With Florida State and Miami on bye, Week 7 was off the radar in terms of national attention. However, Saturday’s games set the table for what should be an interesting second half of the season in the ACC.
Clemson survived an upset bid by Boston College, while Virginia Tech won its sixth consecutive game by defeating Pittsburgh 19-9.
Duke and Syracuse scored key victories, which should help both teams in the race to get bowl eligible .
Elsewhere around the ACC, Georgia Tech lost its third consecutive game, while Maryland defeated Virginia 27-26 without starting quarterback C.J. Brown.
ACC Week 7 Recap and Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Anthony Boone, QB, Duke
Still recovering from a collarbone injury, Boone wasn’t guaranteed to start Saturday’s game against Navy. However, Brandon Connette was injured after practice on Thursday and was ruled out just before kickoff. Boone was Duke’s starter prior to his injury against Memphis on Sept. 7, and the junior was sharp in his return to the starting lineup. Boone completed 31 of 38 throws for 295 yards and three scores. The junior did not throw an interception, and the 295 passing yards were the best by Boone in his three starts in 2013.
Defensive Player of the Week: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
Beasley gets the nod for the second week in a row as Athlon’s ACC defensive player of the week. The junior recorded five tackles (two for a loss), one pass breakup and one sack in a 24-14 win over Boston College. Those numbers are solid, but Beasley’s biggest contribution came in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Tony Steward forced a fumble from Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig, which Beasley picked up and returned for a 13-yard touchdown. The score gave Clemson a 10-point cushion, which was enough to hold off the Eagles’ upset bid.
Coordinator of the Week: Jim Knowles, Duke
Duke’s defense has received plenty of criticism over the last two years, as the Blue Devils finished 11th in the ACC in total defense last season and allowed 36 points a game. And in the first five games of 2013, Duke ranked 12th in the ACC in total defense, allowing 400 yards per game. However, the Blue Devils turned in one of their best defensive performances against a FBS team in recent years, as Navy was held to seven points and 230 rushing yards. The Midshipmen did not score a point in the second half and lost three turnovers. The seven points allowed by Duke was the fewest against a FBS team since holding Vanderbilt to just seven points in 2008. Although the Blue Devils have struggled at times on defense, Knowles and the defensive staff deserve a lot of credit for the performance against Navy.
Team of the Week: Virginia Tech
The pickings are slim here, but let’s give a tip of the cap to Virginia Tech. The Hokies used another strong defensive effort to beat Pittsburgh on Saturday, moving to 6-1 on the season. Last year, Virginia Tech won six games in the regular season and needed a bowl victory over Rutgers to get to 7-6. The offense is still a work in progress, averaging only 328.4 yards per game. However, quarterback Logan Thomas has not thrown an interception in three games. The Hokies are holding opponents to just 256 yards per game and only one opponent has scored more than 20 points in a contest this year.
Freshman of the Week: Jack Tocho, CB, NC State
Tocho made his first start of the season against Syracuse and made an instant impact for NC State’s defense. The true freshman recorded three tackles and picked off Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt twice. Tocho also added one pass breakup. The three-star recruit injured his shoulder against the Orange but made a solid contribution for NC State’s defense when he was on the field.
• Pittsburgh averaged just 3.8 yards per play against Virginia Tech.
• Maryland linebacker L.A. Goree turned in a strong performance against Virginia, recording 15 stops (with one tackle for a loss).
• In Saturday’s game against Clemson, Boston College running back Andre Williams was held under 100 yards for only the second time this season.
• Virginia Tech’s defense recorded eight sacks against Pittsburgh, with three coming from Dadi Nicolas.
• Virginia quarterback David Watford threw for a season-high 263 yards against Maryland.
• Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald recorded three tackles for a loss and two sacks against Virginia Tech.
• Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd has thrown for at least 300 yards in each of his last three games.
• Syracuse scored its first ACC win by beating NC State 24-10 on Saturday.
• Georgia Tech defensive tackle Adam Gotsis recorded four tackles for a loss and two sacks against BYU.
• For the first time since 2011, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has not tossed an interception in three consecutive games.