ACC Week Four Preview
Published on September 18, 2013
By Mason Walling – Dabo Swinney and the third ranked Clemson Tigers head to Raleigh, North Carolina, to prepare for their Thursday night matchup with N.C. State. Coach Swinney stressed the necessity of establishing the run game early, especially with the Tigers second-leading receiver, Charone Peake, sidelined with a torn ACL. Junior wide out Adam Humphries will move into Peake’s position across from star receiver Sammy Watkins. N.C. State Coach Dave Doeren has never coached a Thursday night game at Carter-Finley Stadium, but looks for the home crowd to help the team seize the opportunity. Both the Tigers and the Wolfpack are undefeated at 2-0. Neither team has played on the road yet this season, nor has either faced an ACC opponent. The contest starts at 7:30 PM and will be nationally televised on ESPN.
Saturday night pits two more undefeated teams against each other as Bethune-Cookman travels to Doak Campbell Stadium to meet Florida State. The Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman stand atop the MEAC with a 3-0 record, coming off a 34-13 road win over Florida International. The Seminoles are ranked eighth in this week’s national poll and will be heavily favored at home. One of the biggest stories for FSU is the emergence of freshman kicker Roberto Aguayo, who is a perfect 17 for 17 on extra points and field goals through two games but has yet to be tested from long distance. Coach Jimbo Fisher expressed the utmost confidence in Aguayo. Kickoff is set for 6 PM Saturday night.
The 3-0 Maryland Terrapins will host Big 12 rival West Virginia on Saturday afternoon. Terrapin Head Coach Randy Edsall emphasized the leadership of linebacker Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, especially in the locker room and off the field. Cudjoe-Virgil is a transfer from Seton Hill University, giving away his scholarship to walk on at Maryland. The game will be televised on ESPNU Saturday at 3:30 PM.
Coming off of a 54-0 blowout victory over Wagner at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse prepares to host the Green Wave of Tulane this Saturday. This game marks the first career start for sophomore quarterback Terrel Hunt for the Orange . Coach Scott Shafer made the decision to award Hunt the starting job over Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen after he threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns last Saturday. Both teams enter the matchup with 1-2 records. Kickoff is set for 12:30 PM Saturday.
Wake Forest takes a 1-2 record to West Point this Saturday to battle Army. After winning their home opener comfortably against Presbyterian, the Demon Deacons lost to Boston College on the road and then suffered a heartbreaking two-point home loss against Louisiana-Monroe. Head Coach Jim Grobe looks for his hard-nosed defense, ranked 28th in the nation in points allowed, to hold strong against the Black Knights offensive attack. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network beginning at noon Saturday.
Another all ACC matchup this weekend sees North Carolina coming into Bobby Dodd Stadium to take on Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have been electric in their first two games this season, scoring a total of 108 points and rushing for an average of 356 yards a game. Coach Paul Johnson has implemented a variation of the shotgun that he calls the diamond formation to confuse defenses as to whether the Yellow Jackets will pass or run. The Tar Heels come into this game well rested from a bye week. Head Coach Larry Fedora says that the extra week has helped prepare his defense for the Jackets infamous option read style offense. The game will air at noon Saturday on ESPN.
The final head-to-head ACC contest of week four is Pittsburgh at Duke. The Panthers take a 1-1 record into Saturday’s game, and the Blue Devils sit at 2-1. Pittsburgh’s defense is anchored by senior defensive lineman Aaron Donald, whose pass rushing abilities have been drawing frequent double-teams this season. Donald is a Pittsburgh native, and Coach Paul Chryst stressed just how key his role will be in the success of the Panther defense. On the flip side, the Blue Devils and Head Coach David Cutcliffe bring a run centered offense to the table, with four different backs getting more than ten carries through their first three games. Quarterbacks Brandon Connette and Anthony Boone have split the workload thus far. Both can hurt the opponent through the air or on the ground. The game kicks off at 12:30 PM Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Frank Beamer’s Hokies host the Thundering Herd of Marshall this weekend. Both teams enter the game with 2-1 records, Virginia Tech’s only loss coming in their season opener against number one Alabama. Coach Beamer had nothing but good things to say about freshman corner Brandon Facyson, who is shining early with three interceptions in three games. The Hokie defense will be tested against the Thundering Herd offense that has put up at least 30 points in each of its first three games (12th overall in points scored). The battle is set to begin at noon Saturday on ESPNU.
The 1-1 Virginia Cavaliers host in-state Big South opponent VMI in week four. UVA won a tight week one game over BYU before being routed in week two by Oregon. Coach Mike London says he wants to stretch the field out more this week and look to go vertical with the ball to give his talented receivers a chance to make a play. VMI brings a 1-2 record into Scott Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30 PM on Saturday.
Miami has jumped up to number 16 in the AP polls this week coming off a bye week after an impressive win over Florida on Sept. 7. The Hurricanes are 2-0 and a 60 point favorite over visiting Savannah State this weekend. Coach Al Golden says his boys won’t be holding anything back, taking their schedule week by week and focusing on each team. Saturday at 7:00 PM is kickoff time at Sun Life Stadium.
Steve Addazio and Boston College have a bye week this week and will face ACC opponent Florida State on Saturday, Sept. 28. Both Syracuse and Virginia Tech are vying for their 700th program win this weekend.
To listen to the full ACC mid-week teleconference on 9/18/13 featuring all of the head coaches, click here