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Athlon recaps the Week 11 action in the ACC.
Florida State and Clemson are clearly the ACC's best teams but after that is anyone's guess. North Carolina and Miami lost in Week 11, yet don't suffer a drop in the power rankings this week. With Duke on bye and Virginia Tech also losing, it's hard to find a No. 3 team in this week's poll. Virginia has been on the rise over the last two weeks but still needs two victories to get bowl eligible.
Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina – Bernard had a relatively quiet afternoon against Georgia Tech (78 rushing yards) but retains the No. 1 spot in the offensive player of the year standings.
2. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Boyd has tossed 13 touchdowns over the last three weeks and has Clemson in the mix for an at-large spot in one of the BCS bowls.
3. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State – There’s really not much separating the top three in the offensive player of the year standings. Manuel staked his claim at the top spot with 326 passing yards and three touchdowns against Virginia Tech.
Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner was quiet on the stat sheet in Thursday night’s win over Virginia Tech, recording two tackles and one pass break up.
2. Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State – Carradine has closed the gap with teammate Bjoern Werner for defensive player of the year honors. The senior wrecked havoc against Virginia Tech, recording 11 tackles and one sack.
3. Steve Greer, LB, Virginia – Greer is quietly having a good season and led the way with 13 tackles in the win over Miami. The senior has recorded 108 tackles and two sacks in 2012.
Coach of the Year Standings
1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – Fisher has the Seminoles one win away from clinching a spot in the ACC title game. Florida State is also on track to record 10 wins for the second time in three years.
2. David Cutcliffe, Duke – The Blue Devils have lost three out of their last four games, but Cutcliffe deserves credit for getting this team bowl eligible for the first time since 1994.
3. Dabo Swinney, Clemson – An ACC title is unlikely, but the Tigers still have a shot to play for a BCS bowl. Clemson is 19-5 in the last two seasons under Swinney’s watch.
Post-Week 11 ACC Power Rankings
1. Florida State (9-1, 6-1 ACC)
Last Week: 1
Week 11 Result: Beat Virginia Tech 28-22
The Seminoles had to work a little harder than most expected against Virginia Tech. Florida State was a double-digit favorite but needed a late touchdown pass from quarterback EJ Manuel to receiver Rashad Greene with just over a minute to go to clinch the victory. The Hokies’ active defensive line gave the Seminoles’ offensive line trouble all evening, as running backs Devonta Freeman and James Wilder combined for just five rushing yards. However, the line stepped up in the clutch, giving Manuel enough time on the final drive to lead Florida State to the victory. The Seminoles need a win over Maryland or a Clemson loss against NC State to clinch the ACC Atlantic title.
Next Game: at Maryland
2. Clemson (9-1, 6-1 ACC)
Last Week: 2
Week 11 Result: Beat Maryland 45-10
The Tigers used another big day from quarterback Tajh Boyd to cruise to an easy victory over Maryland. With injuries decimating the offense, the Terrapins were simply overmatched and this game was over by halftime. The one downside to this game for Clemson was a leg injury to receiver Sammy Watkins. However, he is expected to play next Saturday against NC State. The Tigers have to hope for an unlikely Maryland win against Florida State to win the ACC Atlantic title next week. Considering how much of a longshot that is, Clemson’s top priority should be finishing 11-1 and getting into a position for a BCS bowl.
Next Game: NC State
3. North Carolina (6-4, 3-3 ACC)
Last Week: 3
Week 11 Result: Lost to Georgia Tech 68-50
Basketball season is getting ready to start in Chapel Hill, so it’s only appropriate the Tar Heels scored their highest point total in ACC play this season (50) against Georgia Tech. However, despite the huge day on the scoreboard, it wasn’t enough to knock off the Yellow Jackets. The Tar Heels’ offense gained 497 yards but was never really able to get Giovani Bernard enough opportunities on the ground (16 carries). Although the offense had its issues, the defense was the main culprit. North Carolina allowed 588 yards to Georgia Tech and surrendered 30 points in the third quarter. The Tar Heels head to Virginia next Thursday and finish their season with a home game against Maryland on Nov. 24.
Next Game: at Virginia (Thursday)
4. Miami (5-5, 4-3 ACC)
Last Week: 4
Week 11 Result: Lost to Virginia 41-40
After a 30-12 win over Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes were in position to assume full control of the ACC Coastal with a win over Virginia. However, nothing in the ACC is simple this season. Miami fell 41-40 in Charlottesville on Saturday afternoon, dropping its record to 5-5 overall and in danger of missing out on bowl eligibility. The Hurricanes had a huge effort from running back Duke Johnson (150 rushing yards), but the defense struggled to stop Virginia’s passing offense. Miami steps out of conference to play South Florida next week, before finishing the season against Duke.
Next Game: South Florida
5. Virginia Tech (4-6, 2-4 ACC)
Last Week: 5
Week 11 Result: Lost to Florida State 28-22
The Hokies gave Florida State all it could handle on Thursday night but fell just short of the upset win. Virginia Tech’s defense rose to the challenge, holding the Seminoles to 28 points and recording five sacks on Seminoles’ quarterback EJ Manuel. The Hokies outgained Florida State but had two costly interceptions from quarterback Logan Thomas. Despite 2012 being an overall disappointment, Virginia Tech still has a chance to get into the ACC Championship. However, the Hokies’ main goal over the next two weeks should be getting bowl eligible, which requires wins over Boston College and Virginia.
Next Game: at Boston College
6. Duke (6-4, 3-3 ACC)
Last Week: 6
Week 11 Result: Bye Week
The Blue Devils had a bye in Week 11 and return to action next Saturday at Georgia Tech. The off date came at a good time for coach David Cutcliffe and his team, especially since Duke has lost three out of its last four games. The defense has shown signs of improvement, but the secondary has been torched in losses against Florida State and Clemson. With two games remaining, the Blue Devils control their destiny in the Coastal race, as they take on Georgia Tech and Miami the next two weeks.
Next Game: at Georgia Tech
7. NC State (6-4, 3-3 ACC)
Last Week: 7
Week 11 Result: Beat Wake Forest 37-6
A week after a puzzling loss to Virginia, the Wolfpack bounced back with a 37-6 blowout win over Wake Forest 37-6. Quarterback Mike Glennon led the way with 258 passing yards, while freshman running back Shadrach Thornton chipped in 110 yards on the ground. While the offense had its way with Wake Forest, the defense deserves a ton of credit. After getting shredded for 570 yards against NC State and 446 versus Virginia, the Wolfpack allowed the Demon Deacons to record only 185 yards. NC State is bowl eligible and closes out the year with matchups against Clemson and Boston College.
Next Game: at Clemson
8. Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-3 ACC)
Last Week: 8
Week 11 Result: Beat North Carolina 68-50
It’s not crazy to believe Georgia Tech’s 68-50 shootout win over North Carolina might have saved the season. The victory evened the Yellow Jackets to 5-5 overall and puts them back in the mix to play for the ACC title. Georgia Tech’s offense rushed for 380 yards and seven touchdowns, including 112 by quarterback Vad Lee. Although the Yellow Jackets’ defense gave up 497 yards, they forced two turnovers and limited North Carolina running back Giovani Bernard to just 78 yards on 16 attempts. Georgia Tech needs some help to get to the title game but can help its case by beating Duke in Week 12.
Next Game: Duke
9. Virginia (4-6, 2-4 ACC)
Last Week: 11
Week 11 Result: Beat Miami 41-40
The Cavaliers used a late touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Rocco to tight end Jake McGee to knock off Miami 41-40. The win over the Hurricanes keeps Virginia’s slim bowl hopes alive with two games remaining. Coach Mike London planned on rotating quarterbacks, but Rocco assumed control of the No. 1 spot and was a key factor in the Cavaliers’ win. Rocco finished with 300 passing yards and four touchdowns, while Phillip Sims threw for 88 yards on 11 completions. Virginia’s defense struggled to find an answer for Miami running back Duke Johnson, but its offense stepped up in the clutch and delivered the victory. The Cavaliers host North Carolina on Thursday night this week.
Next Game: North Carolina (Thursday)
10. Maryland (4-6, 2-4 ACC)
Last Week: 9
Week 11 Result: Lost to Clemson 45-10
With Stefon Diggs and Wes Brown sidelined, combined with the injuries at quarterback, the Terrapins simply didn’t have the firepower to give Clemson much of a battle. Maryland managed only 180 yards, with quarterback Shawn Petty completing only 6 of 12 passes for 41 yards. The defense forced three turnovers but allowed 436 yards and 45 points to the Tigers. Although the season will end on a down note, the Terrapins have shown improvement in Randy Edsall’s second year in College Park.
Next Game: Florida State
11. Wake Forest (5-5, 3-5 ACC)
Last Week: 10
Week 11 Result: Lost to NC State 37-6
The Demon Deacons wrapped up their 2012 ACC season with a 37-6 loss to NC State. With a struggling offensive line, Wake Forest had trouble generating anything on the ground and its quarterbacks were sacked five times by the Wolfpack. Receiver Michael Campanaro was held to five receptions, while quarterback Tanner Price finished with 113 passing yards on 18 completions. The Demon Deacons still need one more win to get bowl eligible and that’s no easy task with matchups against Notre Dame and Vanderbilt remaining.
Next Game: at Notre Dame
12. Boston College (2-8, 1-5 ACC)
Last Week: 12
Week 11 Result: Lost to Notre Dame 21-6
The Eagles hung around but never really threatened in Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame. Without a consistent running game, quarterback Chase Rettig was forced to shoulder the load on offense. The junior finished with 247 yards, but Boston College’s offense is too one-dimensional right now. The Eagles host Virginia Tech next Saturday and play at NC State on Nov. 24. Barring a surprise upset, Boston College is headed for a 2-10 finish.
Next Game: Virginia Tech
by Steven Lassan
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