Athlon recaps the Week 4 action in the ACC.
The ACC's chance in the national spotlight didn't disappoint. Florida State-Clemson provided one of 2012's most entertaining games, with the Seminoles coming out on top. Miami's overtime win over Georgia Tech headlined the rest of the action in the conference.
Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State – Manuel earned his signature win at Florida State, recording 482 total yards in a huge win over Clemson.
2. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson – Ellington was held largely in check against Florida State (55 yards) but leads the ACC with an average of 95.8 rushing yards per game.
3. Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest – Campanaro has been Tanner Price’s go-to target this year, recording at least nine receptions in three out of four games. The junior has 36 catches through four contests.
Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner suffered a hand injury against Clemson and was relatively quiet on the stat sheet with four tackles.
2. Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland – Vellano continued his solid season with six tackles (two for a loss) against West Virginia.
3. David Amerson, CB, NC State – Amerson has stepped up since a bad season opener, recording three tackles and one interception against Citadel in Week 4.
Coach of the Year Standings
1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles officially stamped their place in the national title mix with a big win over Clemson on Saturday night.
2. Al Golden, Miami – The Hurricanes are far from a perfect team, but Golden deserves some credit for leading Miami to a 42-36 victory over Georgia Tech in Week 4.
3. David Cutcliffe, Duke – The Blue Devils are halfway to bowl eligibility and are coming off a big 38-14 victory over Memphis in Week 4.
Post-Week 4 ACC Power Rankings
1. Florida State (4-0, 2-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 1
Week 4 result: Beat Clemson 49-37
Is Florida State back? That question will seemingly continue to hang around the program until the Seminoles make an appearance in the national title game. However, after Saturday night’s win against Clemson, Florida State has to be taken seriously as a national title contender. The Seminoles fell behind early but rallied behind quarterback EJ Manuel. The senior was nearly flawless on Saturday night, throwing for 380 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 102 yards on 12 attempts. Although the defense gave up 37 points, it put the clamps on Clemson’s high-powered attack in the second half. Not only was the win huge for Florida State’s national title hopes, but it is clearly in the driver’s seat for the ACC Atlantic crown.
Next Game: at South Florida
2. Clemson (3-1, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 2
Week 4 result: Lost to Florida State 49-37
Even after a loss in Tallahassee, it’s hard to penalize the Tigers in the power rankings. Clemson led Florida State 28-14 in the third quarter but was simply overpowered by a better opponent in the second half. The Tigers did a good job of using misdirection and formations to slow down the Seminoles’ defense, however, the offense was bottled up in the final two quarters. Clemson’s defense was gashed for 287 rushing yards, while the secondary allowed 380 yards to Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel. The Tigers should bounce back in Week 5 against Boston College.
Next Game: at Boston College
3. Virginia Tech (3-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 4
Week 4 result: Beat Bowling Green 37-0
A week after a surprising loss to Pittsburgh, Bowling Green was the perfect medicine for the Hokies. Thanks to a solid performance from quarterback Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech jumped out to a 21-0 lead at halftime and never looked back. Thomas finished with three overall scores, while the defense held the Falcons under 300 yards. The Hokies step out of conference for the final time of the season, playing Cincinnati at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
Next Game: Cincinnati (Landover, Md.)
4. Miami (3-1, 2-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 9
Week 4 result: Beat Georgia Tech 42-36
Somehow, the Hurricanes pulled out a 42-36 win over Georgia Tech in Week 4. In one of the strangest games of the season, Miami jumped out to a 19-0 lead, only to fall behind 36-19 late in the third quarter. However, the Hurricanes scored 23 unanswered points, including the game-winning score in overtime to seal the upset. Miami’s defense has struggled all season, and it allowed Georgia Tech to rush for 287 yards. The Hurricanes made up for their struggles on defense with a potent offense, including 436 passing yards and two touchdowns by quarterback Stephen Morris.
Next Game: NC State
5. Georgia Tech (2-2, 1-2 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 3
Week 4 result: Lost to Miami 42-36
As we indicated above with the Miami writeup, Georgia Tech’s loss on Saturday was one of college football’s most bizarre outcomes of the season. The Yellow Jackets fell behind 19-0 but held a 36-19 lead late in the third quarter. That wasn’t enough to hold off the Hurricanes, as they rallied for a 42-36 victory in overtime. As expected, Georgia Tech’s offense had its way with Miami, but the Yellow Jackets struggled to get stops on defense. With two ACC losses, Georgia Tech faces an uphill battle to win the Coastal.
Next Game: MTSU
6. NC State (3-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 5
Week 4 result: Beat Citadel 52-14
The Wolfpack have rebounded nicely since losing to Tennessee in Week 1. Tom O’Brien’s team has recorded three straight victories, including a 52-14 win over Citadel in Week 4. Quarterback Mike Glennon has not tossed an interception in the last three weeks, and the defense has allowed only 28 points during that stretch. The competition steps up for NC State this Saturday, as it travels to Miami to take on the Hurricanes and hosts Florida State in Week 6.
Next Game: at Miami
7. Wake Forest (3-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 7
Week 4 result: Beat Army 49-37
The Demon Deacons had a tough assignment in Week 4. After a brutal 52-0 beatdown at the hands of Florida State, Wake Forest had to take on a tricky Army team last Saturday. The Black Knights gave the Demon Deacons all they could handle, rushing for 429 yards and four touchdowns. However, Wake Forest’s balanced offense was simply too much in the end and held on for a 49-37 victory. The Demon Deacons will play two of their next three games on the road but host ACC rival Duke this Saturday.
Next Game: Duke
8. North Carolina (2-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 8
Week 4 result: Beat East Carolina 27-6
After back-to-back close losses, the Tar Heels returned to the win column with a solid 27-6 victory over East Carolina. The offense got a huge boost with the return of running back Giovani Bernard. The sophomore rushed for 50 yards and one touchdown and added six receptions for 52 yards and one score. North Carolina’s defense had rough performances against Wake Forest and Louisville but allowed only 233 yards to the Pirates.
Next Game: Idaho
9. Virginia (2-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 6
Week 4 result: Lost 27-7 to TCU
The Cavaliers’ struggles on offense continued with a 27-7 loss in Fort Worth against TCU. Quarterback Michael Rocco completed only 13 of 28 throws and tossed two interceptions. Backup Phillip Sims moved the offense late in the fourth quarter and could see more time in Week 5. Virginia’s defense had no answer for TCU quarterback Casey Pachall, giving up 305 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers won’t have much time to regroup, especially with an upset-minded and dangerous Louisiana Tech team coming to town in Week 5.
Next Game: Louisiana Tech
10. Duke (3-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 10
Week 4 result: Beat Memphis 38-14
Going into the season, most felt this was David Cutcliffe’s best team at Duke. So far, the Blue Devils have handled their business, capped by a dominating 38-14 victory over Memphis in Week 4. Duke’s defense has been hit hard by injuries but allowed just 152 yards to the Tigers. Quarterback Sean Renfree had a strong game for the Blue Devils, throwing for 314 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Jela Duncan gave the ground game a spark, recording 88 yards on nine attempts. Duke is halfway to bowl eligibility, but the schedule gets tougher the rest of the way with all ACC games on the schedule.
Next Game: at Wake Forest
11. Boston College (1-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 11
Week 4 result: Bye Week
The Eagles had an off date in Week 4 and return to the field this Saturday against Clemson. The upcoming stretch is an important one for Boston College, as its bowl hopes could ride on the next three or four games. The Eagles will be underdogs in three of its next four games, and this team cannot afford to get blown out and slump to 2-6 or 1-7 record at the end of October.
Next Game: Clemson
12. Maryland (2-2, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week’s Rank: 12
Week 4 result: Lost to West Virginia 31-21
Even though it was a loss, Maryland deserves some credit for its Week 4 performance. The Terrapins were not blown out as some expected and gave West Virginia a good fight through all four quarters. Quarterback Perry Hills bounced back from a brutal blindside hit at the end of the first half and finished with 305 yards and three touchdowns. As expected, West Virginia’s offense was eventually too much, but the Terrapins did a good job of limiting the Mountaineers’ rushing attack and getting after quarterback Geno Smith.
Next Game: Wake Forest (Oct. 6)
by Steven Lassan
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