It was a largely uneventful week in the ACC, but one for big offensive performances. Prior to Saturday, only once had an ACC school ever scored 80 points in a game and on Saturday, both North Carolina and Florida State hit that plateau. With the final week of the season upcoming, a number of ACC schools are streaking including second-ranked Florida State and surprising Duke. Looking back on Week 13 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, here are five things we learned:
1. Icing the Kicker Can Win or Lose You the Game
With Pittsburgh leading Syracuse 17-16 on Saturday and Syracuse lined up for a 53-yard field goal attempt, Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst called a timeout just before the snap. The timeout halted a faked field goal that would have likely resulted in a Syracuse touchdown. The Orange then elected to try to convert a 4th-and-8 with a pass which fell incomplete as the Panthers held on for victory. It worked just the opposite for Maryland’s Randy Edsall on Saturday. Edsall called timeout with the Terrapins and Boston College tied at 26 and just before Boston College kicker Nate Freese missed a 52-yard field goal to the left. When given a second chance, Freese made good on his kick from 52 yards out as the Eagles captured just their second road win of the season, 29-26.
2. The ACC Will Not Lose to the FCS in 2013
With Clemson’s 52-6 victory over the Citadel on Saturday and Georgia Tech’s 66-7 win over Alabama A&M, the ACC will join the Big Ten as the only conferences to not have a team lose to a FCS school in 2013. The SEC sat in the same position until Florida’s 26-20 loss to Georgia Southern on Saturday.
3. The ACC Coastal is Still Wide Open
With wins by Miami and Duke on Saturday, four teams still remain alive for the ACC’s Coastal division. Though North Carolina won’t mathematically be able to represent that side of the conference, the Tar Heels can clinch a tie for the division by beating Duke on Saturday. If Miami can beat Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech can top rival Virginia, it is possible that the Coastal division could end in a five-way tie. Such a scenario however, would favor the Hokies. Heading into the final week, only Duke controls its own destiny, but Miami, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech are all still alive.
4. North Carolina is Not Missing a Beat With Williams at Quarterback
When North Carolina starting quarterback Bryn Renner went down, it looked as though it could be a huge blow to the Tar Heels’ offense and perhaps the end of their bowl hopes. Since sophomore Marquise Williams, who was used as a situational quarterback, stepped in on a full time basis, the North Carolina offense has continued to click. Since taking over for Renner, Williams is 3-0 as a starter and has thrown for seven touchdowns and just one interception. In Saturday’s 80-20 victory over Old Dominion, Williams completed 20 of his 27 pass attempts for 409 yards and five scores. Williams has also rushed for three scores since taking over as the starter and is North Carolina’s leading rusher on the season.
5. Tajh Boyd’s Neck is Just Fine
In Clemson’s 55-31 victory over Georgia Tech in Week 12, Tigers’ quarterback Tajh Boyd left the game late with a neck injury that brought silence to the Clemson crowd. In Saturday’s 52-6 victory over the Citadel, Boyd showed no ill-effects on the injury. Boyd finished 21-for-28 passing for 288 yards and five touchdowns in the senior’s final game at Memorial Stadium. Since falling to Florida State, Clemson has won four straight games and can likely clinch a BCS at-large spot with a win at South Carolina on Saturday.