UVa-Va Tech, 4 games vs. SEC mark ACC’s final week
A look at things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference during Week 14 of the season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Virginia at Virginia Tech. The winner of the Commonwealth Cup also earns bowl eligibility. The loser stays home for the holidays — and for Tech, that would be the first time that’s happened since 1992. The Cavaliers (5-6) are the only Coastal Division team never to have beaten the Hokies (5-6) since they joined the ACC in 2004, losing all 10 matchups while scoring more than 14 points only once in that span. “The big week is happening fast,” Hokies coach Frank Beamer said, “and we’ve got to move fast and think fast this week.”
BEST MATCHUP: Pittsburgh’s passing game vs. Miami’s pass defense. The Hurricanes have been tough to throw against — the only team to pass for more than 300 yards against them was No. 1 Florida State. Run-reliant Pitt only throws for 187 yards per game, but with RB James Conner’s status unclear, the Panthers (5-6) could need QB Chad Voytik and WR Tyler Boyd to find some holes.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The ACC can earn a measure of respect with four schools taking on instate rivals from Southeastern Conference schools. ACC teams have beaten at least one school from each of the other five power conferences this season, but in the only ACC-SEC matchup so far, Georgia routed Clemson 45-21. “It’s kind of compounded for us because we sit in the middle of the SEC,” said Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, whose team faces Georgia. “We hear that a lot, too.”
LONG SHOT: Keep an eye on No. 16 Georgia Tech, a 13-point underdog against No. 8 Georgia. The Yellow Jackets — who clinched the Coastal Division last week with Duke’s loss to North Carolina — had a week off to heal and prepare. Georgia Tech has lost five in a row in the series known as Good, Old-Fashioned Hate.
IMPACT PLAYER: North Carolina QB Marquise Williams has the Tar Heels’ offense humming. He ranks among the league leaders in rushing, passing and total offense heading into Saturday’s rivalry game with North Carolina State. And in each of the past two games, he’s flirted with reaching 400 yards of total offense. “It’s incredible numbers,” he said, “but I know myself I can do way better than those numbers that I’ve been putting up.”
Compiled by AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard and Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.