Worst loss of the week: The "U" falling flat on their faces
So far this season, I haven't seen a team completely give away the 1st half of a game like Miami did on Saturday. These were just a few of the "U's" lowlights and mistakes from the 1st half:
1) UNC came in 107th ranked in rushing nationally and racked up 162 yards on the ground in the 1st half
2) KR Lee Chambers took a kickoff in the endzone and proceeded to run sideways and got tackled at Miami's own 8 YL
3) UNC had 3rd-and-11 at the Miami 35-yard line and Calais Campbell got called with a personal foul after an incomplete pass. The drive led to an easy UNC chip-shot FG instead of a long FG attempt
5) K Francesco Zampogna missed a 32 yard FG
6) UNC LB Quan Sturdivant blocked a punt that UNC recovered at Miami's 11-yard line that led to TD
7) Facing a 4th and 1 at Miami 2 –yard line UNC ran a QB sneak. The Miami D didn't have anyone in front of UNC's guards which made for a successful QB sneak
9) Kyle Wright threw 2 INT's in UNC territory
The bottom line is when you spot your opponent 27 points you're probably going to lose.
It looks like you can stick a fork in the Yellow Jackets after they picked up their 3rd conference loss at the hands of Maryland. GT showed some spunk coming back from 21-3 down, but they couldn't seal the deal after K Travis Bell missed a 52-yard FG with 54 seconds left in the game.
Of course Bell looks like the goat after this game, but I'm here to bail him out. On the previous play on 3rd down OL Andrew Gardner got called for holding. If he didn't Bell would've been trying the game winning FG from 40 yards instead of 52. Would the result have been different? Who knows, but we do know that GT is eliminated from the ACC Championship race.
2 special teams TD's and 1 "pick 6" TD = the return of Beamer Ball. The Hokies held the Tigers to just 8 yards rushing, with Cullen Harper's rush for 7 yards being Clemson's longest run of the night. It was a complete shutdown of James Davis and C.J. Spiller that you probably won't see matched the rest of the season.
The entire ACC has now been put on notice that VT's defense and special teams are back in dominating form.
The one negative coming out of this game is that VT LB Vince Hall will be out 4-6 weeks after breaking his wrist. This means Hall will likely be out when the Hokies host Boston College on October 25th.
Runner Up: UNC upsetting Miami
I predicted in this column a few weeks ago that UNC would get an ACC victory against someone besides Duke this season. Of course, I had the upset pegged for sometime in November, because I figured it would take a few more weeks for the Tar Heels to learn how to win.
The upset came earlier than expected, as Miami made several mistakes (see above) early in the game and UNC took advantage. If UNC didn't capitalize on just one of those mistakes they might not have won. You have to give the Tar Heels credit for not letting any freebies from the ‘Canes go to waste.
ACC Power Rankings
1. Boston College
2. Virginia Tech
5. Wake Forest
9. Georgia Tech
10. North Carolina
11. NC State
Way too early ACC Defensive Player of the Year Rankings
1. Chris Long- Virginia
2. DeJuan Tribble - BC
3. Erin Henderson-Maryland
4. Xavier Adibi- VT
5. Vince Hall- VT
6. Calais Campbell- Miami
7. Hilee Taylor-UNC
8. Philip Wheeler- GT
9. Tony Carter- FSU
10. Alphonso Smith- WF
Game of the Week: Florida State @ Wake Forest
Both FSU and WF need this victory to keep pace with BC in the Atlantic Division. FSU can probably afford a loss more than WF, because the Deamon Deacons have already loss to BC this year.
Another storyline is FSU looking for revenge on WF after the Deamon Deacons marched into Tallahassee last year and gave the ‘Noles a 30-0 whitewashing. I can guarantee that FSU doesn't get shutout this time around. Infact, behind new starting QB Xavier Lee, the ‘Noles will defeat WF this season.
Other random notes/thoughts:
- The ACC Atlantic Division is MUCH stronger than the ACC Coastal Division this season.
- Clemson will never win the ACC under Tommy Bowden, but will always be competitive. Be careful what you wish for Clemson fans- see Dave Wannstedt taking over for Walt Harris at Pitt
- Matt Ryan will win ACC player of the Year if he doesn't get injured