After a 35-25 win over North Carolina, Florida State is on its bye week following two consecutive victories. Several other ACC teams join the ‘Noles on bye weeks, but a handful of teams remain in action or return to the field after bye weeks in Week 6.
Below, I dove into the slate of games across the conference this weekend.
Syracuse (3-3) vs. Clemson (3-2) - Friday, 7 p.m.
Syracuse dropped a 40-37 (OT) heartbreaker to Wake Forest last week in the Carrier Dome. The tandem of quarterback Garrett Shrader and running back Sean Tucker combined for 331 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the loss.
As an unranked team, Clemson is in unfamiliar territory. It didn’t look pretty Oct. 2, but the Tigers went into Chestnut Hill and defeated Boston College 19-13. After two weeks off, look for offensive coordinator Tony Elliot to get quarterback D.J Uiagalelei in a groove early on with short, easy completions. Head Coach Dabo Swinney has been in the Tigers’ ear for two weeks about the national rankings, so I’m sure they will come out motivated against the Orange.
Boston College (4-1) vs. #22 NC State (4-1) - Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Under head coach Jeff Hafley, Boston College is competitive week in and week out. As I mentioned above, the Eagles fell to Clemson 19-13 in its last game. The offense mustered up just 43 rushing yards, and went 5-for-15 on third downs.
The Wolfpack are on a crash course with #19 Wake Forest, with both teams set to face off Nov. 13 in Winston-Salem. However, NC State has endured a couple of close calls, with their last win coming Oct. 2 against Louisiana Tech 34-27. Quarterback Devin Leary will have his work cut out for him against an Eagles pass defense allowing just under 194 passing yards per contest.
When these two last met in 2019, Boston College defeated the Wolfpack 45-24.
Virginia (4-2) vs. Duke (3-3) - Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
For the Cavaliers, every game matters going forward if they want to reach Charlotte for the ACC Championship. Last Saturday, Virginia escaped Louisville 34-33 on a game-clinching 1-yard pass from quarterback Brennan Armstrong to tight end Grant Misch with 22 seconds left. With a stretch of #19 BYU, #14 Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech looming, the Cavaliers can’t look past the Blue Devils, or else they’ll find themselves behind the eight ball for the Coastal.
Duke could be on the verge of going winless in ACC play after a 31-27 loss to Georgia Tech last Saturday, The Yellow Jackets were the best chance Duke had at a conference win, but that doesn’t mean they should be counted out yet. Running back Mateo Durant turned 43 carries into 152 yards last week, and has recorded four consecutive games over 100 rushing yards.
North Carolina (3-3) vs. Miami (2-3) - Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
After a home loss to Florida State, North Carolina has dropped two of its last three games. In last year's 62-26 win over Miami, the Tar Heels rushed for 554 yards. Quarterback Sam Howell, who has struggled at times this season, could be in for a big statistical day against a shaky Hurricanes secondary. Overall, the Tar Heels offense is in a favorable spot to bounce back after a pedestrian performance a week ago.
Quarterback D’Eriq King will miss the remainder of the season after knee surgery, so Tyler Van Dyke will be the guy for Miami moving forward. Van Dyke threw for 203 yards on 15-for-29 passing for one touchdown in the 30-28 loss to Virginia Sept. 30. Head Coach Manny Diaz is on the hot-seat, and if they suffer an ugly loss to the Tar Heels, the pressure on Diaz will only mount.
Pittsburgh (4-1) vs. Virginia Tech (3-2) - Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
After their bye week, the Panthers return to action in a pivotal divisional matchup. Quarterback Kenny Pickett has thrown for 1,731 yards and 19 touchdowns to just one interception. The Panthers are averaging 52.4 points per game, paced by their 558 yards of total offense per game.
Virginia Tech did everything but win in its 32-29 loss to #14 Notre Dame Saturday. Luckily for the Hokies, their hopes for a trip to Charlotte are not over yet. They still have an opportunity to win the Coastal, but they’re in a must-win position against Pittsburgh Saturday. Pittsburgh defeated Virginia Tech 47-14 in 2020.
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