ACC Football: What We’ve Learned, Week 1

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Any time the Atlantic Coast Conference can get through a week of football, particularly one where non-conference games are involved, and say “that was relatively free of embarrassment,” it was a good week.

Indeed, the ACC acquitted itself decently. How well, you ask?

South Carolina 27, North Carolina 10

At times, this game looked completely non-competitive, but when it was all over, more people were probably annoyed that UNC missed the backdoor cover by one yard. To their credit, North Carolina only had one turnover and did eventually show a little life, but that all ended when, 13 seconds after cutting the deficit to ten, they gave up a 75-yard touchdown to extend it back to 17. The key takeaway from this contest in the media, however, was not how South Carolina dominated long stretches, but how winded Jadeveon Clowney looked. Here, we learned that North Carolina could still be competitive in the Coastal, but they might not be ready for primetime.

Wake Forest 31, Presbyterian 7

Boston College’s next opponents got off to a very slow start. In fact, the Blue Hose led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. Wake took the lead early in the second and never looked back, holding Presbyterian to just 151 total yards and two first downs. The Blue Hose suffered six turnovers and were dominated in time of possession. We learned in this one that final stats don’t always tell the whole story, and Presbyterian is so bad that not even Wake could find a way to blow it.

Miami 34, Florida Atlantic 6

The ACC Coastal favorites also started slowly, posting just three points in the first quarter against the Owls, but thanks in part to Duke Johnson’s legs, the Canes picked it up quickly. Johnson finished with 186 yards on the ground; more yards than QB Stephen Morris had through the air (160). Miami didn’t give up many big plays at all, with the longest one being a 19-yard reception, and of course no touchdowns were allowed. Here, we learned very simply that the U is capable of taking care of business.

Boston College 24, Villanova 14

We’ll save you the trouble and direct you to our game capsule, where you can dissect all of the commentary you like. Nevertheless, the Eagles won, and as pre-pokey Martha Stewart would say, it’s a good thing.

Georgia Tech 70, Elon 0

The yardage split (557 to 253) isn’t as bad as you’d think it would be in a 70-0 game, and perhaps you would be surprised to learn that the Elon Phoenix controlled time of possession (32:35). Georgia Tech just struck so quickly that they didn’t need the ball very long. Two pick-sixes also helped. Six different Yellow Jackets had rushing touchdowns on Saturday. Here, we learned that this Phoenix ain’t rising and that the Jackets can still score big on helpless opposition.

Maryland 43, Florida International 10

Like Boston College, the Terps have had a couple rough years, though they’ve been compounding their misery by losing to us. To start the 2013 season, Maryland actually looked like a competent, improving team by beating the stuffing out of a (declining) FIU squad. The Terps outgained the Panthers by a little over 400 yards and CJ Brown had an excellent game. We learned in this game that Maryland has already come a long way from barely beating William & Mary in their last season opener.