Unrest in the ACC

Saturday, Nov 15:

Clemson 31, Duke 7

NC State 21, Wake Forest 17

Maryland 17, North Carolina 15

Boston College 27, Florida State 17

RALEIGH, N.C. – Russell Wilson accounted for all three NC State (4-6, 2-4 ACC) touchdowns as the Wolfpack held off Wake Forest (6-4, 4-3 ACC) 21-17 on a rainy and windy Saturday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium.

Marshall Williams led the way for Wake Forest, making a career-high seven catches on a career-high 116 yards. Williams also made the second touchdown catch of his career in the game.

Riley Skinner completed 21 passes on 33 attempts for 176 yards with one touchdown and one interception. With the game today, Skinner moved over 6,000 yards passing in his career at Wake Forest. He has now thrown for 6,137 yards in his career, the fourth most at Wake Forest.

The loss snapped Wake Forest’s 10-game winning streak against teams from the state of North Carolina. Before today, the Deacs last lost to an in-state foe on November 13, 2004, when North Carolina defeated Wake Forest 31-24. The Demon Deacons are 23-6 under head coach Jim Grobe against in-state opponents.

With Wake Forest leading 17-14, NC State drove the ball 69 yards on 11 plays to take a 21-17 lead. The drive was capped when Wilson found Anthony Hill in the endzone for an 8-yard touchdown pass to give the Wolfpack the lead with 10:17 remaining in the game.

After each team was forced to punt on its next two possessions, the Deacons tried to engineer a late fourth quarter comeback, but fell just short. On a 4th-and-8 at the Wake Forest 45-yard line, Skinner scrambled and picked up 10 yards to keep the drive alive. The Deacs advanced the ball as far as the Wolfpack 25-yard line. On a 4th-and-6, Skinner was sacked by Alan-Michael Cash to stop the drive and end Wake’s chances of the comeback victory.

NC State struck first, taking the opening drive 67 yards on 12 plays. The Wolfpack went 4-of-4 on third-down conversions, including a 27-yard pass play from Russell Wilson to Jay Smith to take the ball down to the Wake Forest 13-yard line. The Wolfpack capped the drive with an 11-yard pass from Wilson to George Bryan to take a 7-0 lead with 9:29 left in the first quarter.

After the two teams exchanged punts, Wake Forest evened the game with 1:17 remaining in the first quarter. On a 3rd-and 8, Riley Skinner hit D.J. Boldin on a 25-yard completion over the middle for Wake’s initial first down of the game. Two plays later, Boldin took a reverse from Skinner and found Marshall Williams all alone down the middle of the field for a 64-yard touchdown pass. Boldin became the first non-quaterback to throw a touchdown pass for Wake Forest since the 2006 season when Nate Morton found Skinner on a touchdown pass. The drive was a season-long 91 yards on five plays and took 90 seconds off the clock.

After the Deacons forced another NC State punt, the Wake Forest offense was again able to move the ball down the field. Skinner found Marshall Williams on a couple of completions. The drive ended however on Skinner’s first interception since the Navy game, a span of 141 pass attempts between interceptions.

NC State converted the interception into seven points to give the Wolfpack a 14-7 lead with 1:39 left in the second quarter. Wilson did much of the work on the drive, including a 4-yard touchdown run to finish the drive. For the drive, Wilson rushed for 39 yards.

The Deacons evened the game for the second time on the ensuing possession. Wake Forest went 68 yards on seven plays on a drive that took 1:26 off the clock. Skinner found Boldin over the middle of the field on a 7-yard touchdown pass to even the score at 14 with four seconds remaining in the half. The touchdown pass for Skinner was the 32nd of his career.

Even though Wake Forest ran 18 fewer plays than the Wolfpack did in the first half, the Deacs still outgained NC State 214-204. The Deacs averaged 8.2 yards a play in the opening 30 minutes, while NC State averaged 4.6 yards per play.

Wake Forest moved the ball well on its first drive of the second half. The Deacs picked up a couple of first downs on runs from Brandon Pendergrass. However, the Wolfpack defense stopped Wake Forest on 4th-and-1 at the NC State 17-yard line to end the drive and turn the ball over on downs.

After each team was forced to punt, the Wake Forest defense forced its first turnover of the game. On a 3rd-and-9, John Russell sacked Wilson, forcing a fumble. The fumble was recovered by Boo Robinson, setting Wake Forest up with great field position at the NC State 13-yard line.

The Deacons turned the turnover into three points to take their first lead of the game. Wake Forest was unable to pick up a first down, and had to settle for a 24-yard field goal. Popham split the uprights to give the Deacs a 17-14 lead with eight seconds left in the third quarter.

Wake Forest closes the season with two home games, starting next week when the Deacons host Boston College at 3:30 p.m. (ET). The game will be shown regionally on ABC and ESPN2.

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland – If Maryland reaches the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game for the first time, it will be remembered as “The Drive.” Obi Egekeze’s 26-yard field goal with 1:42 remaining capped a 19-play possession as the Terrapins rallied for a 17-15 victory over No. 17 North Carolina on Saturday.

During the march, which consumed 8:43, Maryland (7-3, 4-2 ACC Coastal) converted three third downs and one fourth down when quarterback Chris Turner scrambled for nine yards on 4th-and-5 from the North Carolina 32.

Defensive back Jamari McCollough sealed the victory with an interception on North Carolina’s ensuing possession.

The win kept Maryland in control of its own destiny in the Atlantic Division race, as the Terrapins will qualify for the ACC championship game by winning their final two contests.

The Terrapins pulled into a first-place tie with Florida State, which entertains Boston College on Saturday night. Maryland hosts the Seminoles next week.

Turner had an unimpressive game Saturday – until the final drive, when he completed a pair of third-down passes to keep alive the Terrapins’ hopes.

Overall, Turner completed only 16-of-31 passes for 141 yards with no touchdowns, but he hit Danny Oquendo for six yards on 3rd-and-1 from the Maryland 39. Three plays later, he found Ronnie Tyler for 18 yards on 3rd-and-10.

Until Egekeze’s late field goal, both offenses sputtered in a scoreless second half after the opening half featured four leads changes.

North Carolina (7-3, 3-3 ACC Coastal) grabbed a 15-14 halftime edge on Casey Barth’s 28-yard field goal with 4:12 left in the second quarter, but the Tar Heels missed a chance to extend their lead when Barth missed a 28-yarder late in the third quarter.

North Carolina twice had to settle for field goals in the first half after driving inside Maryland’s 20-yard line.

The Tar Heels had another chance to increase their lead when Maryland’s Josh Portis fumbled at the Terrapins’ 33-yard line on the first play of the final period.

However, North Carolina went three-and-out after three incompletions by Cameron Sexton, who completed only 10-of-24 passes for 166 yards with a touchdown. The Tar Heels punted despite the favorable field position.

Da’Rel Scott rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown for the Terrapins, including an 11-yard run that gave Maryland a 1st-and-goal at the 6 to set up Egekeze’s game-winning kick.

North Carolina’s loss left the Coastal Division race further jumbled as five teams are within one game of the lead. Miami (4-2) now has sole possession of first place.


CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — C.J. Spiller had an 83-yard touchdown catch and a 24-yard scoring run to help Clemson win its 14th straight over Duke at home 31-7 on Saturday.

Spiller continued his electrifying play in the season’s second half for the Tigers (5-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference). He accounted for 242 yards two weeks ago in Clemson’s 27-21 win at Boston College, its first under interim coach Dabo Swinney.

Spiller added two more touchdowns last week in a 41-27 loss at Florida State.

This time, it was Duke which couldn’t contain Clemson’s “Lightning.”

Spiller broke around the right side for a 24-yard touchdown run to start the Tigers’ scoring. It looked like he had wriggled free of several Blue Devils for a second-quarter TD, but a review ruled him down at the 1. James Davis finished the drive off a play later to put Clemson ahead 17-0.

Spiller was at it again when the Tigers got the ball after halftime, catching Cullen Harper’s pass in stride and outrunning everyone for his long TD play.

It was Spiller’s 12th career touchdown play of 50 yards or better, tops in Clemson history. He finished with 74 yards rushing and seven catches for 108 yards, a Clemson single-game record for a running back.

Davis added a second scoring run and fellow senior Aaron Kelly caught 10 passes to become the ACC’s all-time career leader with 217 receptions.

For a while, the Homecoming crowd of 75,000 was reminded by the dominating performance how the Tigers’ season was supposed to play out. Reality, though, is much more sobering — the ACC favorites at the season’s start must sweep their final two games simply to qualify for a bowl.

Duke’s postseason chances also took a big hit. The Blue Devils (4-6, 1-5) began the season 3-1 under first-year coach David Cutcliffe. But they’ve lost six of their past seven and have to beat Virginia Tech and North Carolina for a chance at their first bowl since 1994.

This was supposed to be Duke’s best chance in decades to end its 0-for-Death Valley days against Clemson.

Cutcliffe had brought the Blue Devils offensive life in September, while QB Thaddeus Lewis led the ACC in TD throws and passing yards per game.

Lewis had Duke fans thinking of former standout Ben Bennett, who was a Blue Devils freshman in 1980 — the last time they beat Clemson at Memorial Stadium.

Their hopes, though, lasted two series. Lewis was hit hard on a wayward throw and came up hobbling. He was replaced a series later by Zack Asack and did not return.

The only drama left in the final quarter was whether the Blue Devils would go scoreless for the second time in six games. But Asack found standout receiver Eron Riley for a 28-yard touchdown with 6:21 left. It was Riley’s first TD since Sept. 27 against Virginia.

Clemson’s victory gave a boost to Swinney’s chances of keeping his job past November. The Tigers improved to 2-2 since Tommy Bowden walked away last month. Recently, Swinney’s been questioned about his status, all against the backdrop of athletic director Terry Don Phillips contacting potential replacements like former Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin and defensive coordinators Brent Venables of Oklahoma and Bud Foster of Virginia Tech.

A few more performances like this out of Spiller, and Swinney could have a lot less to worry about.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Montel Harris ran for 121 yards and a touchdown and Marcellus Bowman went 87 yards with an interception for another score to help Boston College beat No. 20 Florida State 27-17 Saturday night.

The Eagles picked off Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder three times and held the Seminoles to just 73 yards rushing.

It was the fourth straight year the visiting team has won in this budding rivalry. Florida State knocked off a previously unbeaten and second-ranked Boston College team last year in Boston by an identical 27-17 score.

Boston College (7-3, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) jumped to a 14-0 lead and never trailed while keeping its hopes alive for a spot in next month’s ACC title game in Tampa. BC can win the Atlantic Division with by beating Wake Forest and Maryland the next two weeks.

Florida State (7-3, 4-3) needs to win at Maryland next week and hope for help to have any chance to make it to Tampa. The Seminoles have trailed by double digits in their last five games, though they’ve won three.

Not Saturday.

One comment on “Unrest in the ACC

  1. I attended the NCSU-WAKE game with my younger son while my older son was cheering the Wolfpack on in the student section. What an effort by Russell Wilson and the Pack!!! Wilson has only one interception on the year and leads the ACC in passing efficiency. He would have had a couple of more TD’s if the Pack’s #13 hadn’t dropped a couple of on the money throws from Wilson. I think Wilson should get ACC Rookie of the Year. He scrambles very well, passes great, and is quick as a jackrabbit on the run. He never ever gives up and gives the game is all. He is gaining confidence with each game.

    We really enjoyed the game and afterwards had father-sons time to celebrate the day over dinner before dropping my older son off at his dorm and heading back to Summerfield. Go Pack and Russell Wilson!!!!! You are creating memories.

Comments are closed.