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ACC Football This Week

Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2008

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Georgia Tech, which begins the Paul Johnson Era on The Flats against Jacksonville State, and Miami, which hosts Charleston Southern in its first home game in Dolphin Stadium, get a jump on everyone with 7:30 pm kickoffs (ESPN 360) on Thursday. NC State (ESPN), which travels to South Carolina, and Wake Forest, (Fox Sports Net), which journeys to Baylor, follow a half hour later in a pair of nationally- televised games at 8 p.m.

Thursday, August 28
Jacksonville State (0-0, 0-0 OVC)
at Georgia Tech (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
7:30 pm; ESPN 360
Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000)

The Series: First Meeting

The Coaches: Jack Crowe: 49-39-0 (8th season) at JSU; 63-69-0 (10th season) overall
Paul Johnson: 0-0-0 (1st season) at GT; 107-39-0 (12th season) overall

Game Preview: Georgia Tech will open the 2008 season at Bobby Dodd Stadium with an entirely different look, including a new head coach in Paul Johnson...The Yellow Jackets welcome Jacksonville State of the Ohio Valley Conference for a 7:30 contest on ESPN 360, Thursday, Aug. 28...Johnson, who spent the last six seasons at Navy, was named the Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year in 2004 after leading the Midshipmen to a 10-2 record...In addition, the Western Carolina graduate helped Navy score 30-plus points in each of his fi nal six games in Annapolis... Tech enters this season picked fourth in the Coastal Division in the recent ACC predictions... Gone from last year's 7-6 team (4-4 ACC) are 14 starters, including the ACC's two-time leading rusher in Tashard Choice, and perhaps the best kicker-punter duo in Georgia Tech history ­ K Travis Bell, who was the second-leading scorer in school history, and P Durant Brooks, who was the 2007 Ray Guy Award winner...However, GT has 50 returning letterwinners and eight starters, including OT Andrew Gardner and DT Vance Walker ­ both were fi rst team All-ACC selections in 2007...Picked to win the nine-member OVC league, JSU claimed the 2003 and 2004 OVC Championships and were tabbed as the favorites for the second time in history (2005)...The Gamecocks return six offensive and six defensive starters this season, while all eyes will be on QB Ryan Perrilloux, who transferred from LSU following the 2007 season and was named the MVP of the SEC Championship game last year.

Thursday, August 28
Charleston Southern (0-0, 0-0 Big South)
at Miami (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
7:30 pm; ESPN 360
Dolphin Stadium (74,916)

The Series: First Meeting

The Coaches: Jay Mills: 27-28-0 (5th season) at CSU; 30-49-0 (8th season) overall
Randy Shannon: 5-7-0 (2nd season) at UM; 5-7-0 (2nd season) overall

Game Preview: Playing its home games in Dolphin Stadium for the fi rst time in school history after 71 years in the Orange Bowl, Miami welcomes Big South's Charleston Southern on Thursday, Aug. 28 to kickoff the 2008 season...The Hurricanes' new home has been the host of four Super Bowls, two BCS National Championships as well as the annual FedEx Orange Bowl...Second-year head coach Randy Shannon, who has recruited extremely well in each of his fi rst two years, welcomes back 11 starters from last year...According to, his 2008 recruiting class was rated the top recruiting class in the nation...Redshirt freshman Robert Marve, who broke all of Tim Tebow's high school records in Florida, was named the starter for the season, but will miss the contest with Charleston Southern due to disciplinary reasons...In his place, true freshman Jacory Harris will start at QB for Miami...Offensively, RBs Javarris James and Graig Cooper, who combined for 1,264 yards and eight touchdowns last year, return as do starting tackles Jason Fox and Reggie Youngblood, and TE Chris Zellner...Defensively, Miami is led by DE Eric Moncur and LB Colin McCarthy, who ranked 8th in the ACC in tackles for loss last season...Highlighting the Buccaneers' 31 letterwinners and 18 starters returning is WR Dee Brown, who made an immediate impact on the program last year earning 1st-team league honors...In addition, Brown led CSU with 69 receptions, tallying almost 900 (898) yards and nine touchdowns...Also uncertain at the QB spot, Tribble Reese, who transferred to Charleston Southern from Clemson for his senior season will
try to beat out JC transfer A.J. Toscano and RS freshman Gabe Gilmour.

Thursday, August 28
NC State (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
at South Carolina (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
8:00 pm; ESPN
Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)

The Series:
NC State leads 26-25-4
South Carolina leads 18-9-1 in Columbia, S.C.

The Coaches: Tom O'Brien: 5-7-0 (2nd season) at NCS; 81-52-0 (12th season) overall
Steve Spurrier: 21-16-0 (4th season) at USC; 163-56-2 (19th season) overall

Game Preview: NC State and South Carolina will rekindle a 55-game rivalry that spans over 100 years with a Thursday night contest on Aug. 28...The squads, which haven't faced in nine years, will kickoff the 2008 season at 8 p.m. in Columbia, S.C., in front of a nationally-televised ESPN audience...In his second year leading the Pack, head coach Tom O'Brien welcomes back 11 starters, including six on offense, highlighted by RB Jamelle Eugene, who ran for 667 yards and started the fi nal seven games of 2007, and QB Daniel Evans, who threw for 1,572 yards and nine TDs in his final six games...Despite Evans playing hurt much of last year, he is healthy after an off-season surgery...The Gamecocks return 53 letterwinners and 17 starters from a squad that finished 6-6 overall and tied for fourth in the SEC East...USC looks to bounce back after posting a 2007 season-ending fi ve-game losing streak...The biggest question for the Gamecocks this season will be replacing QB Blake Mitchell.

Last Time Out: The last time NC State and South Carolina met was the 1999 season opener in Raleigh, N.C., for Lou Holtz's USC debut...The Wolfpack won, 10-0, in tropical storm conditions... In that year, State, under the direction of Mike O'Cain, brought back the tradition of the red helmets which were worn for most of the fi rst century of Wolfpack football...The remnants of Tropical Storm Dennis dumped nearly three inches of rain on the fi eld during the course of the game and included wind gusts of 30 miles an hour...The Wolfpack won the game despite gaining only 96 yards in total offense, thanks to a fourth-quarter blocked punt by DB Brian Williams that WR Koren Robinson recovered for a TD.

Thursday, August 28
#23 Wake Forest (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
at Baylor (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
8:00 pm; FSN
Floyd Casey Stadium (50,000)

The Series:
Baylor leads 4-0
Baylor leads 3-0 in Waco, Texas

The Coaches: Jim Grobe: 46-39-0 (8th season) at WF; 79-72-1 (14th season) overall
Art Briles: 0-0-0 (1st season) at BU; 34-28-0 (6th season) overall

Game Preview: Wake Forest opens the 2008 season challenging Big 12's Baylor University for the fi rst time since 1961, which was also the season opener...The Demon Deacons travel to Waco, Texas, to face the Bears, who are led by fi rst-year coach Art Briles...The Thursday night match-up at Floyd Casey Stadium will be telecast on FSN nationally at 8 p.m. ET...Jim Grobe returns 16 starters from last year's 9-4 team that tied for second in the ACC's Atlantic Division, including nine starters on defense and fi ve on offense...Wake, which looks for its first win over Baylor in the four-game history, has won 20 games in the last two seasons, a mark that only 17 other schools across the country can boast...QB Riley Skinner highlights the Deacs returnees as the redshirt junior completed 236 passes in 326 attempts in 2007 and enters the upcoming season second on the NCAA's active list of career leaders for passing percentage (69.5)...BU's Briles, who inherited a Houston program that was just two years removed from an 0-11 season and won just eight games from 2000 to 2003, posted a 34-28 record with the Cougars and guided them to four bowl games.

Last Time Out: Baylor defeated Wake Forest 31-0 in the 1961 season opener for both teams... The Bears, who were members of the Southwest Conference at that time, went on to post a 6-5 record that season and a 24-9 victory over Utah State in the Gotham Bowl, which was played at the Polo Grounds in New York City.

Saturday, August 30
Boston College (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
at Kent State (0-0, 0-0 Mid-American)
7:30 pm; ESPNU
Cleveland Browns Stadium (73,200)

The Series: First meeting

The Coaches: Jeff Jagodzinski: 11-3-0 (2nd season) at BC; 11-3-0 (2nd season) overall
Doug Martin: 15-31-0 (5th season) at KSU; 15-31-0 (5th season) overall

Game Preview: Boston College opens the 2008 season on Saturday, Aug. 30 in Cleveland Browns Stadium against Kent State in the second annual FirstMerit Patriot Bowl...The game will air live on ESPNU and is slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff...BC head coach Jeff Jagodzinski, who set a record among rookie ACC coaches with 11 victories, welcomes back 10 2007 starters and two 2006 starters who missed all of last season, among 40 returning lettermen...The Eagles' 11-win campaign last year marked only the second time in school history that the Eagles have won as many games in a season...BC returns six starters from a defensive unit that led the ACC and was second nationally in rushing defense, yielding 75.5 yards per game - the Eagles' lowest per game average since a 70.3 mark in 1990...However, BC has to overcome the loss of Matt Ryan, the first QB picked in the 2008 NFL draft...Fifth-year senior Chris Crane is expected to start at QB for the Eagles...Kent State junior RB Eugene Jarvis returns as the nation's leading rusher after gaining a school-record 1,669 yards on the ground in 2007, shattering the old mark by more than 300 yards...Jarvis, who is one of 14 starters for the Flashers, was named to the 2008 Watch List for the Maxwell Award...On the defensive side, LB Derek Burrell anchors a KSU unit that returns seven starters from last year's squad.

Saturday, August 30
James Madison (0-0, 0-0 CAA)
at Duke (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
7:00 pm
Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941)

The Series: First Meeting

The Coaches: Mickey Matthews: 64-44-0 (11th season) at JMU; 64-44-0 (11th season) overall
David Cutcliffe: 0-0-0 (1st season) at DU; 44-29-0 (7th season) overall

Game Preview: The David Cutcliffe Era begins at Duke Saturday, Aug. 30, as the Blue Devils welcome the James Madison Dukes to Wallace Wade Stadium...Cutcliffe, who led Mississippi
to a 44-29 mark as head coach during his seven seasons in Oxford, comes to Duke after a year as offensive coordinator at Tennessee...He welcomes back 51 returning lettermen including 19 starters--the most in the ACC--led by QB Thaddeus Lewis and WR Eron Riley on offense and LB's Michael Tauiliili and Vincent Rey on defense...Lewis fi nished fourth in the ACC in passing, sixth in passing effi ciency and total offense in passing last fall...Riley led the league in yardage per reception, taking each of his 40 catches an average of 20.8 yards with 9 TD receptions...Tauiliili is the ACC's leading active career tackler with 294 career hits...JMU, which is coming off an 8-4 record and a berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs last year, returns 15 starters including TB Eugene Hollomon, a 2006 All-Colonial Conference performer, who missed all but two games of 2007 with a knee injury...Listed as a preseason favorite to be among the top FCS teams this year, JMU is ranked No. 1 in their division by the Phil Steele Football Review.

Saturday, August 30
Alabama (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
vs. Clemson (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
8:00 pm; ABC
Georgia Dome (71,250)

The Series:
Alabama leads 11-3
Clemson leads 3-2 in neutral site games

The Coaches: Nick Saban: 7-6-0 (2nd season) at UA; 113-65-1 (15th season) overall
Tommy Bowden: 69-42-0 (10th season) at CU; 87-46-0 (12th season) overall

Game Preview: Clemson, the media's preseason pick to win the ACC, will open its 2008 slate with a contest against SEC foe Alabama on Saturday, Aug. 30...The 8 pm ET game, which will be held at the Georgia Dome, will be broadcast in front of a nationally-televised ABC audience... Clemson and Alabama currently have a total of 24 Georgia players on their roster...The Tigers, who posted their fi rst nine-win season since 2003, fi nishing 9-4 last season, return 16 starters... Highlighting the returning class is QB Cullen Harper, who led the ACC in passing efficiency and set 22 single-season school records, including most TD passes with 27 last season...The impressive RB duo of James Davis and CJ Spiller, in addition to 1,000-yard WR in Aaron Kelly, return for the 2008 season...Clemson is one of only six teams nationally that returns both an 1,000-yard rusher and receiver...Davis enters his senior season with 3,130 career rushing yards and 38 career TD, putting him within reach of the ACC career leaders in both categories, while Spiller returned two kickoffs for scores last year and has rushed for 1,705 yards in two seasons...Nick Saban returns 49 lettermen this season, 23 on offense, 23 on defense and three specialists...Back for their final seasons with the Tide are key seniors John Parker Wilson, who will be in the starting lineup at QB for the third straight year, All-SEC S and team captain Rashad Johnson, who led the league in interceptions last season, and three-year starter and team captain Antoine Caldwell on the offensive line.

Last Time Out: Clemson and Alabama will face each other on the gridiron for the first time since 1975...The last time the two teams clashed the Tide handed the Tigers a 56-0 shutout...The game on Sept. 20, 1975, was the fi rst contest in the newly named "Bryant"-Denny Stadium...That season Alabama went on to win the Sugar Bowl, defeating Penn State, 13-6.

Saturday, August 30
Delaware (0-0, 0-0 CAA)
at Maryland (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
3:45 pm; ESPNU
Byrd Stadium (51,500)

The Series:
Delaware leads 5-3-1
Maryland leads 2-0-1 in College Park, Md.

The Coaches: K.C. Keeler: 52-26-0 (7th season) at DU; 140-47-1 (14th season) overall
Ralph Friedgen: 56-31-0 (8th season) at MD; 56-31-0 (8th season) overall

Game Preview: Maryland, which returns 46 letter winners, including 14 offensive and defensive players, from a team that fi nished the 2007 season 6-7 and participated in the school's fifth bowl appearance in the previous seven seasons, kicks off the 2008 season by welcoming Delaware to Bryd Stadium for a 3:45 p.m. ET contest on ESPNU...The two teams have not met in 60 years, but the Terrapins won the last three contests against the Blue Hens...Maryland will have four of its five starting offensive linemen back, and has named Jordan Steffy, who started the first four games last year as the starting QB...The Terps also return all of the receiving corps, headlined by Darrius Heyward-Bey...Delaware, under seventh-year head coach K.C. Keeler, is coming off one of its best seasons in school history in 2007 as the Blue Hens posted an 11-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Div. I Football Championship Subdivision title game...Junior PK Joe Striefsky, who earned first-team All-CAA and fi rst team All-America laurels a year ago when he converted 21 of 24 fi eld goals and 64 of 67 extra points, returns for Delaware...Striefsky established school records for fi eld goals, extra points, and kicking points in a season and tied for the NCAA lead in kick scoring with 127 points....In addition to Striefsky, four other Blue Hen players were selected to the preseason All-CAA team, including WR Aaron Love, OL Kheon Hendricks, LB Erik Johnson, and DE Matt Marcorelle.

Last Time Out: The last time the Terrapins faced Delaware was Oct. 2, 1948, in the second game of the season...Maryland, under the tutelage of Jim Tatum, traveled to Newark, Del., and
defeated the Blue Hens 21-0 in front of 12,000 fans...The Terps wrapped up the 1948 season with a 6-4 record and a sixth-place fi nish in the Southern Conference.

Saturday, August 30
McNeese State (0-0, 0-0 Southland)
at North Carolina (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
6:00 pm
Kenan Stadium (60,000)

The Series: First Meeting

The Coaches: Matt Viator: 17-3-0 (8th season) at MSU; 17-3-0 (8th season) overall
Butch Davis: 4-8-0 (2nd season) at UNC; 55-28-0 (8th season) overall

Game Preview: North Carolina will host its first of seven home contests in the 2008 season as the Tar Heels welcome defending Southland Conference champions McNeese State on Saturday, Aug. 30 for a 6 pm ET tilt...McNeese State was 11-0 in regular sesaon games last year and enter the upcoming season as the Southland Conference picks to win the league title...In addition, McNeese State has won five of the last seven Southland championships...The Tar Heels, who were picked to finish second in the ACC Coastal Division by the media attending the ACC Kickoff, welcome back second-year coach Butch Davis as well as 19 starters from a year ago, including nine on offense, eight on defense, and one punter in Terrence Brown...QB T.J. Yates, who threw for 2,655 yards, the fourth-highest total for a freshman in ACC history, highlights an offensive unit that returns four of five starters on the offensive line...Defensively, the Tar Heels return four starters from a young, but talented secondary including Deunta Williams, a fi rst-team freshman All-America (FWAA) and the ACC's Defensive Rookie of the Year...Sophomore TB Greg Little , who walked on to the UNC basketball team following the football season, returns for the Tar Heels...Little ran for 300 yards and two scores on 59 carries and had 13 catches for 99 yards and a receiving TD last season...The Cowboys have 57 lettermen returning, of which nine starters are back on offense, six on defense and one as a specialist...Among those returning are the Southland's 2006 Player of the Year in Steven Whitehead, the league's Defensive Player of the Year in Bryan Smith and the league's Rookie of the Year in QB Derrick Fourroux.

Saturday, August 30
Southern California (0-0, 0-0 PAC-10)
at Virginia (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
3:30 pm; ABC (ESPN2)
Scott Stadium (61,500)

The Series: First Meeting

The Coaches: Pete Carroll: 76-14-0 (8th season) at USC; 76-14-0 (8th season) overall
Al Groh: 51-37-0 (8th season) at UVa; 77-77-0 (14h season) overall

Game Preview: Virginia opens the 2008 season with a two-game homestand, beginning with the Pac-10 Conference preseason favorite Southern California on Saturday, Aug. 30...The first-ever meeting between the two teams will kickoff in Charlottesville, Va., at 3:30 pm ET and will be broadcast on either ABC or ESPN2...Last season, Virginia won nine games for the fi rst time since the 2002 season and set an NCAA record with fi ve victories by two or fewer points in posting a 9-4 overall record and 6-2 ACC mark, good enough for second place in the Coastal Division...The squad, which returns 30 letterwinners and 10 starters, including three of four starting linebackers and fi ve of the top eight tacklers including Clint Sintim, who had nine QB sacks last fall and Jon Copper, the Cavs' leading tackler with 109 hits, looks to break USC's streak of non-conference road game victories (8)... UVa lost 14 starters with a combined 378 career starts, including All-America DE Chris Long...The 2008 Trojans, who look to win another national title and to capture their seventh straight Pac-10 Championship, return 13 starters and 78 squadmen from 2007... Both teams enter the season with a question mark at the QB spot...Junior Mark Sanchez seems to have emerged as the starter for USC; however, sophomore Mitch Mustain, who sat out the 2007 season after transferring from Arkansas, will vie for the position as well...After losing starting QB Jameel Sewell, the Cavs' Peter Lalich is competing for the signal calling job with senior Scott Deke and sophomore Mark Verica...USC LBs Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing, S Taylor Mays, DT Fili Moala and TB Joe McKnight have been named to various preseason All-America fi rst teams.

Saturday, August 30
Virginia Tech (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
vs. East Carolina (0-0, 0-0 C-USA)
Noon; ESPN
Bank of America Stadium (73,367)

The Series:
Virginia Tech leads 9-4-0
Virginia Tech leads 1-0-0 at neutral sites

The Coaches: Skip Holtz: 20-17-0 (4th season) at ECU; 54-40-0 overall (9th season)
Frank Beamer: 167-85-2 (22nd season) at VT; 209-108-4 (28th season) overall

Game Preview: Virginia Tech, which captured its second ACC Championship in its four years in the league and posted an 11-3 overall record from a year ago, opens the 2008 season in Charlotte, N.C., with a neutral site Noon contest against Conference USA's East Carolina...The 14th game of the rivalry that dates back to 1956 will be broadcasted live on ESPN... Defending ACC champion Virginia Tech is again favored to be in the league championship game in early December...Frank Beamer, now in his 22nd season at VT, welcomes back 40 lettermen, including 11 starters (six on offense, four on defense and punter Brent Bowden)...Defensively, Tech is led by CB Victor Harris, S Kam Chanceller and DE Orion Martin... Fourth-year head coach Skip Holtz looks to guide the Pirates to their fi rst league title since 1973, as the squad returns 20 starters from an 8-5 squad that defeated No. 22 Boise State in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl last season...Both programs boast a quarterback combo in Tech's duo of Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor and ECU's Patrick Pinkney and Rob Kass.

Last Time Out: Last year, the ninth-ranked Hokies opened the season with a home contest against East Carolina on Sept. 1, bringing some sort of normalcy back to Virginia Tech after the April 16 campus shooting...Virginia Tech, although starting the game sluggish, managed to pull out a 17-7 win over the Pirates...CB Victor Harris returned an interception 17 yards for a TD with just over 3 minutes remaining in the fi rst half, pushing the Hokies ahead 10-7, and QB Sean Glennon connected with Sam Wheeler on a 21-yard TD with just over 13 minutes remaining in the game, the Hokies' only offensive TD.

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ACC Football This Week
UNC QB T.J. Yates, who threw for 2,655 yards, the fourth-highest total for a freshman in ACC history, highlights an offensive unit that returns four of five starters on the offensive linePhoto by Gene Galin
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