Athlon recaps the Week 1 action in the ACC.
The first weekend of action in the ACC was a mixed bag of results. NC State missed an opportunity to earn the conference national respect in Friday night’s loss to Tennessee, but Clemson picked up a key win over Auburn on Saturday. Florida State dominated as expected in the matchup against Murray State. Miami and Virginia Tech earned the only two victories in conference play in Week 1.
Post-Week 1 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – With a revamped offensive line, no one knew what to expect out of Clemson’s ground game in the opener. However, Ellington rushed for 228 yards on 25 attempts to lead the Tigers to a victory over Auburn.
2. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – A knee injury ended Bernard’s day a little early, but he scored three times and recorded 203 yards of total offense.
3. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – Hopkins, Tajh Boyd or Logan Thomas are all worthy of this spot. Hopkins shined in Clemson’s victory over Auburn, catching 13 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown.
Post-Week 1 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – With Brandon Jenkins sidelined for the rest of the year, Werner needs to take his play up another notch.
2. Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland – The Terrapins’ new 3-4 scheme didn’t slow down Vellano, as he recorded 11 tackles and one interception in the win over William & Mary.
3. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina – There were few standout defensive performances in Week 1 in the ACC. Williams recorded two sacks in the Tar Heels’ victory over Elon.
Post-Week 1 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles were the preseason favorite to win the ACC and handled their business with a 69-3 thrashing of Murray State.
2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson – The defending ACC champs claimed a key non-conference victory with a 26-19 win over Auburn.
3. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech – Monday night’s win against Georgia Tech doesn’t guarantee a Coastal Division title, but it puts the Hokies in great shape after the first weekend of action.
Post-Week 1 ACC Power Rankings
1. Florida State (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 1
Week 1 Result: Beat Murray State 69-3
The outcome of the Week 1 matchup against Murray State was never in doubt. Florida State cruised to a 69-3 victory and even though the game was a one-sided affair, the contest allowed the coaching staff to get a good look at the revamped offensive line. The front five did not allow a sack and led the way for rushers to record 285 yards on the ground. The biggest news coming out of the opener was the loss of end Brandon Jenkins to a season-ending foot injury. Florida State has one more tuneup before ACC play, taking on another FCS opponent (Savannah State) this Saturday.
This week: Savannah State
2. Clemson (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 2
Week 1 Result: Beat Auburn 26-19
The Tigers had the most impressive victory among ACC teams in Week 1. Behind 266 total yards and one passing touchdown from quarterback Tajh Boyd, Clemson knocked off Auburn 26-19. The victory was huge for Clemson, but also the ACC as it looks to earn national respect. With star receiver Sammy Watkins suspended, DeAndre Hopkins emerged as the No. 1 target, catching 13 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown. Running back Andre Ellington was stellar, gashing Auburn for 231 yards on 26 attempts. The offensive line needs to work on pass protection but upcoming games against Furman and Ball State should allow the front five to jell before playing Florida State on Sept. 22.
This week: Ball State
3. Virginia Tech (1-0, 1-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 3
Week 1 Result: Beat Georgia Tech 20-17
The Hokies took an early lead in the battle to win the Coastal Division, edging Georgia Tech 20-17 in overtime. Virginia Tech’s offense struggled to get on track most of the night, with quarterback Logan Thomas making a few key plays late to send the game into overtime. The debut of running back Michael Holmes was solid, earning 54 yards on 12 carries. The Hokies have some time to work out the kinks on offense, as their next ACC game is Oct. 6 against North Carolina.
This week: Austin Peay
4. North Carolina (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 5
Week 1 Result: Beat Elon 62-0
Larry Fedora’s debut in Chapel Hill was a success. The Tar Heels recorded 62 points (the most by a North Carolina team since 1995) and the first shutout since 1999. Running back Giovani Bernard left early due to a minor knee injury but finished with 93 yards on the ground and three overall scores. The defense held Elon to 170 yards and recorded two sacks. North Carolina opens ACC play this Saturday with a matchup against in-state rival Wake Forest.
This week: at Wake Forest
5. Georgia Tech (0-1, 0-1 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 6
Week 1 Result: Lost to Virginia Tech 20-17
The Yellow Jackets nearly escaped Blacksburg with a victory, but instead return home with a 0-1 record in ACC play. The Hokies kept Georgia Tech’s rushing attack in check for most of the night, but quarterback Tevin Washington made a few key plays through the air to give his team a chance to win. However, his interception in overtime ended any hopes the Yellow Jackets had of pulling off the upset. s also had some bright spots on defense but failed to stop Virginia Tech on the final drive in the fourth quarter. Although the season is far from over, this is a huge loss in the race to win the ACC Coastal.
This week: Presbyterian
6. Virginia (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 7
Week 1 Result: Beat Richmond 43-19
The Cavaliers continue to build momentum under coach Mike London, opening the 2012 season with a convincing 43-19 victory over Richmond. Michael Rocco edged Phillip Sims for the No. 1 quarterback spot in the fall and tightened his grip on the job, throwing for 311 yards and one touchdown on 25 completions. Running backs Kevin Parks and Perry Jones had a light workload but combined for 101 yards and three scores. The schedule gets a little tougher for Virginia this Saturday, as it hosts Penn State in the first meeting between these schools since 2002.
This week: Penn State
7. NC State (0-1, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 4
Week 1 Result: Lost to Tennessee 35-21
Even though the result wasn’t that one-sided, the Wolfpack had to be the biggest disappointment in the ACC for Week 1. Quarterback Mike Glennon had a bad performance, tossing four picks on 46 attempts, while the rushing attack never really got on track. The secondary was expected to be among the best in the ACC but allowed 333 yards and two touchdowns to Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray. NC State looks to get back on track in Week 2 against Connecticut.
This Week: at Connecticut
8. Miami (1-0, 1-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 8
Week 1 Result: Beat Boston College 41-32
With a lot of youth and inexperience stepping into the starting lineup, Miami was a difficult team to get a read on in the preseason. The Hurricanes showed flashes of promise in the opener against Boston College, recording 415 yards and forcing three turnovers on defense. Quarterback Stephen Morris was a steady 28 of 45 for 207 yards, while freshman running back Duke Johnson was impressive, rushing for 135 yards on seven attempts. Miami’s defense struggled to stop the Eagles’ passing attack, which will be a concern against some of the teams in the ACC.
This week: at Kansas State
9. Duke (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 11
Week 1 Result: Beat FIU 46-26
The Blue Devils No. 1 goal for 2012 is to get to a bowl game, and the team took a step in the right direction with a 46-26 victory over FIU on Saturday. The Blue Devils allowed 513 yards to the Golden Panthers but made timely plays, including a blocked field goal return for a score at the end of the first half. The rushing attack still needs work, but quarterback Sean Renfree is off to a good start after throwing for 290 yards against FIU. Duke has a difficult test ahead in Week 2, as it travels west to take on Stanford.
This week: at Stanford
10. Wake Forest (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 9
Week 1 Result: Beat Liberty 20-17
There’s not much to say about the Demon Deacons’ Week 1 performance other than it was a victory. Squeaking by a FCS opponent is concerning, but Wake Forest’s Week 2 matchup against North Carolina will provide more insight into this team. Quarterback Tanner Price was steady in the opener, throwing for 195 yards and one score, while running back Josh Harris left early due to a concussion. The Demon Deacons allowed 363 yards to Liberty but recorded two sacks and generated two turnovers.
This week: North Carolina
11. Boston College (0-1, 0-1 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 12
Week 1 Result: Lost to Miami 41-32
There were positive signs for Boston College in the season opener against Miami but with a challenging schedule, the Eagles couldn’t afford to lose their first game. Quarterback Chase Rettig was missing two key players from the receiving corps but threw for 441 yards and two touchdowns. While Rettig’s play was a bright spot, Boston College’s defense had no answer for Miami. The Eagles allowed 41 points and 415 yards and gave up a few big plays to the Hurricanes’ offense. Boston College should get a victory in Week 2 against Maine, but the schedule doesn’t let up with Northwestern in Week 3 and Clemson in Week 5.
This week: Maine
12. Maryland (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Preseason Rank: 10
Week 1 Result: Beat William & Mary 7-6
Ugly. That’s really the only way to describe the Terrapins’ opener against William & Mary. With quarterback C.J. Brown lost for the year with a torn ACL, true freshman Perry Hills took over as the starter. Hills completed 16 of 24 passes but tossed three picks. The offense managed only 236 yards but was bailed out by a defense that held the Tribe to just 229 yards and six points. With two new coordinators and a freshman quarterback, there will no doubt be growing pains for Maryland. However, the schedule only gets tougher from here, as the Terrapins visit Temple in Week 2.
This week: at Temple
by Steven Lassan
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