VT Visits Miami In Important ACC Coastal Matchup
A look at five things to watch as the Atlantic Coast Conference enters Week 10 of the season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Virginia Tech at No. 14 Miami. Even though these teams have combined for three losses in the last two weeks, this game has plenty of impact on the Coastal Division race. The Hurricanes are the division’s only one-loss team while the Hokies — who are 19-4 in Coastal road games — want to avoid their second three-game losing streak in two years after not having one since 2003. Hurricanes coach Al Golden calls Virginia Tech “the dominant representative of the Coastal Division since we joined the league.”
BEST MATCHUP: Pittsburgh pass defense vs. Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees. The Panthers’ defense has been carried by DT Aaron Donald, who leads the nation with 2.4 tackles for a loss per game, and they’ll need him to get pressure on Rees and force him into poor decisions. In their two losses, the Fighting Irish have been intercepted five times while they’ve been picked off a total of three times in their wins.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Boston College’s Andre Williams has been the league’s most consistently dominant running back, leading the league in rushing at 147 yards per game — 32 more than second-place Duke Johnson — while reaching the 100-yard mark in six of the Eagles’ eight games. But this week’s opponent might have the secret to stopping him: New Mexico State coach Doug Martin was BC’s offensive coordinator last year.
LONG SHOT: It says something about the progress Duke’s program has made that the Blue Devils can be placed on upset alert against North Carolina State. They’re favored for just the ninth time in 125 ACC games, and the first time this season. They’re nine-point favorites over the Wolfpack and while they’ve had two weeks to digest their upset at Virginia Tech, how will they handle not being an underdog against a hungry Triangle rival desperate for its first league win? Says Duke coach David Cutcliffe: “These guys have that taste in their mouth. Coming close or playing well isn’t enough for them.”
IMPACT PLAYER: The reins of North Carolina’s high-powered offense belong to QB Marquise Williams for the first time, after starter Bryn Renner was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. They’ve been rotating the past few weeks and the offense has moved well under Williams, who has thrown six touchdown passes and his passer rating of 149.86 would rank fifth in the league if he had enough attempts to qualify.
Compiled by AP Sports Writers Joedy McCreary and Aaron Beard in Raleigh, N.C.
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