Around the ACC

New CUTigers' columnist Don Munson takes you around the ACC.

Mississippi State (1-2) at Georgia Tech (2-1) 12:00 PM
The Bulldogs and the Yellow Jackets meet for the first time on the gridiron since 1929 with Tech leading the all-time the series 2-0. Sylvester Croom's squad is coming off that offensive explosive game against Auburn that the Tigers finally triumphed in 3-2. Mississippi State is currently 105th in the nation is scoring offense (16.67 pts/game) and 103rd in total offense (288.33 yards/game). By the way, the two points against Auburn came because the Tigers were guilty of a hold in their own end zone. Paul Johnson's Jackets are the ninth best team in the country rushing averaging 263 yards/game. QB Josh Nesbitt, in a 20-17 loss to Virginia Tech, ran for 151 yards on 28 carries most ever in a single game by a Yellow Jacket signal caller.
Prediction: GT 17 MSU 6

#15 East Carolina (3-0) at NC State (1-2) 12:00 PM
Skip Holtz leads his Pirates to Raleigh for the 26th meeting in the series dubbed "The Backyard Brawl" between East Carolina and the Wolfpack. NC State leads the series 15-10. They have won three of the last five and five of the last eight between the two schools. If the Pack is going to win this weekend their offense is going to have to show tremendous improvement. After three weeks of the season Tom O'Brien's club is 113th in total offense (250.33 yds/game), 109th in scoring offense (14.33 pts/game), 106th in rushing offense (97.33 yds/game) and 100th in passing offense (153.00 yds/game). QB Patrick Pinkney leads the Pirates, who are 3-0 for the first time since 1999. Last week in a come from behind win over Tulane he threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns.
Prediction: East Carolina 35 NC State 10

University of Central Florida (1-1) at Boston College 1:00 PM
Both teams are coming off open weeks and both are coming off a loss. George O'Leary's Knights suffered an overtime defeat at the hands of South Florida 31-24, while Jeff Jagodzinski Eagles fell to Georgia Tech, in Chestnut Hill, 19-16. Both squads also have inexperienced quarterbacks. Michael Greco checks up under center for UCF. He went 17-for-32 for 150 yards with two touchdowns against South Florida. The attempts, completions and touchdown passes were all career highs. Chris Crane has replaced Matt Ryan in Boston and in two games is averaging only 124 yards per game passing. BC does boast the nation's second best defense against the pass giving up only 103.5 yards per game. This is the first meeting ever between the two schools.
Prediction: UCF 27 BC 19

Eastern Michigan (1-2) at Maryland (2-1) Kickoff 1:00 PM
This will be the fourth ever meeting between Eagles and the Terrapins with Maryland having won the previous three by a combined 132 to 19. Ralph Friedgren coached his team to a startling 35-27 upset of then No. 23 California (The upset was called by Roy Philpott by the way). The Terps scored on their first five possessions against the Bears and look for more of the same this week. Da'Rel Scott had 19 rushes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. He has totaled 407 yards so far this season. Chris Turner is coming off a 15-19 for 159 yards and two TD performance and is now the firm number one quarterback of the Terrapins. On the Eastern Michigan side of the ledger, they are led offensively by running back Dwayne Priest. The Eagles can run the ball averaging better than 224 yards per game. If Eastern Michigan can control the ball on the ground and if the Terps don't show the competitive edge they showed last week this could be a close game. If my aunt had, oh, never mind.
Prediction: Maryland 31 EMU 9

Miami (1-1) at Texas A&M (1-1) Kickoff 3:30 PM
It's the ACC versus the Big 12. Five years or so ago this would have been a match-up between nationally ranked teams, now it is a battle between programs trying to re-establish themselves among the nation's elite. This is only the third ever meeting between the Canes and the Aggies and the series is tied at a game apiece. Both teams had two weeks to prepare for this contest so the question comes down to which coach has made the most adjustments. The Aggies opened the 2008 season at home and Mike Sherman watched his squad fall to Arkansas State 18-14. The next week things weren't that much better with a 28-22 victory over New Mexico. Randy Shannon has seen his squad post a 52-7 win over Charleston Southern to start the season then fall 26-3 at Florida. The showing against the Gators was encouraging to some of "the U" faithful, but the question is can they bring that same intensity to every game? I think they bring it to Aggie land this week. Prediction: Miami 20 Texas A&M 6

Virginia Tech (2-1) at North Carolina (2-0) Kickoff 3:30 PM
This will be the 36th meeting between these two schools in a series that started back in 1895. Since joining the ACC the Hokies have never lost to the Heels going 3-0. The winner of this game will come down to the match-up of UNC quarterback TJ Yates versus the Virginia Tech defense. When he throws the ball he has the top two receivers in the league Brandon Tate (115.5 yds/game) and Hakeem Hicks (86.5 yds/game). UNC has been able to pound out 160 yards per game on the ground. So the question is can Frank Beamer's club force the Tar Heels to become one dimensional? I would think Va. Tech will be able to take the run game away. The other question is can the Hokies score points? Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor will both see time directing the offense for the maroon and orange, but can either produce points? Tech's passing offense has only produced on average 85 yards per game. Can the Tar Heel defense force Virginia Tech to throw the ball? It is a huge game for both teams. I think Virginia Tech has more answers.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 18 UNC 15

#18 Wake Forest (2-0) at #24 Florida State (2-0) Kickoff 7:00 PM
Who can forget Wake's last trip into Doak Campbell Stadium? A 30-0 beat down of a hapless Seminole football team. It was arguably one of the most stunning road victories in ACC history. Riley Skinner led a come from behind win over Ole Miss last week in Winston-Salem. They opened the season with a road victory at Baylor. FSU so far is the champs of the Southern Conference having knocked off Western Carolina and Chattanooga. The aforementioned Skinner will be the difference maker in this one. So far he has completed 59 of 79 passes for 487 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Bobby Bowden/Jimbo Fisher have turned the reigns of the FSU offense over to Christian Ponder. Who? If Florida State wants to win this one they must run the football to keep it away from Skinner. The key match-up thus becomes the FSU offensive line versus the front seven of the Deacon defense. Wake wins three in a row versus FSU.
Prediction: Wake 24 FSU 13

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