Inside the ACC: Rivalry week in Florida and NC

jgiglio@newsobserver.comNovember 1, 2013 


Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles runs with the ball against Darius Robinson #8 of the Clemson Tigers during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina.


Three to watch

1) No. 7 Miami at No. 3 Florida State, 8 p.m. (ABC)

Feels like old times for the Canes (7-0) and Noles (7-0), who are both back in the top 10 and back in the national title race. Miami, a 22-point underdog, has lost six of eight in the series.

2) UNC at N.C. State, 12:30 p.m. (WRAL)

The Tar Heels (2-5) are starting to find their stride while the Wolfpack (3-4) is reeling after four straight ACC losses. N.C. State has won four of the past five games against the Heels at Carter-Finley Stadium.

3) Virginia Tech at Boston College, noon (ABC)

This game, not FSU-Miami, is a rematch of an ACC title game (2007 and ’08), but both teams are coming off losses to Triangle teams. The Hokies (6-2) can’t seem to get anything going on offense, while BC’s defense can’t stop anyone.


•  Florida State’s only apparent weakness is stopping the run. Boston College’s Andre Williams ran for 149 yards against the Noles on Sept. 28, and N.C. State’s Shadrach Thornton ran for 173 yards against FSU last week.

If brittle but brilliant Miami running back Duke Johnson (823 rushing yards) can stay healthy, that would be Miami’s best shot at an upset.

Miami’s defense will have to find a way to produce turnovers to derail FSU’s offense, which has outscored its past three ACC opponents 90 to 7 in the first half.

•  N.C. State can’t afford to defend UNC tight end Eric Ebron the same way it covered Wake Forest receiver Michael Campanaro on Oct. 5. Campanaro worked the soft spots of State’s zone for 12 catches for 153 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Ebron’s listed as a tight end but is really just a souped-up version of a slot receiver like Campanaro.

•  Keeping his players focused after a horrific loss to Florida State on Oct. 19 will be Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s biggest challenge until a trip to South Carolina on Nov. 30.

The Tigers (7-1) were sluggish before the 51-14 disaster against FSU, with a 24-14 home win over Boston College, and they were going through the motions in a 40-27 win at Maryland last Saturday.

Swinney, whose team travels to Virginia (2-6) today, bristled earlier this week at the notion of what Clemson is, and isn’t, supposed to be.

“I know everybody wants us to be up 35-0 in the first quarter of every game, but that’s not really realistic,” Swinney said.

Number to know

77 Wins in 12-plus seasons for Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe, who needs one more to pass D.C. Walker for first place on the school’s career wins list. The Deacons (4-4) travel to Syracuse (3-4) Saturday.

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