Atlantic Division members got off to a heated start with Louisville and Clemson fighting down to the wire and Florida State edging Boston College. After those weeknight bouts, the Coastal Division squared off with the Big Ten. While those at the top of our rankings did just enough to reaffirm their standing, others from the middle are making progress.
Movers and shakers
Boston College's offense took a huge blow losing quarterback Darius Wade for the season. Though the offense was held scoreless before Wade's departure, his replacements freshmen Jeff Smith and Troy Flutie weren't prepared for the Florida State defense. Like Louisville and Clemson, this game did little to separate the Atlantic Division's favorites with the contenders. Both teams showed signs of weakness, with Florida State's worrisome offensive line play and Boston College's poor offensive performance being the most glaring.
Louisville isn't going away without a fight. The Cardinals took Clemson down to the wire last Thursday night and if not for clock mismanagement, a bad snap, and various other miscues, they might have topped the Tigers. While sitting 0-3 on the year, the Cardinals have lost each matchup by a score of 7 points or less. More on Louisville and Clemson will be provided later in the week.
Marquise Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels had a big day against Illinois, winning 48-14 in Chapel Hill. Williams threw for 203 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception on 17 of 24 passing. Williams also had his biggest impact in the rushing game this season, running for 105 yards on 9 carries. Wide receiver Ryan Switzer ran back a punt return for an 85-yard score, while adding 50 yards on 3 catches in the receiving game. The defense, however, while successful in keeping points off the board, surrendered 399 total yards to the Fighting Illini.
Turnovers would be the Duke Blue Devils' downfall against the top-25 Northwestern Wildcats. With Northwestern ahead just 12-10 in the fourth quarter, Duke fumbled on a punt return and on the ensuing drive, a 55-yard rushing touchdown by Wildcats running back Warren Long sealed the Blue Devils' fate. More on the Duke Blue Devils will be provided later in the week.
While the Fighting Irish were able to slow the Georgia Tech option-attack, the Yellow Jacket defense could not stop Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise. Prosise rushed for a career-high 198 yards, most of which came in the second half, after rushing for a mere 21 yards in the first. Again, more on Georgia Tech will be provided later in the week.
The Virginia Tech Hokies upended the Purdue Boilermakers 51-24, pushing the Hokies to 2-1 on the year. Brenden Motley's maturation process continues to show mixed results as his 220 yards on 15 of 24 passing was met with three fumbles by the junior. As with the others, a more thorough examination of Miami's Coastal Division adversaries will be provided later in the week.
The Iowa Hawkeyes kicked a 52-yard field goal as time expired to move past the Pittsburgh Panthers. Panther quarterback Nathan Peterman took the reins from former starter Chad Voytik and showed better accuracy, throwing for 219 yards on 20 of 29 passing, but matched his two touchdowns with two interceptions. The Pitt rushing attack struggled against the Hawkeyes, with freshman backs Darrin Hall and Qadree Ollison mustering just 45 yards on 18 carries.
Without further ado, here are State of the U's ACC Power Rankings.
1st - Clemson Tigers (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Previous week: at Louisville Cardinals (0-3, ACC 0-1); Result: WIN 20-17
Next Opponent: BYE
2nd - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-0); Result: LOSS 30-22
Next Opponent: September 26th 12:00 PM ET at Duke Blue Devils (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
3rd - Florida State Seminoles (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Previous week: at Boston College Eagles (2-1, 0-1 ACC); Result: WIN 14-0
Next Opponent: BYE
4th - Miami Hurricanes (3-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-2); Result: WIN 36-33 OT
Next Opponent: BYE
5th - Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Purdue Boilermakers (1-2); Result: WIN 51-24
Next Opponent: September 26th 3:30 PM ET at East Carolina Pirates (1-2)
6th - Louisville Cardinals (0-3, 0-1 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Clemson Tigers (3-0, 0-1 ACC); Result: LOSS 20-17
Next Opponent: September 26th 6:00 PM ET vs. Samford Bulldogs (2-1)
7th - North Carolina Tar Heels (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (2-1); Result: WIN 48-14
Next Opponent: September 26th 12:30 PM ET vs. Delaware Blue Hens (1-2)
8th - Duke Blue Devils (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Northwestern Wildcats (3-0); Result: LOSS 19-10
Next Opponent: September 26th 12:00 PM ET vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
9th - Boston College Eagles (2-1, 0-1 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Florida State Seminoles (0-0, 0-0 ACC); Result: LOSS 14-0
Next Opponent: September 26th 1:00 PM ET vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (2-1)
10th - Syracuse Orange (3-0, 1-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (1-2); Result: WIN 30-27 OT
Next Opponent: September 26th 12:00 PM ET vs. LSU Tigers (2-0)
11th - N.C. State Wolfpack (3-0, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: at Old Dominion Monarchs (2-1); Result: WIN 38-14
Next Opponent: September 26th 8:00 PM ET at South Alabama Jaguars (2-1)
12th - Virginia Cavaliers (1-2, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: vs. William & Mary Tribe (1-1); Result: WIN 35-29
Next Opponent: Friday, September 25th 8:00 PM ET vs. Boise State Broncos (2-1)
13th - Pittsburgh Panthers (2-1, 0-0 ACC)
Previous week: at Iowa Hawkeyes (3-0); Result: LOSS 27-24
Next Opponent: BYE
14th - Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-1, 0-1 ACC)
Previous week: at Army Black Knights (0-3); Result: WIN 17-14
Next Opponent: September 26th 12:30 PM ET vs. Indiana Hoosiers (3-0)