Skip to main content

14 ACC Stats You Need to Know for 2016

Mike Williams

Mike Williams

Clemson enters 2016 as the defending ACC champion and one of the favorites to return to the College Football Playoff. The Tigers boast one of the nation’s most explosive offenses, led by Heisman Trophy contender quarterback Deshaun Watson. What’s scary is that Dabo Swinney’s offense could be even better this season considering the return of wide receiver Mike Williams, who went for a team-best 1,030 yards receiving in 2014 before missing basically all of last season after suffering a neck injury in the opener.

Image placeholder title

Related: ACC Football 2016 Predictions

Here are 14 statistics, one for every team, to help get you up to speed on what awaits the ACC this fall.

15: Opponent offensive touchdowns allowed by Boston College in 2015

The Eagles may have lost defensive coordinator Don Brown to Michigan over the offseason, but that side of the ball is still expected to be the strength of this team as Jim Reid takes his place. Despite some key personnel losses, this should be another stingy unit.

Image placeholder title

20: Receiving yards by Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams in 2015

For as explosive as Clemson's offense was last year, quarterback Deshaun Watson and Co. did it all - for the most part - without the services of primary receiver Williams, who injured his neck in the first game of last season. He returns to give the Tigers even more firepower this fall.

Image placeholder title

9.5: Number of sacks returning from Duke’s defense

The Blue Devils were tied for 114th in the nation in sacks per game last season, mustering up just 17 in 13 games. It's not likely to see that number dramatically jump this season, as not as single player returns that had at least two sacks in 2015.

Image placeholder title

6.8: Florida State running back Dalvin Cook's career yards per rushing attempt

There may not be a faster running back in the nation than Cook, who followed up a brilliant freshman campaign with an even better sophomore one. Running behind what will be an experienced offensive line, Cook can build on a 2015 season where he averaged 7.4 yards per carry and 19 touchdowns.

Image placeholder title

3.17: Penalties per game called on Georgia Tech in 2015

There are plenty of reasons why Paul Johnson is considered one of the top coaches in the ACC, but his ability to instill discipline into his squad should be right up there. This mark was good for second in the country last season, coincidentally, behind Johnson's former program, Navy.

1.73: Tackles for a loss per game by Louisville’s Devonte Fields in 2015

Despite the loss of defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins to the NFL Draft, the Cardinals should be strong in the front seven again. Fields has to be considered one of the best edge rushers in the game, as this mark tied for him for third in the country to go along with 11 sacks.

+11: Miami’s turnover margin in 2015

The Hurricanes will be under quite the microscope this season as former Georgia head man Mark Richt takes over in Coral Gables. If his team can replicate the type of success it had in this statistic, where the Hurricanes were ranked 10th in the country, then his maiden voyage at his alma mater may prove successful.

Recommended Articles

College Football Top 25: Miami

16: Sacks allowed by North Carolina in 2015

Quarterback Marquise Williams is gone, but Mitch Trubisky takes over behind what should be one of the strongest offensive lines in the country. In 14 games last season, the Tar Heels, who return four starters up front, barely allowed over one sack per game.

Image placeholder title

202.1: Rushing yards per game by NC State in 2015

No, Georgia Tech is not the only team in the ACC with a fearsome rushing attack. With the loss of quarterback Jacoby Brissett to the NFL, expect the Wolfpack to lean even heavier on the ground game, with senior Matt Dayes returning as the team's leading rusher.

Image placeholder title

12.23: Possessions per game for Pittsburgh in 2015

While the fast-paced, up-tempo spread has become the norm in college football, it has not been part of the plan in Pittsburgh since Todd Graham left for Arizona State. The Panthers prefer to slow things down now, as this figure was good for tied for fourth in the nation among slowest offenses.

Image placeholder title

9: Teams that made a bowl game last season on Syracuse’s 2016 schedule

Without question, Dino Babers' first year as the head coach at Syracuse will be a challenging one, even though he returns one of the most experienced teams in the league. The schedule is a killer, as bowl teams like Notre Dame, South Florida and UConn augment an already difficult league slate.

Image placeholder title

18: Interceptions thrown by Virginia quarterbacks in 2015

There's only so much a team can accomplish if it keeps turning the ball over. As new coach Bronco Mendenhall takes over after coming over from BYU, this is an issue he will have to address, as just seven teams threw more interceptions than the Cavaliers did last season.

Image placeholder title

.335: Third-down conversion rate of Virginia Tech’s opponents in 2015

Death, taxes and a strong defense from coordinator Bud Foster. Although legendary head coach Frank Beamer has retired and former Memphis coach Justin Fuente has taken over, Foster, an assistant in Blacksburg since 1987, should ensure his side of the ball will be steady once again.

Image placeholder title

7.42: Opponents tackle-for-a-loss per game against Wake Forest in 2015

Getting behind the chains is one of the worst things to happen in any offensive drive, but the Demon Deacons were pretty proficient at it last year. On an offense that had many problems, Wake kept going backwards, as only nine teams were worse in this statistic last season.

Image placeholder title

— Written by Adam Kurkjian, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and is a reporter for the Boston Herald. He has covered the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Marathon and Little League World Series, among other events from the high school, college and pro ranks. Follow him on Twitter @AdamKurkjian.