will need Thomas to continue to play error-free and make big plays with his arm and his feet.
PW: Tevin Washington; QB, Georgia Tech – Washington had a big day both through the air and on the ground. He completed 6 of 13 passes for 185 yards including a big strike to Stephen Hill. Washington also racked up 136 yards rushing including his 39 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that sealed the game.
2. DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
SB: Terrell Manning; LB, NC State – Terrell Manning notched 8 tackles, a forced fumble, fumble recovery, pass breakup, and half a sack in the 37-13 upset victory over Clemson. In what has been a somewhat quiet season for Manning his performance against the Tigers was what the Wolfpack faithful have been expecting on a consistent basis.
NH: JoJo Nicolas; DB, Miami – The 29th team in total offense nationally was held to 3 points & the truth is not one player sticks out on the Miami defense. Nicolas had 5 tackles, but went for long stretches with only good coverage to show for it. I suppose that may be as it should be & the nicest thing one can say about a defender: “The other team avoided him.”
JH: Chase Minnifield; CB, UVA – After FSU’s E.J. Manuel threw a 68-yard pass to Bert Reed, Minnifield ran Reed down at the 1 yard line to save a touchdown in the third quarter. The Cavaliers defense rallied and held the ‘Noles to a field goal and only a six-point lead, which enabled UVA to win it with a touchdown in the fourth.
BS: Art Norman; DE, NC State – Norman had four tackles against Clemson, including 2.5 sacks, and he also forced a fumble. He was an integral part of the outstanding defensive effort put forth by the Wolfpack. Just a freshman, Norman should be causing terror for opposing quarterbacks over the next two or three years.
PW: Art Norman; DE, NC State – On a day where Clemson came out flat and struggled to start, NC State’s defense made sure Clemson’s offense would struggle the entire game. Art Norman was a big part of disrupting quarterback Tajh Boyd and forcing him into throwing two interceptions. Norman finished with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
3. SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
SB: Jake Wieclaw;K, Miami – With kicks of 26 and 36 yards Wieclaw helped Miami avenge last seasons home defeat to the Bulls.
NH: Jake Wieclaw; K, Miami – Seriously, duh. Who else could it be? He did miss one, at the end of one of Miami’s better drives, but that was from 41 out & the South Florida squad did well to block the lower trajectory routs. As time expired Wieclaw prevented OT. Think of all the teams across the top 10-15 that really wished they had Wieclaw on their team right now.
JH: Jake Wieclaw; PK, Miami – Wieclaw was the ‘Canes offense against USF, kicking field goals of 26 and 36 yards to score all 6 of Miami’s points in the game. The 36-yarder as time expired won the game for Miami, making the ‘Canes bowl-eligible, though they will not accept a bowl bid as part of self-imposed sanctions.
BS: Niklas Sade; K, NC State– The true freshman kicker for the Wolfpack converted all three of his field goal attempts against Clemson to go along with his four extra points. He accounted for 13 total points in this game and was part of the reason NC State was able to build such an insurmountable lead against the heavily favored Tigers.
PW: Jake Wieclaw; K, Miami – Wieclaw performed when it mattered. He had been very inconsistent and had a lot of misses this season, but his 36-yarder as time expired against South Florida gave Miami its sixth win of the season and made the ‘Canes bowl eligible, although Miami has since withdrawn itself from bowl consideration.
4. COACH OF THE WEEK
SB: Mike London; UVA – London should be a front runner for ACC coach of the year especially with Clemson looking somewhat vulnerable of late. Virginia now stands at 8-3 after a tremendous road victory at Florida State, which had been playing its best football of late. Amazingly, with a win against rival VA Tech the Cavaliers can snatch a spot in the ACC Championship game.
NH: Tom O’Brien; North Carolina State – Particularly the defensive game plan but also the year round preparation for the running game O’Brien & staff anticipated Clemson’s offense well, They found a pattern to exploit between Boyd & Ellington and shut down the Clemson run well enough to anticipate the Clemson pass patterns. Boyd only throws in certain situations so really any good staff could have done this given the opportunity. It’s clear that if Ellington was 100% that chance probably would not have come up, but when the jugular became exposed NC State was ready & able to pounce & that’s good coaching.
JH: Mike London; UVA – A few weeks ago, it seemed like Clemson’s Dabo Swinney might be a lock for ACC Coach of the Year, but the job London has done at Virginia is truly outstanding. The Cavaliers were irrelevant in the ACC, languishing near the bottom of the league for several seasons, but this week’s win over preseason favorite FSU puts the Cavaliers one rivalry game away from the ACC title game. After three straight losing seasons in conference play, London has UVA 5-2 heading into a showdown with instate rival #5 Virginia Tech that will decide the ACC Coastal Division winner.
BS: Tom O’Brien; NC State – NC State has been up and down all season long, and this is certainly not O’Brien’s best season ever, but in this game against Clemson he had his Wolfpack playing with a purpose. This team looked like it had no chance of making it to the postseason just a few weeks ago, and now NC State just needs to beat lowly Maryland at home this weekend to go bowling. The complete domination of Clemson was one of the biggest shocks in a weekend full of them, and credit O’Brien with motivating his team to continue to fight in what once looked like a lost season.
PW: Mike London; Virginia– Mike London’s team is one win away from the ACC Championship Game. A loss at Florida State would have crushed its hopes, but London has settled on Michael Rocco as his quarterback and took his team into Tallahassee and had them ready to play, especially defensively. With the crazy ending, London did all he could by sending his team to the locker room when time expired. I would have done the same thing, but once the officials put eight seconds back on the clock and Dustin Hopkins had the chance to win on a field goal, London iced him, and it worked.
5. BEST GAME OF THE WEEK
SB: UVA v. FSU – There wasn’t much in regards to offense, but Virginia stood toe to toe with FSU and came out of Doak Campbell with a victory. Virginia had begun to raise eyebrows with their steady play of late. Whatever doubt which was left is now history as the Cavaliers shut down a Seminole offense that had been hitting its stride of late. And as always, winning at Florida State is never easy.
NH: Miami v. South Florida – That’s right, 6 to 3; got a problem with that young man? We getting old timey up in here! Seriously though, who’d of thunk it. A instate game that is maturing nicely into a fairly privileged rivalry, granted, we aren’t talking about Florida or FSU by a long shot, but this is still an important instate rivalry game. There were no turnovers after the first half, & the team that won had more 3 & outs. Missed opportunities abound. This is the kind of game that sticks in a losing teams craw for a good long while. All the more reason to think this is an up & coming rivalry.
JH: UVA v. FSU – It was a weekend of down-to-the-wire finishes around the nation, with UVA and FSU representing the ACC. With 1:18 left, Kevin Parks’ 10-yard TD run gave the Cavs a 1 point lead. The ‘Noles final drive got a second life when UVA’s Cam Johnson was called for a facemask that converted FSU’s fourth down. An E.J. Manuel pass to Bert Reed was ruled complete in bounds, short of the first down, which would’ve ended the game in UVA’s favor, but video replay overturned the catch. It was ruled ruled out of bounds with :08 remaining, giving the ‘Noles yet another shot to win the game, but FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 42-yarder in the final seconds and UVA came away with its fourth consecutive win.
BS: UVA v. FSU – In a game completely controlled by the defenses, the ending of the FSU-UVA contest will go down as one of the craziest of this season. The Cavaliers thought they had the game won on two separate occasions, but it was not until they celebrated for the third time that the game was actually over. Virginia scored the go-ahead touchdown with just 1:16 remaining in the game, but FSU was able to get in position to win the game on the last play. With one of the most consistent kickers in the nation, Seminoles fans thought they were about to escape with a victory, but Dustin Hopkins narrowly missed, and now UVA has a monumental matchup with Virginia Tech this week to determine the Coastal division.
PW: UVA v. FSU – The controversial ending was part of a very exciting night of college football as Virginia thought it won on a completed pass and time expiring on Florida State. Instead, the pass was ruled incomplete and FSU had a chance to kick the game-winning field and Hopkins hooked it left from the right hash. Florida State maintained the lead the entire game but never looked comfortable, and Virginia took the one-point lead with a touchdown with 1:16 to go and caught a break to win the game.
6. BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE WEEK
SB: NC State – Tom Obrien’s teams tend to get better as the season progresses. You just knew one of these weeks things were going to come together in a big way. Well unfortunately for ninth ranked Clemson, that domination arrived as the Pack destroyed the Tigers in a game that was never in doubt after the first quarter. QB Mike Glennon had a stellar day managing the offense and they defense stood its ground slowing a lethal Clemson attack.
NH: The Zombies Rise! – Virgina and NC State (& to a lesser extent North Carolina) all surprised, shocked, &/or astounded over the weekend. Virginia's shown plenty of fight over the year, but beat FSU @ FSU kind of fight? No way. North Carolina had every shot to beat perennial conference fav’ VT and UNC really isn’t a particularly good team. The shocker of them all has to be NC State though. They punched through to bowl eligibility on Clemson’s ticket. Granted Clemson is a bit wounded right now, but to think a team that executes like NC State has these last several weeks could have a shot in the dark against a top 25 team is exceptional. The walking dead on on the rampage through the ACC.
JH: NC State’s 37-13 win over #7 Clemson – A year ago, NC State was playing for a shot at the ACC title. This season, they’re not yet bowl eligible with just one game remaining, and their season overall has been a disappointment. Clemson, on the other hand, was ranked in the top ten of the BCS, had already clinched the ACC Atlantic Division, and was aiming for its 10th win. Perhaps they overlooked the struggling Wolfpack just a bit? NC State QB Mike Glennon threw for 253 yards and 3 TDs, and the Pack scored 30 straight points while holding the Tigers to a single field goal until the final minutes of the game.
BS: Boston College nearly pulling off road victory at Notre Dame – The Eagles have been one of the most disappointing teams in the nation in 2011, but in their big rivalry game against the Fighting Irish they nearly pulled off the upset. Notre Dame was a heavy favorite at home, but BC hung in right until the very end. The Eagles are not giving up on this season, which is a testament to the coaching staff, but it still might be time for a change in Chestnut Hill.
PW: Lamar Miller – There were only nine total points in the Miami-South Florida game. How could that be, with such great offensive weapons on both sides like Miami running back Lamar Miller? Miller 1,158 rushing yards this season and averages 5.4 yards per carry, but against USF only 50 yards on 20 carries. The last time Miller was that ineffective was against North Carolina, which is the only other win Miami has when Miller does not have a run of 20 yards or more.
7. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE WEEK
SB: Florida State – Florida State had been rolling along, winners of five straight and determined to finish the season strong after a shaky start that was headed by key injuries. Virginia came to town in what seemed would be the number six in a row for FSU and Jimbo Fisher. Instead the Seminoles looked boring on offense and uninterested in defense in a stunning 14-13 home defeat.
NH: The Hero’s take a fall! – Clemson losing hurts the ACC in the eyes of onlookers, but Clemson is nursing a multitude of bumps & bruises on just the players that did start, to say nothing of the ones out. FSU has less of the same excuse but fell to a perfectly honorable opponent. VT should have lost. To VT’s credit, they win when it looks like they should lose often enough that it cant be a coincidence, it must be something they are good at. Still North Carolina is lucky to be bowl eligible, and to let them take it to the wire does not look good. For style points lost this week VT’s close call is almost as bad a Clemson’s loss, which the pundits glossed over with the greatest of cop-out insults “they weren't motivated”, rather than the more honorable “they were injured”.
JH: Clemson’s loss to NC State – The Tigers were arguably one of the best teams in the country through the first half of the season, but they haven’t been able to maintain the same speed and power in the final stretch. Clemson gained just 86 yards in the first half and turned the ball over four times against NC State, twice fumbling deep in their own territory to set up 10 of the Pack’s points. QB Tajh Boyd had a rough day, throwing 2 INTs near the end zone and taking six sacks. The Tigers were missing leading WR Sammy Watkins, and couldn’t get anything else going offensively, gaining just 34 rushing yards in the game.
BS: Clemson – The Tigers started out 8-0 and almost made everybody forget who they were. But then Clemson choked at Georgia Tech before having to beat Wake Forest on a field goal as time expired. And then Saturday happened. Clemson got absolutely pummeled by NC State, a team that lost to lowly Boston College just a week before. The Tigers were only in this game through the first quarter, and after that it was a complete domination by the Wolfpack. They will still represent that ACC Atlantic division in the championship game, but the luster that came with the outstanding start to the season has officially worn off.
PW: Clemson – I thought Dabo Swinney was “The Guy”. The guy who had the never ending energy and intensity. The guy who could constantly fire up his guys and get them inspired to play a great football game. That all disappeared in Raleigh, NC as Clemson decided not to show up. With the ACC Atlantic Division already clinched, Clemson looked like they knew they had no reason to play. Still without Andre Ellington and Sammy Watkins, the Tigers lacked intensity and excitement and was dominated by an unranked team below .500 and committed four turnovers. Are they more focused now with the rivalry game against South Carolina coming up?
Please follow Justine Hendricks on Twitter @sportsstilettos, Patrick Woo @P_Woo, Shawn Bridwell @SBCFNews and Bradlee Simoneaux @collftblmaniac.