Thursday, August 29
Wake Forest (6-5 in 2001) at Northern Illinois (6-5 in 2001)
FSNS; 7:35 p.m., Huskie Stadium (31,000)
THE GAME: Wake Forest brings up the curtain on its' 101st season of intercollegiate football when they take on Northern Illinois of the Mid-American Conference ... the Deacs own a 1-0 series lead following a 38-35 win a year ago in Winston-Salem ... WF has won its last three road games ... seven of NIU's games last year were decided by 10 points or less while the Deacs set an ACC record with nine of their 11 games decided by seven points or less.
LAST YEAR: RB Tarence Williams ran for 140 yards and one TD and QB James MacPherson threw for a pair of scores to lead the Deacs past visiting NIU 38-33 and snapping the Huskies four-game win streak.
THE COACHES: Jim Grobe is 6-5 in his second season at Wake Forest and 33-33-1 in seven years overall, including a 3-0 mark against the Huskies ... Joe Novak is 20-46 in six seasons at Northern Illinois.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS: NIU tied with Toledo and Ball State for the MAC's West Division title last year with identical 4-1 divisional records ... TB Thomas Hammock led NIU in rushing a year ago as a junior with 1,096 yards ... a two-time Academic All-American, Hammock has rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the past two seasons ... the Huskies back-to-back winning seasons the last two seasons are the first since the 1989-90 campaigns.
WAKE FOREST: The Deacs' 38-35 season-ending win over Northern Illinois last year marked the team's seventh-straight game decided by seven points or less in 2001 ... an ACC-record nine of Wake Forest's 11 games were decided by seven points or less ... senior tailback Tarence Williams became just the eighth player in school history to record 1,000 rushing yards in a season when he totaled 1,018 yards in 10 games a year ago ... Williams, who will the season opener with a broken bone in his left foot, is 11th on the Deacons' career rushing leader list with 1,729 yards ... Wake Forest led the ACC and was 10th nationally in rushing yardage per game (221.6) last season ... WR Jason Anderson caught a pass in all 10 games in which he played as a freshman in 2001 and led the team in receptions (28) and receiving yardage (472) ... senior QB James McPherson is 11th on the school's all-time passing list with 2,879 yards.
Saturday, August 31
Miami (Ohio) (7-5 in 2001) at North Carolina (8-5 in 2001)
1:30 p.m., Kenan Stadium (60,000)
THE GAME: The 2002 season opener for both North Carolina and Miami (Ohio) ... Saturday's game marks the seventh meeting between the two teams with the Tar Heels leading the series by a 4-2 margin ... this is the fourth time that Carolina will open the season against the Redhawks ... UNC is 75-32-4 in its previous 111 season openers, but has dropped three of its last four, including a 13-10 decision to the Redhawks in the 1998 season opener.
THE COACHES: Terry Hoeppner is 20-14 in three years with the RedHawks ... John Bunting is 46-19-2 in six years as a head coach, including a 8-5 mark at UNC.
MIAMI: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger set Mid-American Conference freshman passing marks a year ago throwing for 3,105 yards and 25 touchdowns ... Roethlisberger had three 300-yard passing games in 2001 and earned FWAA Freshman All-America honors ... the RedHawks have two first-team All-MAC linebackers back for the 2002 season - Terrell Jones and former walk-on Matt Robillard ... Jones had 124 tackles last year, Robillard 109 ... Miami's four non-conference opponents all appeared in a bowl game last year - North Carolina, Iowa, LSU and Cincinnati.
NORTH CAROLINA: UNC won seven of its last nine games a year ago ... QB Darian Durant finished second in the ACC and 12th nationally in passing efficiency last year as a freshman and his 17 TD passes were the third most by a freshman in league history ... WR Sam Aiken led the team last season in receptions (46), receiving yardage (789) and TD receptions (8) ... over the final three games of the season Aiken had 19 catches for 315 yards and three TDs ... cornerback Michael Waddell was second in the ACC in pass breakups with 14 a year ago and earned All-ACC second team honors ... North Carolina has totaled 79 quarterback sacks over the last two years, the fourth-highest total in the country over that span ... the Tar Heels return their top two rushers from last year - Andre Williams (520 yards in 11 games) and Willie Parker (400 yards in nine games) ... Parker ran for 131 yards on 19 carries against Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
Saturday, August 31
Virginia (0-1, 0-0) at #3 Florida State (1-0, 0-0) ABC; 3:30, Doak Campbell Stadium (82,000)
THE GAME: Third-ranked Florida State will be shooting for its second-straight victory to open the 2002 season when they host a Virginia team coming off a 35-29 loss to Colorado State ... FSU has won the last six meetings and leads the series 9-1 ... the Noles have scored 28 or more points in each of the last nine games with UVa ... overall, FSU is averaging 36.0 points per game in the series ... the Cavaliers have won four straight ACC openers while FSU is 9-1 in league curtain raisers.
LAST YEAR: 21st-ranked Florida State totaled 30 first downs and 533 yards in total offense en route to a 43-7 victory in front of the largest college football crowd in Virginia history.
THE COACHES: Al Groh is 5-8 in his second year at Virginia and 31-48 in seven seasons overall ... Bobby Bowden is 324-91-4 in 36 seasons as a head coach, including a 251-59-4 mark in 26 years at FSU.
VIRGINIA: Senior WR Billy McMullen is 24th on the ACC career receptions list (144) and 28th in career receiving yardage (2,117) ... McMullen is 388 yards shy of becoming Virginia's all-time leader in receiving yardage ,,, UVa lists only 10 seniors on the roster, the second-fewest in the ACC ... freshman QB Marques Hagan completed 10 of 13 passes for 120 yards and ran 11 times for 45 yards and one TD in his collegiate debut in the season opener against Colorado State ... true freshman Wali Lundy ran for a team-high 94 yards on 20 carries against the Rams ... Lundy accounted for 184 yards in all-purpose yardage against CSU as he added two receptions for 20 yards and returned four kickoffs for an additional 70 yards.
FLORIDA STATE: With Saturday's 38-31 win over Iowa State, Bobby Bowden moved into second place on the Division I-A career win list with 324 victories ... the Seminoles are 8-0 in games played in August ... QB Chris Rix completed 17 of 25 passes for 210 yards and two TDs against Iowa State and has thrown at least one TD pass in the first 12 regular season games of his career ... PK Xavier Beitia has made 12 straight field goal attempts ... the Seminoles are 139-21-1 since the start of the 1989 season ... Greg Jones ran for 113 yards on 22 carries against the Cyclones and has gone over the 100-yard mark in four of his last seven games.
Saturday, August 31
East Carolina (6-6 in 2001) at Duke (0-11 in 2001) 6:00 p.m., Wallace Wade Stadium (60,000)
THE GAME: Duke and East Carolina renew their intra-state rivalry when the two teams meet for the ninth time in a rivalry that started in 1977 ... the Pirates have won the last two meetings to tie the series at four games apiece ... the Blue Devils own a 4-3 lead in games played in Wallace Wade Stadium ... East Carolina posted a 38-0 victory in the series' last meeting in 2000.
THE COACHES: East Carolina's Steve Logan is 65-50 in 10 seasons with the Pirates ... Carl Franks is 3-30 in three years at Duke.
EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates made their third consecutive bowl appearance last season, falling to 25th-ranked Marshall in the GMAC Bowl, 64-61, in double overtime ... ECU has put together four straight non-losing seasons for the first time since the program was classified Division I-A in 1977 ... Logan looks to replace QB David Garrard who finished as the school's all-time career passing and total offense leader ... P Jarad Preston was 12th nationally a year ago in punting (44.1) ... ECU was one of only 11 teams in NCAA Division I-A to average over 200 yards both rushing and passing in 2001 ... the Pirates converted on 44 of their 45 trips inside the redzone last season ... ECU's average TD drive last year lasted 1:59.
DUKE: Honorable mention All-ACC tailback Chris Douglas led the team and was fifth in the ACC in rushing yards per game (76.5) as a sophomore in 2001 ... Douglas is the first player in school history to lead the team in rushing in both his freshman (503 yards) and sophomore (841) seasons ... Douglas is 12th on the ACC's career kickoff return yardage list with 1,541 yards ... Douglas led the ACC and was fifth nationally in all-purpose yards (168.1) and has 13 straight games with 100-or-more all-purpose yards ... junior OLB Ryan Fowler has led the team in tackles in each of his first two seasons ... the three returning starting linebackers (Fowler, Jim Scharrer, Jamyon Small) totaled 279 tackles in 2001 ... starting TE Nick Brzezinski will miss the entire 2002 season after tearing a knee ligament in the team's final pre-season srimmage ... the Blue Devils are one of the nation's youngest teams with only one senior (Small) on the roster.
Saturday, August 31
Vanderbilt (2-9 in 2001) at Georgia Tech (8-5 in 2001) 6:00 p.m., Bobby Dodd Stadium (42,000)
THE GAME: Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey will make his ACC debut Saturday evening when his Yellow Jackets host Vanderbilt in newly renovated Boddy Dodd Stadium ... Tech and Vanderbilt are meeting for the first time since the 1967 season, when Tech defeated the Commodores 27-17 in Nashville ... the Yellow Jackets have won eight of the last nine meetings and hold a 16-15-3 lead in a series that began in 1892 ... Vanderbilt has not beaten Tech since a 14-7 decision in 1947.
THE COACHES: Bobby Johnson, beginning his first season at Vanderbilt, is 60-36 in eight years as a head coach ... Chan Gailey, beginning his first season at Georgia Tech, is 24-11 in three previous seasons as a head coach.
VANDERBILT: Johnson replaces Woody Widenhofer whose teams were 15-40 in his five seasons ... senior wide receiver Dan Strickler had 65 receptions as a junior in 2001 and became just the third Commodore to have 1,000 yards receiving in a season with 1,079 ... Strickler needs just 832 yards to become the SEC's all-time leader in receiving yardage ... Sticker also needs 72 catches to set the SEC career receptions mark ... LB Hunter Hillenmeyer had 116 tackles last season including 7.5 tackles for losses and two quarterback sacks ... Vanderbilt is 63-31-4 in season openers.
GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets return 16 starters, including nine on defense ... five returnees earned All-ACC honors in 2001 ... junior A.J. Suggs will get the starting call at quarterback replacing two-year starter George Godsey who finished fifth on the ACC career passing efficiency list and 19th in total offense ... first-team All-ACC PK Luke Manget has made an ACC-record 131 straight PATs and is 15th on the ACC's career scoring list with 257 points ... Kelley Rhino set the ACC single season punt return yardage record a year ago with 515 yards on 48 returns (10.1) ... DE Greg Gathers is Tech's career leader with 30 quarterback sacks and 56 tackles for loss ... Tech's veteran receiving corp of Kerry Watkins, Will Glover and Jonathan Smith combined for 136 receptions, 1,810 yards and 12 TDs in 2001.
Saturday, August 31
East Tennessee State (0-0) at No. 25 NC State (1-0, 0-0) 7:00 p.m., Carter-Finley Stadium (60,000)
THE GAME: NC State looks for win No. 2 of the young season Saturday when it hosts East Tennessee State under the lights of Carter-Finley Stadium ... this will be the third meeting between the two teams, but the first since a 49-0 Wolfpack win in 1988 ... ETSU won the series' first meeting 29-14 in 1987.
THE COACHES: Paul Hamilton is 29-26 in five years at East Tennessee State ... Chuck Amato is 16-9 in his third season at NC State, including an 8-1 mark against non-conference opponents.
EAST TENNESSEE STATE: ETSU returns all 11 defensive starters from last year's 6-4 team ... the Bucs scored 14 or fewer points five times in 2001 ... junior LB Mike Cornegay was among Southern Conference tackle leaders a year ago with 101 tackles ... senior Jatavis Sanders is one of three players looking to succeed Matt Wiljelm (1,461 yards 8 TDs) at quarterback ... Sanders transferred from NC State where he completed nine of 17 passes for 165 yards and one TD in 1999 ... Cecil Moore returns at WR after having a team-high 57 recpetions for 908 yards and five touchdowns.
NC STATE: Junior QB Philip Rivers completed 15 of 24 passes for 276 yards and three TDs against New Mexico ... Rivers has thrown at least one TD pass in 21 of his 25 career starts and is 17th on the ACC's career passing list with 5,916 yards and 24th in career total offense (5,529) ... WR Bryan Peterson ranks 11th among Wolfpack career reception leaders (100) and 10th in receiving yardage (1,396) and has caught a pass in 26 straight games ... T.A. McLendon led the Pack in rushing against New Mexico with 79 yards -- the most rushing yards in a game by an NC State freshman since Anthony Barbour ran for 81 yards in the 1988 season opener against Western Carolina ... sophomore Greg Golden started at tailback against New Mexico rushing for 35 yards on 13 carries; Golden also caught three passes for 25 yards, returned two kickoffs for 33 yards and was in for 12 plays defensively at cornerback.
Saturday, August 31
Clemson (7-5 in 2001) at No. 8 Georgia (8-4 in 2001) ESPN; 7:45 pm., Sanford Stadium (86,520)
THE GAME: Clemson and Georgia renew their interstate rivalry for the first time since 1995 when Georgia pulled out a 19-17 win in Death Valley ... the Bulldogs have won three in a row against the Tigers and lead the series 39-17-4 ... Clemson's last win in the series was a 34-3 decision in 1990 ... the Bulldogs are 25-7-1 against the Tigers "between the hedges" in Athens.
THE COACHES: Mark Richt is 8-4 starting his second season at Georgia ... Tommy Bowden is 22-14 in three years at Clemson and 40-18 in five seasons overall.
CLEMSON: Among Tiger returnees are three players who were named freshmen All-Americans by The Sporting News -- WR Derrick Hamilton and DT Donnell Washington earned first-team honors while TE Ben Hall was a third-team choice ... Hamilton led the Tigers and was third nationally among all freshmen in receptions per game (4.5) ... Hamilton's 49 receptions were the third-best single season total in ACC history while his 590 yards were the fourth all-time ... Hamilton also led the ACC and finished third nationally in kickoff returns (31.7)... the Tigers are 37-0-1 all-time in games when they gain 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing ... Clemson has averaged 424.5 yards per game in total offense in Bowden's three years as a head coach ... Willie Simmons replaces 1st-team All-ACC performer Woody Dantzler at quarterback ... Simmons has thrown 914 yards and nine TDs in 13 career games.
GEORGIA: The Bulldogs have won eight or more games five straight years ... David Greene, the 2001 SEC Freshman of the Year, is the first lefthanded quarterback to start at Georgia in 45 years ... Greene set a school frosh passing records by throwing for 2,789 yards and 17 touchdowns ... senior WR Terrence Edwards needs only 38 catches to become the school's all-time leading receiver ... sophomore WR Fred Gibson had five 100-yard games as a freshman in 2001 and averaged 23.4 yards per catch ... Georgia has won five straight season openers by a combined score of 206-41 and is 81-24-3 (.764) all-time in season openers ... the Bulldogs are 21-3 in non-conference home games since 1992.
Saturday, August 31
No. 20 Maryland (10-2 in 2001) vs. Notre Dame (5-6 in 2001)ABC; 8:00 p.m. Giants Stadium (80,242)
THE GAME: The opening game of the 2002 season for both Notre Dame, a Division I-A Independent, and Maryland, the defending ACC Champion ... this is the first meeting between the two teams.
THE COACHES: Ralph Friedgen is 10-2 after his first season at Maryland ... Tyrone Willingham begins his first year at Notre Dame after posting a 44-36-1 record in seven previous seasons at Stanford.
MARYLAND: TB Bruce Perry, the 2001 ACC Offensive Player of the Year, will miss the first 4-8 weeks of the season with an injury to his left groin muscle ... Perry was the first Terp since Charlie Wysocki in 1980 to lead the ACC in rushing (112.9); was ninth nationally in all-purpose yardage (156.2) and his 1,242 yards rushing is the fourth-best single season mark in school history ... seven Terps were named first-team All-ACC - the most since 1976 and one more than the previous seven years combined ... junior LB E.J. Henderson became just the sixth defensive player since 1974 to be named ACC Player of the Year ... Henderson led the ACC and was seventh nationally in tackles per game (13.6); also led the ACC and was second nationally in tackles for loss (28) ... PK Nick Novak led the ACC in scoring (8.09) as a freshman in 2001 and made 10 of his last 11 field goal attempts, including all nine attempts from inside of 60 yards.
NOTRE DAME: Last year, the Fighthing Irish averaged 19.5 points per game - the first time that they had averaged under 20 points per game since 1982 ... LB Courtney Watson had 13 tackles for losses in 2001 ... senior PK Nicholas Setta made 15 of 17 field goal attempts a year ago and Joey Hildbold averaged 42.2 yards per punt ... Irish quarterbacks threw a total of four touchdown passes last season, the fewest of any 117 Division I-A teams ... junior QB Carlyle Holliday threw a team-high three scoring passes ... Notre Dame has won 13 of its last 15 season openers and is 93-13-5 (.863) overall ... Fighting Irish first-year head coaches are 10-2 in season opening games.