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ACC Football This Week - 10/23/04

Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2004

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Four head-to-head conference matchups highlight this week's action.

ACColades: Four conference games - Maryland at Clemson, Virginia at Duke, Florida State at Wake Forest, Miami at NC State - comprise Week 8 schedule ... four ACC teams - Miami, Florida State, Virginia and Virginia Tech - ranked in weekly polls ... Hurricanes have won nine in a row and have been ranked in the Top 5 of the AP poll in 59 of the last 70 polls ... NC State leads the nation in total defense (203.7) and heads up a list of six ACC teams ranked in the top 16 in total defense nationally ... Miami's Devin Hester leads the nation in punt returns (32.3) and has returned three punts for touchdowns ... Maryland's Nick Novak (371) is the ACC's all-time leading scorer while Florida State's Xavier Beitia (346) is fourth ... Maryland's Steve Suter is the ACC career leader in punt return yardage (1,222) ... Wake Forest's Ryan Plackemeier is the ACC career leader in punting average (45.2) ... ACC teams are 21-8 in non-conference play and are averaging 57,281 in per game attendance.


Clemson: Reggie Merriweather ran for 84 yards and two TDs as the Tigers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 35-6 victory over Utah State ... Clemson had 11 sacks, the most in a game in coach Tommy Bowden's six seasons, and held Utah State to -20 yards rushing ... QB Charlie Whitehurst is 18th on the ACC career passing list (6,303) and 20th in total offense (6,392) ... Justin Miller is 2nd nationally in kickoff returns (34.3) and 10th in punt returns (16.2) and is averaging 118.5 yards per game in return yardage ... WR Airese Currie leads the ACC in receptions (5.8) and receiving yardage (75.3)

Duke: The Blue Devils are tied with Virginia Tech for the lead in the ACC, and are 16th nationally, forcing 16 turnovers ... Duke is also tied with the Hokies for the ACC lead in interceptions with 10 ... over the last nine games the Blue Devils have forced 25 turnovers ...Duke ranks 17th nationally in kickoff coverage, allowing a league-low 17.2 yards per return ... sophomore CB John Talley leads the ACC and is fifth nationally with four interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns ... freshman Chris Davis is second in the ACC and fifth nationally in kickoff returns (31.3).

Florida State: In FSU's current five-game win streak, tailbacks Leon Washington (115.0) and Lorenzo Booker (91.0) have combined to rush for 206.0 yards per game and 6.8 yards per carry ... Washington is second in the ACC in rushing (101.5) while Booker, who had a career-high 123 yards on 15 carries in Saturday's win over Virginia, is sixth (82.3) ... over the last five games, FSU has out-rushed its opponents by 179.4 yards per game (227.2 to 47.8) ... Xavier Beitia has made 63 straight PATs ... in his first three career starts, QB Wyatt Sexton has completed 66 percent of his passes (55-of-83) for 637 yards and four TDs.

Georgia Tech: P.J. Daniels rushed for 114 yards and threw the first TD pass of his career in Saturday's 24-7 win over Duke ... Daniels now has 2,231 career rushing yards and needs only 44 yards to move into sixth on Tech's career rushing list ... over the last two games, the Tech defense has allowed only 265 yards of total offense and improved its ranking from 64th (366.5) in the nation to 18th (288.0) ... after recording only three sacks in the first three games, Tech has totaled 17 in the last three games, including 12 in the last two ... QB Reggie Ball is eighth on Tech's career passing list with 3,011 yards.

Maryland: Senior PK Nick Novak is the ACC's all-time leading scorer and the leading active scorer in Division I-A with 371 points ... Steve Suter is the ACC's all-time leader in punt return yardage (1,222) ... Adam Podlesh is fifth nationally in punting (45.7) and the Terps lead Division I-A in net punting (43.3) ... junior DE Shawne Merriman had a career-high 16 tackles, including nine solo efforts, against NC State Saturday ... Merriman is tied for second in the ACC in tackles for loss (1.67) ... Saturday's attendance of 52,179 was the eighth-largest crowd in Byrd Stadium history.

Miami: Brock Berlin completed 25 of 37 passes for 308 yards and three TDs in Thursday's 41-38 come from behind win over Louisville ... Larry Coker is 40-3 (.930) in his four seasons with the Hurricanes ... sophomore Devin Hester has returned three punts for TDs this season and leads the nation in punt return average (32.3) ... the Hurricanes have been ranked in the Top 5 in 59 of the last 70 AP polls and in the Top 10 in 72 of the last 77 weekly rankings ... since 1990, Miami is 40-25 (.615) against AP-ranked opponents ... since 1983, the Hurricanes are 173-15 when scoring first.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels' first seven opponents are a combined 33-8 (.805) on the season ... Jarwarski Pollock had six catches against Utah Saturday and has at least one reception in 30 straight games ... Pollock has had three or more receptions in 22 of his last 30 games and is sixth among UNC career reception leaders (130) ... Darian Durant is ninth in ACC career total offense (8,429) and 11th in passing yardage (7,666) ... tailback Jacque Lewis leads the team in rushing with 501 yards and is averaging 7.1 yards per carry ... the Tar Heels lead the ACC and are fourth nationally in fewest yards penalized (34.1).

NC State: NC State yielded only five first downs and 91 total yards in Saturday's 13-3 victory over Maryland, snapping a four-game losing streak to the Terps ... the Wolfpack lead the nation in total defense (203.7) and passing defense (97.5) and have limited four of their first six opponents to under 75 yards passing ... T.A. McLendon is third in the ACC in rushing (90.4) ... McLendon is ninth on the NC State career rushing list with 2,161 yards ... over his last three games, junior QB Jay Davis has thrown for 725 yards and one TD ... NC State has allowed only 3.4 yards per play this season, the top figure in the nation.

Virginia: Junior TE Heath Miller had nine receptions for 110 yards against Florida State Saturday ... Miller is tied for fourth in the ACC in receptions (3.8) and is seventh in receiving yardage (53.0) ... Wali Lundy is fifth in the ACC in rushing (86.0) and is eighth among UVa career rushing leaders with 2,271 yards ... QB Marques Hagans leads the ACC and is ninth nationally in passing efficiency (159.1) ... Hagans has thrown only three interceptions in 178 career passing attempts ... Marquis Weeks is seventh nationally in kickoff returns (30.6) while Wali Lundy is 11th in scoring (10.0).

Virginia Tech: QB Bryan Randall threw four touchdown passes in the first half as the Hokies ran their win streak to three in a row Saturday defeating visiting Florida A&M 62-0 ... since the start of the 1993 season, Virginia Tech is 48-8 in games it scores at least one TD on defense or special teams ... Brandon Pace has made 14 of 18 field goal attempts this season and leads the nation in field goals per game (2.0) ... the Hokies are third in the ACC and seventh nationally in total defense, yielding 265.4 yards per game ... Tech is averaging 20.6 first downs per game and is first in the ACC in red zone defense (41.7).

Wake Forest: LB Jonathan Abbate leads all ACC freshmen in tackles (8.7) ... tailback Chris Barclay is fourth in the ACC in rushing (86.7) and is sixth among school career rushing leaders with 2,415 yards ... QB Cory Randolph has thrown only two interceptions in his last 178 pass attempts over his last 11 games ... P Ryan Plackemeier leads the ACC and is third nationally in punting (46.7) ... the Deacs lead the ACC in third down conversion percentage (51.6) ... more than half of the games in Grobe's four years at Wake Forest (22 of 42) have been decided by a touchdown or less ... the Deacons are second in the ACC in red zone defense (59.1).

GAME PREVIEWS - Saturday, October 23

Maryland (3-3, 1-2 ACC) at Clemson (2-4, 1-3 ACC)
JP; 12:00 p.m.
Memorial Stadium (81,474)

THE GAME: Maryland's Terrapins travel to Memorial Stadium to take on Clemson's Tigers in the Jefferson Pilot/Raycom ACC Game of the Week. Clemson leads the all-time series 27-23-2 and holds the upper hand at home with an overall mark of 15-11-0. Maryland enters Saturday's game with a three game winning streak including a 30-12 win in Death Valley in 2002. The Tigers had won eight in a row from 1993 to 2000, Clemson's longest winning streak during the all-time series. Clemson has won 13 of the last 17 games including eight of the last nine played in "Death Valley".

LAST TIME OUT: Last year, Scott McBrien threw three TD passes and Maryland's defense held Clemson scoreless in the second half as the Terrapins downed the Tigers 21-7. The Terrapins' Josh Allen rushed for 65 yards on 16 carries leading the Maryland ground attack that gained 159 yards, compared to just 10 for the Tigers. Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst was 22-of-45 for 320 yards, including a 70-yard TD pass to Derrick Hamilton. Defensively, Clemson's Leroy Hill and Maryland's D'Qwell Jackson tallied 12 and 10 tackles, respectively.

THE COACHES: Ralph Friedgen is 34-11 in his fourth season at Maryland. Tommy Bowden is 40-28 in six seasons at Clemson and 58-32 in eight years overall.


Since 1992, a 12 game span, the team who has won has held the rushing advantage. In Clemson's eight wins during that span, the Tigers are averaging 261.4 yards on the ground, while the Terrapins have averaged 213.8 yards in their four wins.

Saturday's game will feature a pair of kick return specialists in Clemson's Justin Miller and Maryland's Steve Suter. Miller leads the ACC and is second in the nation in kick return average tallying 34.3 yards a return with a league high two TDs. Suter has registered an average of 26.9 yards a return in 2004, good for fourth in the ACC and 18th nationally.

Maryland has posted a net punting average of 43.3 yards a kick which currently leads the nation. Sophomore punter Adam Podlesh has accumulated 45.6 yards a punt and established a new career-long of 70 yards against NC State last weekend.

Clemson's Airese Currie leads the conference in receptions (5.83) and receiving yards (75.3) per game. Currie has led the Tigers in receptions in four of six games this season.
#14 Virginia (5-1, 2-1 ACC) at Duke (1-5, 0-3 ACC)
1:00 p.m.
Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941)

THE GAME: Duke welcomes the 14th-ranked Cavaliers to Wallace Wade Stadium this weekend for the 56th meeting between both teams in a series dating back to 1890. Virginia has won the last four meetings between the two teams to take a 28-27 lead in a series that started back in 1890. Duke is 14-10 lifetime against Virginia at home. The Blue Devils last win over the Cavaliers came in Charlottesville in 1999, a 24-17 win in overtime.

LAST TIME OUT: In the opening game of the 2003 season for both teams, Virginia defeated Duke 27-0 in Charlottesville. Wali Lundy tallied 88 rushing yards and Alvin Pearman posted 68 yards on the ground as the Cavaliers outrushed the Blue Devils 204-152. TE Heath Miller led all receivers with five receptions and 52 yards including a nine-yard TD pass from UVa's Anthony Martinez. Duke QB Mike Schneider completed 5 of 9 passes for 73 yards while Chris Douglas gained 89 yards on the ground on 19 carries to lead the Blue Devils.

THE COACHES: Virginia head coach Al Groh is 27-18 in his fourth year at Virginia, and 53-58 in 10 seasons overall. Ted Roof is in his first full season as head coach of the Duke Blue Devils with an overall mark of 3-8.


Duke's John Talley intercepted a Reggie Ball pass last weekend against Georgia Tech for his league leading fourth interception of the season. Talley has now doubled his interception total from a year ago and has six for his career. The Blue Devils have recorded ten interceptions in 2004, tied for the league lead.

Virginia's Heath Miller registered his third career 100-yard receiving game and first of the season last weekend against Florida State when he posted nine catches for 110 yards. Miller is tied for fourth in the ACC in receptions per game (3.83) and seventh in receiving yards per game (53.0).

The Blue Devils rank fourth in the conference averaging 22.6 yards in kickoff returns. Freshman Chris Davis is leading the way for the Blue Devils in this category posting 31.3 yards a return. Davis sits second in the ACC and fifth nationally.

The Cavaliers lead the ACC in all five offensive categories and is ranked in the top 15 nationally in four including total offense (11th), scoring (12th) and rushing (13th) offense and pass efficiency (14th).
#5 Florida State (5-1, 3-1 ACC) at Wake Forest (3-3, 0-3 ACC)
ABC; 3:30 p.m.
Groves Stadium (31,500)

THE GAME: Florida State and Wake Forest will meet for the 23rd time Saturday as the fifth-ranked Seminoles visit Groves Stadium for just the sixth time overall. The Demon Deacons are seeking its first win against the Seminoles since Florida State entered the league prior to the 1992 season. Florida State leads the all-time series 19-2-1 and is 3-2 in games played in Winston-Salem. Wake Forest last defeated Florida State back in 1973, a 9-7 win at Groves Stadium.

LAST TIME OUT: Last year, Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden became the winningest football coach in NCAA history as he notched victory number 339 in leading the Seminoles to a 48-24 victory over the Demon Deacons. FSU QB Chris Rix threw for 339 yards and two TDs and ran for another, while the Seminole defense held Wake Forest to just 96 yards passing. Cornelius Birgs rushed for 70 yards on 14 carries and Cory Randolph and Chris Barclay each registered 50 yards on the ground to lead a Wake Forest rushing attack that pounded out 230 yards in the loss.

THE COACHES: Bobby Bowden is 274-68-4 in 28 years at FSU and 347-100-4 in 38 seasons overall. Jim Grobe is 21-21 in three seasons at Wake Forest and 54-54-1 in nine years combined.


Florida State's Lorenzo Booker rushed for a career-high 123 yards including two TDs in the Seminoles win against Virginia last weekend. Booker is averaging 5.5 yards a carry and sits sixth in the ACC with 82.3 rushing yards a game.

Wake Forest sits second in the ACC in rushing and total offense averaging 221.7 and 399.0 yards per game, respectively. Chris Barclay has registered four rushing TDs and leads the Demon Deacons, fourth in the ACC, in rushing yards per game at 86.7. Micah Andrews has posted five rushing TDs.

The Seminoles currently lead the nation in rushing defense allowing only 58.0 yards a game while holding the opposition to just 1.9 yards per carry. Florida State has held the opposition under 100 rushing yards in four of six games this season including a season low -24 yards against UAB.

LB Jonathan Abbate leads all freshmen and is seventh in the league in tackles averaging 8.7 a game. Abbate has garnered 52 tackles, a forced fumble and one interception to lead the Wake Forest defense in 2004.
#3 Miami (5-0, 2-0 ACC) at NC State (4-2, 3-1 ACC)
ESPN; 7:45
Carter-Finley Stadium (53,800)

THE GAME: Miami's third-ranked Hurricanes will make just their second trip to Raleigh and their first appearance at Carter-Finley Stadium in this the 11th meeting between the Hurricanes and the NC State Wolfpack. Miami leads the overall series 6-3-1 and won the only game played in Raleigh back in 1981. The Hurricanes have won three in a row in the series. NC State last defeated the Hurricanes back in 1971, a 13-7 win in Miami. Through ten games, Miami and NC State have averaged 18.6 and 10.1 points per game, respectively.

LAST TIME OUT: NC State and Miami last met in the 1998 Micron PC Bowl at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Fla. Both teams combined for 1092 yards of total offense and 69 points as the Hurricanes scored 20 first quarter points en route to a 46-23 victory. Miami QB Scott Covington was 17-of-24 for 320 yards and two TD's and Edgerrin James led the ground attack with 156 yards on 20 carries and a pair of TD runs. The Wolfpack's Rahshon Spikes grounded out a game-high 176 rushing yards including a 30-yard TD score to lead NC State.

THE COACHES: Larry Coker is 40-3 in his fourth season as head coach of the Miami Hurricanes. NC State head coach Chuck Amato is in his fifth year at the helm of the Wolfpack having compiled an overall record of 38-19.


Sophomore Devin Hester recorded his third punt return for a TD last Thursday night in Miami's 41-38 win over Louisville. Hester returned a fourth quarter punt 78 yards to give the Hurricanes a 34-31 lead. Hester is one shy of tying the ACC mark of four punt returns for a TD in single season set by Steve Suter of Maryland in 2002.

NC State leads the nation in total defense allowing just 203.7 yards a game including a league leading 3.4 yards a play. The Wolfpack held Maryland to 91 yards of total offense, 24 yards passing, in last weekend's 13-3 win in College Park.

Miami's Greg Threat and Roger McIntosh lead the Hurricanes and are tied for 5th in the conference averaging 8.8 tackles a game. Both have tallied 44 tackles on the season.

Wolfpack QB Jay Davis threw for 208 yards last weekend, his third straight 200-yard passing game of the season. Against Maryland last weekend, Davis was 7-of-13 for 108 yards on third down conversions.
By the Numbers:

3.38 - NCAA-best defensive per play average allowed by NC State ... the Wolfpack lead the nation in total defense (203.7) ... Florida State was the last ACC team to lead the nation in total defense, allowing 214.8 yards per game in 1998.

4 - Interceptions by Duke sophomore John Talley ... Talley leads the ACC and is fifth nationally in interceptions per game (0.67) and is bidding to become the first Blue Devil to lead the ACC in interceptions since Dennis Tabron did so in 1980.

11 - Quarterback sacks by Clemson in Saturday's 35-6 win over Utah State.

12 - ACC teams have returned 12 punts and kickoffs for touchdowns in 2004 ... the ACC is tied with Conference USA for the most touchdowns by kickoff or punt returns.

14 - Field goals made by Virginia Tech's Brandon Pace in 18 attempts in 2004 ... Pace is tied for the lead nationally in field goals made per game (2.0)

5.8 - Clemson senior wide receiver Airese Currie leads the ACC in receptions (5.8) and receiving yardage (75.3) ... Currie is bidding to become the first Clemson player to lead the ACC in receptions since Perry Tuttle did so in 1980.

30.9 - ACC-best career kickoff return average by Clemson junior Justin Miller ... Miller has 46 career kickoff returns for 1,422 yards and three touchdowns.

32.3 - ACC-leading punt return average of Miami sophomore Devin Hester ... Hester has 291 yards, and three touchdowns, on nine returns.

40 - Wins by Miami head coach Larry Coker in his first 43 games as head coach of the Hurricanes ... Coker is one win shy of tying Walter Camp for the most wins by a head coach in his first three years ... Camp was 41-2 in from 1888-to-1890 at Yale.

45.2 - Wake Forest's Ryan Plackemeier is the ACC's all-time punting leader with a 45.2 yards per punt average.

63 - Consecutive PATs by Florida State placekicker Xavier Beitia ... the ACC record is 160 set by Georgia Tech's Luke Manget (1999-02) ... Beitia is second on the ACC career scoring list with 346 points.

154.3 - Career passing efficiency rating of Virginia junior quarterback Marques Hagans.

172.3 - Per game rushing average by the 11 ACC teams in 2004 ... the ACC ranks second to the Big 12 in rushing yards per game.

179.4 - Florida State has out-rushed its last five opponents by 179.4 yards per game.

206.0 - Per game rushing average of Florida State's Leon Washington (115.0) and Lorenzo Booker (91.0) over the last five games.

371 - Career points by Maryland`s Nick Novak ... Novak is the ACC's all-time leading scorer and is tied for 14th on the NCAA's career scoring list.

1,222 - ACC-best career punt return yardage by Maryland's Steve Suter.

3,835 - Virginia's Alvin Pearman is currently 10th among NCAA active career all-purpose yardage leaders with 3,835 yards. Teammate Wali Lundy is 19th with 3,489 yards while Maryland's Steve Suter (3,474) is 20th.

57,281 - Per game attendance average by the ACC through the first seven weeks of the season ... the ACC per game attendance record is 51,842 set in the 2003 season.

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ACC Football This Week - 10/23/04
Duke will meet Virginia this weekend
photo by Gene Galin

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