The ACC was short on marquee games for Week 9, but the conference provided some intrigue.
Duke upset Virginia Tech to earn bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season.
Florida State and North Carolina cruised to easy victories, while Miami needed another late comeback to stay unbeaten.
Pittsburgh suffered an upset loss to Navy, which puts the Panthers’ bowl hopes in jeopardy.
ACC Week 9 Recap and Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
For the second week in a row with the game in doubt, Miami turned to its ground attack to earn the victory. And the Hurricanes’ running backs and offensive line delivered once again, as the Miami scored with less than a minute remaining to beat Wake Forest 24-21. Running back Duke Johnson was the difference in the game for the Hurricanes, rushing for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 30 rushes. And it was a gutty performance from the sophomore, as he appeared to be less than 100 percent in the fourth quarter. The Hurricanes will need a similar performance from Johnson in next week’s huge showdown against Florida State.
Defensive Player of the Week: Kelby Brown, LB, Duke
Brown and fellow linebacker David Helton anchored Duke’s strong defensive effort against Virginia Tech. Brown recorded 14 stops, which ranked second on the team behind Helton’s 19. One of Brown’s tackles for a loss, but his biggest contribution was an interception with less than five minutes remaining, which sealed the victory for Duke. Brown ranks third on the team with 61 stops this season and has recorded 5.5 tackles for a loss. The junior missed 2012 due to injury but has been a key contributor for Duke’s defense in 2013.
Coordinator of the Week: Jim Knowles, Duke
The Blue Devils’ defense had some help from a sluggish Virginia Tech offense, but for the second week in a row, Duke’s defense has stepped up when it mattered. The Blue Devils didn’t allow a point in the second half of last Saturday’s victory over Virginia and held the Hokies to just 55 yards in the fourth quarter, which was just enough for Duke to score a 13-10 win in Blacksburg. The Blue Devils forced four interceptions off Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas and generated four tackles for a loss. Duke has held its last three opponents to five yards or less per play, and only one team in the last three games against the Blue Devils has scored more than 10 points. Knowles has pushed the right buttons this season, and the key stops on defense are a key reason why Duke is 6-2.
Team of the Week: Duke
Despite four turnovers, 198 yards of offense and zero third-down conversions, Duke defeated Virginia Tech 13-10. Saturday’s win in Blacksburg was the first in school history, and the Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the second straight year. Duke’s defense has taken a lot of criticism over the last few years, but this unit has delivered with the game on the line in back-to-back weeks. The Blue Devils did not allow a point in the second half of last Saturday’s win against Virginia, and this unit held Virginia Tech to just 24 yards on its final two drives to secure the win. It wasn’t pretty, but the victory in Blacksburg shows how far Duke has progressed under David Cutcliffe. After going 6-18 from 2010-11, the Blue Devils are 12-9 in their last 21 games. And Saturday’s win over Virginia Tech was the program’s first on the road over a ranked team since 1971.
Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
A tip of the cap needs to go to Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller, who recorded three picks in Saturday’s loss to Duke. However, this award should take permanent residence in Tallahassee this season. Winston did most of his damage in the first half against NC State and finished with 16 completions for 292 yards and three scores. The freshman tossed just two passes in the second half against the Wolfpack and has at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive games.
• Clemson running back Roderick McDowell rushed for 161 yards on 30 carries against Maryland. The 100-yard effort was his first since the season opener.
• In Saturday’s win at Virginia Tech, Duke did not convert a third down or complete a pass in the second half.
• Wake Forest freshman safety Ryan Janvion led the defense with 14 tackles in Saturday’s loss to Miami.
• Maryland linebacker Cole Farrand recorded 23 tackles in Saturday’s loss against Clemson.
• After missing five games due to a foot injury, quarterback Brandon Mitchell returned to the lineup for NC State. Mitchell completed 17 of 32 passes for 128 yards.
• Pittsburgh receiver Devin Street caught nine passes against Navy, giving him 186 career receptions. Street’s 186 career receptions are a school record.
• Freshman linebacker E.J. Levenberry led Florida State with eight tackles.
• Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins set a single-game school record with 14 catches in Saturday’s win over Maryland.
• Georgia Tech had three players – Zach Laskey, Robert Godhigh and David Sims – rush for 100 yards against Virginia.
• Florida State has averaged at least seven yards per play in every game this year.
• Duke did not complete a pass in the second half in Saturday’s 13-10 victory over Virginia Tech.
• Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro has three consecutive games of at least 10 catches.
• Pittsburgh’s defense allowed 17 points on Navy’s final three possessions, which was just enough for the Midshipmen to score a 24-21 upset.
• Virginia receivers Darius Jennings and Tim Smith became the first duo in school history to catch at least 10 passes in the same contest.