No. 3 Clemson hosts Syracuse in ACC’s top game of Week 5
Things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 5:
GAME OF THE WEEK
Syracuse at No. 3 Clemson. This might be a matchup of the two best teams in the ACC, with the three-time defending champion Tigers (4-0, 1-0) playing host to the surprising Orange (4-0, 1-0). Syracuse is the only ACC team to beat the Tigers since 2016, and its fast start has come as a surprise, with the Orange leading the conference and ranking 10th nationally by scoring 49.5 points per game. They’ll get a test from a Clemson defense that ranks fourth nationally, allowing an average of 251.8 total yards.
Virginia’s offense vs. North Carolina State’s defense. Cavaliers quarterback Bryce Perkins has emerged as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the conference, ranking second in the league in total offense at 296 yards per game and coming up with several highlight-reel plays in last week’s rout of Louisville. The Wolfpack’s rebuilt defense has been strong, ranking in the top third of the league in total defense (346 ypg) and against the run (108 ypg), and No. 1 in points allowed (13.3 ppg).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Four ACC teams (Syracuse, Clemson, Duke, N.C. State) are undefeated in the season’s fifth week, and three of those schools have made history with their fast starts. The Orange are 4-0 for the first time since 1991 — their first year in the old Big East — while Clemson opened with four straight wins for the fourth straight year, becoming only the third ACC program to accomplish that and the first since Florida State from 2012-15. Meanwhile, Duke (4-0) is on a seven-game winning streak that dates to last season — its longest winning streak since winning eight straight in 2013.
Could Rice become the latest team to beat Wake Forest on its home field? The Demon Deacons (2-2, 0-1) are 25½-point favorites but their defense has fallen apart in recent weeks, giving up big plays in bunches while allowing a total of 97 points in consecutive home losses to Boston College (41-34) and No. 8 Notre Dame (56-27) — the latter of those costing defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel his job . Rice’s passing offense ranks in the bottom half of the Bowl Subdivision — but then again, so did Notre Dame’s before last week.
It’s a big week for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who will make his first career start against Syracuse. The nation’s top quarterback prospect coming out of high school last year was 13 of 18 for 176 yards and four touchdown passes against Georgia Tech to earn the job ahead of Kelly Bryant, who led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff a year ago.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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