ACC Week 5 Preview: Part 2
Friday, October 2, 2015
by Bubba Rosenbaum (@BubbaRosenbaum on Twitter)
Yesterday, we took a look at four of this week’s games involving ACC teams.
The first of those match-ups was last night’s game that featured Miami traveling to Cincinnati. The Canes came into the game at 3-0, but dropped a 34-23 decision to the Bearcats.
After falling behind 14-3 early, “The U” rallied to take a 20-17 lead less than four minutes into the second quarter. However, the much maligned UC defense rose to the challenge and limited Brad Kaaya and company the remainder of the way to help secure the victory.
Photo Credit: 4downterritory
Joseph Yearby (pictured above in 2014 against Cincinnati) rushed for 113 yards on just 17 carries (6.6 ypc) in the loss for the Canes.
Al Golden’s club will now look to rebound as they prepare to travel to Tallahassee for next week’s conference opener aggainst in-state rival Florida State.
Now, let’s take a look at the other three match-ups–including this week’s spotlight match-up that features #6 Notre Dame traveling to “Death Valley” to take on #12 Clemson.
North Carolina (3-1) @ Georgia Tech (2-2, 0-1)–Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field (Atlanta, GA)–ESPNU–3:30 P.M.
This week, the Tar Heels will attempt to do something that they haven’t done in quite some time–beat the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta.
UNC, who actually beat Georgia Tech, 48-43 last year, has lost 14 of the last 17 in the series. The Tar Heels have won three straight, but those were all at home against inferior competition (NC A&T, Illinois and Delaware).
Now, Larry Fedora and company will seek to show they’re a legit threat in the Coastal Division.
Meanwhile, Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets–who were most people’s preseason favorite to win the Coastal–will seek to snap a two-game skid after dropping road games to Notre Dame and Duke. In the loss to the Blue Devils, Georgia Tech was held to less than 200 rushing yards for the first time in 17 games.
Quarterback Justin Thomas and company will look to establish an early lead against UNC, as first-half deficits of three or more scores forced the Yellow Jackets out of their element in those aforementioned losses. When playing from behind, Thomas completed only 14 of 45 attempts.
The Tar Heels, who have had good balance between the running of sophomore Elijah Hood and arm of Marquise Williams, will need to start strong and maximize each possession.
This one will likely be decided in the fourth quarter, but take Georgia Tech to continue their dominance of this series as they will be able to get their ground game back on track against a UNC defense that is allowing more than 5 yards per carry.
#11 Florida State (3-0, 1-0) @ Wake Forest (2-2, 0-1)–BB&T Field (Winston-Salem, NC)–ESPN–3:30 PM
Following an open date, the Seminoles will travel to Winston-Salem for what shouldn’t be a very competitive game against Wake Forest.
Having said that, FSU has had a tendency to start slow this season–particularly on offense–and the Demon Deacons are good enough on defense that they could make it interesting for awhile.
The Seminoles’ offense has been based around star running back Dalvin Cook. Cook, who is one of the most complete backs in college football, has rushed for nearly 500 yards through three games (7.4 ypc) and has the ability to hit the home run as he already has a 74 yard touchdown to his credit.
This has allowed FSU to ease senior transfer quarterback Everett Golson into the offense. The former Notre Dame signal-caller has overcome some slow starts to complete 48 of his 75 attempts and throw for six scores without a single pick.
Defensively, Jimbo Fisher’s team has been adequate at stopping the run, but stellar against the pass. Opponents are averaging just 4.3 yards per attempt.
Wake Forest has struggled to develop a consistent running game and it will be hard for Wolford and/or Hinton to make a living through the air against Jalen Ramsey and the Seminoles’ secondary.
Expect FSU to wear down WFU and pull away in the second half to win by at least three scores.
#6 Notre Dame (4-0) @ #12 Clemson (3-0, 1-0)–Memorial Stadium (Clemson, SC)–ABC–8 PM
After not playing since 1979, these tradition-rich programs will tangle in “Death Valley” on Saturday night with the hopes of proving that they’re legitimate contenders for this year’s College Football Playoff.
Sixth-ranked Notre Dame, which has already defeated two ACC foes in Virginia and Georgia Tech, has overcome some early season adversity with the loss of starting quarterback Malik Zaire to a season-ending injury to remain perfect to date.
However, now Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish are facing what is potentially its most challenging road test of the season.
Meanwhile, No. 12 Clemson will need to bring a more complete effort than it did two weeks ago when it survived a scare at Louisville.
The Tigers should have an advantage behind/under center as DeShaun Watson has more experience than Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. Therefore, the Fighting Irish will need its stellar offensive line to do what it normally does and create holes for running back C.J. Prosise. Prosise has already totaled 600 yards and six touchdowns on just 74 carries (8.1 ypc), but what kind of success will he have against a Clemson defense that is stout against the run?
While Kizer has talented targets such as Will Fuller and Chris Brown, they will find it tough to make plays down the field against a secondary that includes a couple of the best corners in the nation in Mackensie Adams and Cordrea Tankersley.
The Notre Dame pass defense was exposed a bit by UVA when the Irish escaped Charlottesville with a last-minute win so don’t be surprised if Watson and Artavis Scott can make some plays through the air.
With the inexperienced Kizer taking on a stout D in a hostile environment, Notre Dame will need to set the tone with its powerful ground game. The Fighting Irish will have some success, but Clemson will slow them down enough to squeak out a close win and stay among college football’s unbeatens.