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Atlantic Coast Conference football team notes

Posted Saturday, September 6, 2008

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Atlantic division team notes

Boston College
Boston College, behind TBs Josh Haden and Jeff Smith who combined for 140 yards on 26 carries, displayed a strong running game against Kent State, rushing for 230 yards. Fifth-year senior QB Chris Crane made his starting debut a successful one, completing 12 of 18 passes for 106 yards and rushing for 47 yards and 2 TDs while committing no turnovers. The BC defense, led by LB Brian Toal--who was selected to the pre-season watch lists for the Bednarik and Nagurski Awards--held Kent State’s Eugene Jarvis, the nation’s leading returning rusher from last year, to just 51 yards on 11 carries and posted its fi rst shutout since 2006. Boston College did not allow Kent State inside of its own 45 yard line until the fourth quarter. LB Mark Herzlich--tabbed to the pre-season watch list for the Lott Trophy--led all Eagle tacklers with 8 hits and added a pass interception.

TB C. J. Spiller provided one of the few bright spots for Clemson in its 34-10 loss to Alabama, returning a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown against the Crimson Tide which trimmed the Tide lead to 23-10 on the opening play of the second half. The score was the third kickoff return, and longest, for a touchdown in Spiller’s career. He had two KO returns for TDs last year...Clemson QB Cullen Harper completed 20 of 34 passes for 188 yards. Harper and RB’s James Davis and C.J. Spiller fi nished 1-2-3 in the pre-season ballotting for ACC Player of the Year, the first three teammates to have done so. LB Kavell Conner led all tacklers with 16 hits. FS Michael Hamlin, named to the pre-season watch list for the Nagurski and Jim Thorpe Awards, had 13 tackles, as did S Craig Clemons. WR Aaron Kelly had 5 pass receptions, giving him 170 for his career, enough for 17th place on the ACC career reception list.

Florida State
The Seminoles were the only ACC team not be in action on the season’s first weekend, opening this week against Western Carolina. FSU has enjoyed 31 consecutive winning seasons under head coach Bobby Bowden. DB Myron Rolle was named to the pre-season watch lists for the Nagurski, the Bednarik, the Lott Trophy and the Jim Thorpe Award. QB Christian Ponder, a redshirt sophomore in eligibility, and Rolle, a true junior, have already earned their bachelor’s degree. DE Everette Brown was been tabbed to the pre-season watch lists for the Bednarik, Nagurski and Ted Hendricks Awards. Both QB Drew Weatherford and RB Antone Smith were named to the watch lists for the Maxwell Trophy. Weatherford led the
nation in 2007 in pass interception avoidance, throwing only 3 interceptions in 318 pass attempts. C Ryan McMahon was named to the watch list for the Rimington Award.

Maryland opened with a 14-7 win over Delaware, as the Terrapins outgained the Blue Hens in total yards 397-249. Soph TB Da’Rel Scott ran for 197 yards on just 26 carries, a 7.6 per-carry average. Scott’s total was most rushing yards by a Maryland player since 2003. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was named to the pre-season watch list for the Maxwell Trophy, scored a touchdown on a 12-yard reverse and had 4 catches for 70 yards. P Travis Baltz averaged 43.0 yards on 4 punts. LB Alex Wujciak led all Maryland tackles with 8 hits and blocked a Delaware FG attempt. Terrapin head coach Ralph Friedgen has recorded the 3rd-best start by a head coach in ACC history after his fi rst 7 seasons, posting a mark of 57-31, which is eclipsed only by former Terrapin head coach Jerry Claiborne and Clemson’s Danny Ford. C Edwin Williams was named to the watch list for the Rimington Award.

NC State
Despite a loss to South Carolina, sophomore LB Nate Irving led the Wolfpack with 11 total tackles , two tackles for loss and a pass interception...In all, State’s defense intercepted 4 passes against the Gamecocks including picks by Irving, freshman S Justin Byers, soph CB DeAndre Morgan and freshman FS Jimmaul Simmons...TB Andre Brown recorded the 6th 100-yard effort of his career, running for 101 yards on 21 carries... Brown now has 1,873 yards in his career and needs 48 yards to pass Vince Evans for 10th place on NC State’s career list...State is scheduled to host Florida State on Oct. 16 in a nationally-televised ESPN Thursday contest...Redshirt freshman QB Russell Wilson suffered a grade three concussion in the second quarter against USC and missed the remainder of the game...In his place, graduate student Daniel Evans, who started the fi nal 7 games at QB last fall, and junior QB Harrison Beck saw action against the Gamecocks. DE Willie Young had 1.5 QB Sacks against South Carolina.

Wake Forest
QB Riley Skinner completed 27 of 36 passes for 220 yards and 3 TDs in Wake’s 41-13 season-opening victory over Baylor. Skinner is currently the most accurate passer in ACC history, having completed 434 of 622 passes in his career, a .698 percentage. PK Sam Swank’s 2 FGs against Baylor gave him 62 for his career, moving him into 7th place on the ACC career list...Swank also averaged 39.2 on 4 punts, placing 2 inside Baylor’s 20-yard line...The Deacons, under Jim Grobe, have posted a 21-7 record the past two seasons...Wake features a lineup that includes the last two ACC Rookies of the Year in Skinner and TB Josh Adams. CB Alphonso Smith made the 15th interception of his career in the Baylor game, putting him in a tie for 13th place on the ACC career list. Smith and Chip Vaughn both were named to the watch lists for the Jim Thorpe Award. Smith and LB Aaron Curry were also named to the watch lists for the Nagurski and Bednarik Awards.

Coastal division team notes

With QB Thaddeus Lewis throwing for 141 yards and 2 TDs, The Blue Devils made the debut of new head coach David Cutcliffe a successful one, defeating James Madison, 31-7, in its season opener... The victory was the fi rst at home for Duke since 2005..Duke’s defense held JMU to just 239 total yards....TB Clifford Harris, who had 95 yards on 17 carries, led a rushing attack which totalled 218 yards--its highest total since 2006...LB Michael Tauiliili led the Blue Devil defense in tackles with 9 including one for loss and a forced fumble... DE Wesley Oglesby had a QB sack and two tackles for loss, while DE Greg Akinbiyi had 2 tackles for loss and 2 fumble recoveries...P Kevin Jones averaged 53.5 yards on 4 punts and leads the nation this week in punting... ...RB Re’quan Boyette, LB Vincent Rey, FB Tielor Robinson and LB Michael Tauiliili have been elected as team captains...Coming into the 2008 season, QB Lewis had thrown for more yards in his fi rst two seasons than all but three other players in ACC history--Philip Rivers (NCS), Drew Weatherford (FSU) and Charlie Whitehurst (Clemson).

Georgia Tech
New Head Coach Paul Johnson won his first game as Tech head coach, marking the third straight time he has won a debut game as Tech downed Jacksonville State, 41-14...Johnson had previously won his debut openers at Georgia Southern and Navy...Saturday marks his first ACC contest as Tech travels to Boston College...BBack Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 112 yards on only 11 carries including two TDs...It was the 2nd 100-yard effort of Dwyer’s career...Dwyer was named to the pre-season watch list for the Doak Walker Award...In all, Tech piled up 349 yards rushing against the Gamecocks...QB Josh Nesbitt, making his first career start , threw 87 yards and ran for 60 more and 2 TDs... DB Morgan Burnett had 2 INTs against Jacksonville State... Tech has two linemen, T Andrew Gardner, and DT Vance Walker, named to the pre-season watch list for the prestigious Outland Trophy. DE Michael Johnson was named to the pre-season list for the Ted Hendricks Award.

North Carolina
WR-KR Brandon Tate, already the ACC’s all-time leader in kickoff return yardage, recorded the second-highest total of allpurpose yardage in a single game in ACC history with 397 yards against McNeese State...Tate just missed the ACC all-time mark of 411 yards set in 1993 by John Leach of Wake Forest against Maryland...Leach set the record with 51 plays, while Tate needed just 11 touches for his total...Tate had an 82-yard punt return for a score, caught a 57-yard TD pass, added a 56-yard kickoff and was UNC’s leading rusher with 106 yards on only 3 carries on runs of 20, 32 and 54... Tate now has six returns for scores, 3 each by punt and kickoff return...WR Hakeem Nicks had 6 catches for 110 yards, the 6th 100-yard receiving game of his career. Sophomore LB Quan Sturdivant led all tackles with 11 hits, while DE E.J. Wilson had 8 tackles including 3 for loss...With 221 yards passing Soph QB T.J. Yates has now thrown for 2,876 yards in his career. UNC’s game Saturday was delayed 1:48 by lightening.

Virginia started sophomore QB Peter Lalich against 3rd-ranked Southern California on Saturday. The game was Lallich’s first start of his career...He completed 18 of 35 passes for 155 yards against the Trojans...The Cavaliers only return five starters on defense, but three of them are at linebacker where Antonio Appleby, Jon Copper and Clint Sintim have started 92 games between them..Copper led all tackles against USC with 11 and one pass breakup...Appleby had 8 tackles and a pass interception...Sintim, who has started 37 games, was named to the pre-season watch list for the Nagurski Award... TB Cedric Peerman, who missed the last the final six games last year with a foot injury, was the leading rusher in theACC at the time of his injury having topped 100-yards rushing in 3 games. He and his replacement, Mikell Simpson, combined for 1,155 yards rushing. T Eugene Monroe has been named to the pre-season watch list for the prestigious Outland Trophy.

Miami made its fi rst season-opener in its new home, Dolphin Stadium, a successful one, downing Charleston Southern, 52-7 as backup QB Jacory Harris completed 16 of 26 passes for 190 yards and a TD... He also added a 30-yard TD run...He was the fi rst freshman to start the season for UM at QB since Bernie Kosar opened the 1983 campaign...Sophomore RB Graig Cooper returned a punt 66 yards for a TD and also had a 14 yard TD run...RB Javarris James ran for 74 yards and a TD....Miami’s defense held Charleston Southern to 126 yards of total offense...11 different receivers caught passes for Miami.....Miami will be playing at Florida for the fi rst time since 2002... DE Eric Moncur was named to the pre-season watch list for the Hendricks Award, given to the nation’s top defensive end...13 of Miami’s 23 senior players in 2008 have already earned their degrees including returning starters Moncur, TE Chris Zellner and DT Joe Joseph.

Virginia Tech
When Virginia Tech DB Stephan Virgil scooped up an errant ECU lateral pass and returned it 30 yards for a TD, it marked the 76th return for a score by a Tech player since 1998. Virgil, making his first start, also returned a blocked PAT attempt 90 yards for a two-point defensive conversion later in the game. 41 percent of the of the members on the traveling roster for Virginia Tech Saturday were playing in their fi rst college football game. Senior LB Cam Martin led all Virginia Tech defenders with 11 tackles, including one for loss and a forced fumble. Junior G Sergio Render has been named to the pre-season watch list for the Outland Trophy. DB’s Victor Harris and Kam Chancellor were both named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award. The Hokies are one of only 3 teams nationally (USC, Texas) to have won 10 or more games in each of the past four seasons. Since 1995, only Ohio State (131) and Florida (128) have won more games than has Tech (126).

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