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Athlon recaps the Week 5 action in the ACC
Week 5 of ACC action didn't have a marquee game like Florida State-Clemson but still provided plenty of intrigue. Miami-NC State was one of the weekend's most entertaining games, while Florida State and Clemson took care of business on the road. On the downside, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech lost non-conference games. Duke improved to 4-1 with a victory over Wake Forest.
Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State – Manuel wasn’t flashy against South Florida but did enough to get the victory. The senior threw for 242 yards and one touchdown and has not thrown an interception since the season opener.
2. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson – Boyd has been steady all season and has back-to-back games of three touchdown tosses. The junior has improved significantly as a rusher, recording 161 yards and one touchdown through five games.
3. Stephen Morris, QB, Miami – Morris had a slow start to the season but has seven touchdowns and 1,002 passing yards over his last two games. The junior probably won’t continue this pace, but he’s deserving of a mention after the last two weeks.
Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Werner has been relatively quiet the last two weeks but leads the conference in tackles for a loss (9) and ranks second in sacks (6.5).
2. Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State – Carradine has been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks this year and led Florida State with nine tackles and two sacks against South Florida.
3. Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland – The Terrapins were off in Week 5, but Vellano ranks fifth in the conference with 6.5 tackles for a loss.
Coach of the Year Standings
1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State – The Seminoles continue to hang in the national title picture with a 30-17 win over South Florida.
2. David Cutcliffe, Duke – Can the Blue Devils snap their bowl drought? Thanks to a win over Wake Forest, Duke needs two victories to get to bowl eligible.
3. Al Golden, Miami – The Hurricanes have been involved in a few shootouts this year, but it’s time to take this team seriously as an ACC Coastal contender.
Post-Week 5 ACC Power Rankings
1. Florida State (5-0, 2-0 ACC)
Last Week: 1
Week 5 Result: Beat South Florida 30-17
After a huge win over Clemson last week, the Seminoles were on letdown alert against South Florida in Week 5. Florida State didn’t have its best game of the season but finished with a comfortable 30-17 victory over the Bulls. Quarterback EJ Manuel finished with 242 passing yards, while Chris Thompson added 74 yards on the ground. The defense forced three turnovers, including a fumble return for a touchdown at the end of the third quarter. Florida State has another tricky road trip in Week 6, as it travels to Raleigh to take on NC State.
Next Game: at NC State
2. Clemson (4-1, 1-1 ACC)
Last Week: 2
Week 5 Result: Beat Boston College 45-31
When you suffer a tough defeat like Clemson experienced in Week 4, it’s easy to let a team beat you twice. However, the Tigers erased some of the disappointment from the loss to Florida State, beating Boston College 45-31. Despite Sammy Watkins missing the game due to a virus, quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Andre Ellington chipped in 132 on the ground. Clemson needs a few breaks to catch the Seminoles in the Atlantic but plays its next two games at home, before taking on Wake Forest and Duke on the road.
Next Game: Georgia Tech
3. Miami (4-1, 3-0 ACC)
Last Week: 4
Week 5 Result: Beat NC State 44-37
The Hurricanes have been involved in two of college football’s most bizarre games of the 2012 season over the last two weeks. Miami opened a 23-7 lead against NC State on Saturday, but watched the Wolfpack rally to a 37-37 tie with less than two minutes remaining. After Mike Glennon tossed an interception, Stephen Morris hit Phillip Dorsett on a 62-yard touchdown pass for the win. While the Hurricanes are giving up a lot of yards and points, they are simply finding ways to win. Miami sits atop the ACC Coastal with a 3-0 record and host North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia Tech in its next three conference games. Considering where the Hurricanes were predicted to finish in the preseason, Al Golden deserves a ton of credit for leading this team to a 4-1 record.
Next Game: Notre Dame (Chicago)
4. Virginia Tech (3-2, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week: 3
Week 5 Result: Lost to Cincinnati 27-24
Here’s one bit of good news for the Hokies: They have no more games against the Big East scheduled for 2012. Virginia Tech dropped its second game to a Big East team in 2012, losing 27-24 to Cincinnati at FedEx Field. Both teams struggled to find their footing on offense through the first three quarters but combined for 31 points in an exciting fourth quarter. Virginia Tech is a team still searching for a spark on offense, but redshirt freshman running back Michael Holmes seemed to take a step forward against the Bearcats. Despite the two losses this year, the Hokies are still in control of their destiny in the ACC Coastal.
Next Game: at North Carolina
5. NC State (3-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week: 6
Week 5 Result: Lost to Miami 44-37
Despite recording 664 total yards, the Wolfpack dropped their ACC opener to Miami. NC State’s offense moved the ball with ease, but 14 penalties and six turnovers are simply too much to overcome. Cornerback David Amerson appeared to be back on the right track after a rough performance against Tennessee, but he struggled against the Hurricanes’ receivers and did not record an interception. The Wolfpack return home to face Florida State in Week 6 and a loss would drop it to 3-3 at the halfway point of the season.
Next Game: Florida State
6. Georgia Tech (2-3, 1-2 ACC)
Last Week: 5
Week 5 Result: Lost 49-28 to MTSU
It’s fair to say the Yellow Jackets are deserving of a spot lower in the power rankings after losing to MTSU 49-28. However, Athlon’s power rankings are more of a season grade, so Georgia Tech deserves a little credit for overtime losses against Virginia Tech and Miami. However, after back-to-back defeats, the Yellow Jackets desperately need to turn things around against Clemson in Week 6. The defense has been the primary culprit for the struggles, but even though the offense doesn’t throw it much, not having playmakers at receiver is hurting this team. Paul Johnson may not be on the hot seat yet but a loss to Clemson would put this team at 2-4 halfway through the year.
Next Game: at Clemson
7. North Carolina (3-2, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week: 8
Week 5 Result: Beat Idaho 66-0
The Tar Heels cruised to an easy 66-0 win over Idaho in Week 5. Quarterback Bryn Renner threw only 19 passes, while running back Giovani Bernard recorded 70 yards on just two carries. North Carolina’s defense forced five turnovers against the Vandals and has allowed only six points over the last two weeks. The stakes get a little higher for the Tar Heels next Saturday, as Virginia Tech visits Chapel Hill. Even though North Carolina is ineligible to win the conference crown, there’s still plenty to play for against its ACC rivals.
Next Game: Virginia Tech
8. Duke (4-1, 1-0 ACC)
Last Week: 10
Week 5 Result: Beat Wake Forest 34-27
The Blue Devils moved one step closer to bowl eligibility, beating Wake Forest 34-27 for the first time since 1999. Quarterback Sean Renfree left Saturday’s game with an elbow injury, and his status is uncertain for the Week 6 matchup against Virginia. Renfree’s play has been crucial to Duke’s 4-1 record, while the rushing attack is showing signs of life behind freshman Jela Duncan. The Blue Devils have a tough schedule the rest of the way but could be looking at their first bowl appearance since 1994.
Next Game: Virginia
9. Wake Forest (3-2, 1-2 ACC)
Last Week: 7
Week 5 Result: Lost to Duke 34-27
The Demon Deacons dropped their second ACC game of the year, which was also their first loss to Duke since 1999. However, the on-field performance wasn’t the only setback, as receiver Michael Campanaro suffered a broken hand and is likely out for the next three games. Campanaro’s loss is huge, as he was one of the top receivers in the ACC and was averaging eight catches a game. Wake Forest has four road games over its next six contests.
Next Game: at Maryland
10. Virginia (2-3, 0-1 ACC)
Last Week: 9
Week 5 Result: Lost to Louisiana Tech 44-38
Allowing 24 unanswered points to Louisiana Tech was simply too much to overcome in the fourth quarter for the Cavaliers. Virginia led 24-20 at halftime but was unable to hold onto that lead, largely due to two interceptions by quarterback Michael Rocco in the third quarter. Phillip Sims replaced Rocco late, finishing with 166 yards and two touchdowns. Sims may get the start in Week 6, but the key to Virginia’s offense will be establishing a rushing attack that has been stuck in neutral most of the year. The Cavaliers enter Week 6 action with a three-game losing streak.
Next Game: at Duke
11. Boston College (1-3, 0-2 ACC)
Last Week: 11
Week 5 Result: Lost to Clemson 45-31
The Eagles remained winless in ACC play with a 45-31 loss to Clemson. Quarterback Chase Rettig continued his solid start, completing 25 of 43 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns. However, Rettig tossed two interceptions, and the rushing attack never got on track against Clemson’s athletic front seven. New coordinator Doug Martin has made some solid adjustments to the offense, but the defense has allowed two teams to score over 40 points. The Eagles have a tough matchup in Week 6, as they travel to West Point to take on Army.
Next Game: at Army
12. Maryland (2-2, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week: 12
Week 5 Result: Bye Week
Some coaches aren’t in favor of an early bye week, but the off date came at a good time for Maryland. Coming off back-to-back losses and starting a true freshman quarterback, the time off will allow this team to regroup and make a few adjustments. The Terrapins have already matched their win total from last season but face an uphill battle to get bowl eligible. Maryland opens ACC play against Wake Forest this Saturday.
Next Game: Wake Forest
by Steven Lassan
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