Top-5 FSU-Clemson matchup looms large in ACC
The Associated Press
Oct. 17, 2013
A look at five things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference during Week 7 of the season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 5 Florida State at third-ranked Clemson. Tigers DE Vic Beasley says this "may be the biggest game in ACC history. We don't know." The first meeting of top-five ACC teams since 2005 is definitely the league's game of the year — and possibly the decade. The winner has the inside track to the Atlantic Division title and keeps itself in the national championship picture, while the loser will need varying degrees of help to claw back into both races. Said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney succinctly: "This is what it's all about."
BEST MATCHUP: There's not much difference between Georgia Tech and Syracuse — at least, according to the ACC's stat rankings. The Yellow Jackets lead the conference in rushing while the Orange's run defense is second in the league. Both teams would rather run than pass, average about 32 points and give up roughly 23 points per game.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Duke is 4-1 against Virginia under David Cutcliffe but just 5-32 against the rest of the league. Blue Devils QB Anthony Boone — who is 4-0 as a starter — made his first career start against the Cavaliers last year and threw a career-high four touchdown passes. The loser of what Blue Devils CB Ross Cockrell calls "a rowdy game" will be in big trouble at 0-3 in the league and both teams still have to face the Coastal Division's two ranked teams, No. 10 Miami and No. 19 Virginia Tech.
LONG SHOT: Perhaps FCS member Old Dominion will keep things interesting against Pittsburgh for a while. In the last two weeks, the Panthers were beaten by Virginia Tech and beaten up by Virginia. QB Tom Savage was sacked a combined 15 times in those games and was knocked out by the Cavaliers with a concussion. The Hokies also knocked out WR Devin Street with a hit that the ACC later determined to be legal. Pitt lost its last game against an FCS team, opening 2012 with a shocker against Youngstown State.
IMPACT PLAYER: Wake Forest WR Michael Campanaro could have a big day against an injury-depleted Maryland defense that allowed a total of 1,119 yards in its last two games. Campanaro, who is 10 receptions from the school's career record, caught 12 passes for 153 yards and two TDs against N.C. State two weeks ago, and the Demon Deacons have had two weeks to heal, prepare for the Terrapins — and maybe draw up some trick plays, which usually involve Campanaro.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, N.C.