College Football Coverage: Clemson Passes The Kind Of Test It Needed To
TheSportsNotebook.com’s college football coverage has updated its BCS bowl projections following Week 4, with a special look at the chances of Fresno State rising out of the Mountain West. As part of a conference-by-conference wrap-up of the week, here’s a look at the ACC…
ACC: Clemson’s 26-14 win over N.C. State on the road Thursday night wasn’t anything that will win them plaudits from the media, nor is it one they will likely be pointing to at the end of the season if they’re pleading their case to play for a national title. But I was impressed, precisely because of those reasons.
This is the game we’ve been waiting on with the Tigers, where an opponent they should beat stepped up and gave them a tough game. The Wolfpack did that, keeping Tajh Boyd’s passing game mostly underneath and forcing Clemson to grind it out. There have been too many instances in the past where this team has folded in that spot. But Boyd played mistake-free football, the defense got the job done and Clemson gradually pulled away.
Another team to be impressed with was Georgia Tech, who took over the second half against North Carolina, turning a 20-14 halftime deficit into a 28-20 win. The normally productive Tar Heel passing game was disjointed, with Bryn Renner going 14/29 for 218 yards. If this game was going to be settled by a referendum on the running game, you knew it was going GT’s way.
This was a big divison win for Georgia Tech, who joins North Carolina and Virginia Tech in the role of challenger to Miami. And speaking of Virginia Tech, if a game could ever showcase their great defense/awful offense dichotomy, their triple-overtime win over Marshall was it.
The Hokie defense put the clamps on Marshall’s excellent quarterback, Rakeem Cato, who completed less than 50 percent of his throws and didn’t take off and make plays with his feet. But Logan Thomas could do nothing against a defense that’s notoriously bad in a conference that seems to have banned defense.
Then the teams went two overtimes with neither one scoring! How is that even possible? Virginia Tech escapes 29-21, its second straight win over a Conference USA contender.
Pitt and Duke are also in the ACC Coastal and they played a bizarre game, won by the Panthers 58-55. Tom Savage threw six touchdown passes, but the biggest difference in the game was that Duke counterpart Brandon Connette threw four interceptions to go with his four touchdowns. In either case, a disgraceful display of football from two schools who showed why their basketball teams have more renown.
Over on the Clemson-Florida State side of the conference, should we not sleep on Maryland? The Terps rolled to a 4-0 record by hammering woeful West Virginia 37-10, thanks to six turnovers from the Mountaineers.
Other post-Week 4 thoughts from the power conferences…
SEC: Alabama Fails To Impress Again
Pac-12: Stanford Flexes Its Muscle
Big 12: Texas Survives While Baylor Thrives
Big Ten: Weakness Keeps Showing