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Oct
15
2014

Week 8 #ACC Game Predictions

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I’d like to thank everyone who has followed @AllSportsDACC on Twitter and gave us a warm welcome over the past week. The support has been tremendous. I’m excited to interact with all of you over there & at my personal Twitter account, @HereGoJayAgain.

Now, here are some predictions.

Virginia Tech (4-2, 1-1 ACC) @ Pittsburgh (3-3, 1-1 ACC)

With identical records in the ACC Coastal division, this one could prove to be a tough defensive battle between the Hokies and Panthers. The Hokies are 1-5 in their last 6 meetings against the Panthers and haven’t won a game at Pitt since 1999. The Hokies won last season’s meeting in Blacksburg, 19-9.

The odds are stacked against the Hokies as they face a tough, stingy Pitt defense who only allows 19 points and 278.7 yards a game. The Hokies defense, led by Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekanem, are on a tear as of late with a combined 9.5 sacks on the season. The Hokies are 0-3 in Heintz Field and 0-2 so far this season when scoring less than 30 points. Pitt has won 4 of the last 5 meetings.

The Panthers, have lost their last 3 games while the Hokies have won their last 2. Pitt sophomore running back James Conner, the nation’s 4th leading rusher with 827 rushing yds, will have his work cut out for him against a stingy Hokies rush defense that only gives up 108.8 rush yards a game. Word is Conner is also slated to played a little bit of defensive end as well.

This game will come down to the last possession but I expect the Hokies to come out on top in a tough road win.

Prediction: Hokies 35 – Panthers 31

Syracuse (2-4, 0-2 ACC) @ Wake Forest (2-4, 0-2 ACC)

Both Syracuse and Wake Forest are searching for their first conference win in ACC play. Wake Forest is coming off a bye week and a 43-3 road loss against #1 Florida State.  Their offense is averaging 113 total yards along with 6 total turnovers in their last 2 games. However, they’ve won their 2 home games so far this season.

Syracuse played a competitive game against Florida State last week but turnovers hurt them the most in a 38-20 loss. Backup freshman QB AJ Long threw 2 interceptions in his debut for the Orange, but he also connected on 2 touchdown passes with freshman receiver Steve Ishmael.

The Orange netted 412 yards of offense against the defending national champs so look for their offense to keep it going this week against a not so stellar Wake Forest team. They have dropped their last four games after starting the season 2-0. Look for them to get their first ACC win on Saturday against Wake Forest on the road.

Prediction: Syracuse 21 – Wake Forest 10

Virginia (4-2, 2-0 ACC) @ Duke (5-1, 1-1 ACC)

UVA and Duke are jockeying for position atop the ACC Coastal Division for first place. A win for the Blue Devils helps their chances of a repeat as Coastal Champs while a UVA win will keep them undefeated and in prime position to win the ACC Coastal division.

The Blue Devils are coming off a key win at Georgia Tech last week and they hope to keep the streak going against a stout UVA run defense. Duke has won 4 of the last 5 meetings including a 35-22 comeback victory last season. Having won 7 straight home games, quarterback Anthony Boone and running back Shaun Wilson should be focused on defending home field after defeating Georgia Tech on the road last week.

The Wahoos are 4-1 after bye weeks under Coach Mike London. Despite their 2 losses, UVA is a good team this season, particularly on run defense. They’re sixth in the nation in rush yards allowed (91.5/game) but they do give up 239.3 passing yards a game on average so look for the Blue Devils to air it out a lot against them.

This game comes down to home field advantage. With the chance to repeat as ACC Coastal Champs on their minds, the Blue Devils will come out on top.

Prediction: Duke 27 – UVA 20

#24 Clemson (4-2, 2-1 ACC) @ Boston College (4-2, 1-1 ACC)

Clemson is coming off a victory but have lost starting quarterback Deshaun Watson 4-6 weeks due to a broken finger. Backup Cole Stoudt shouldn’t have too tough of a time with Boston College this week, so this will be a good test for him to build experience on. Leave it up to the Tigers defense to give Stoudt good field position all game granted they can slow the Eagle’s rushing attack.

The Eagles rushing attack is ranked 5th in the nation with 315.7 rushing yards per game. Led by dual-threat quarterback Tyler Murphy and running back Jon Hilliman, they’ve been up for big games so far this season. They defeated USC 37-31 after rushing for 452 yards, so upset has to be on their minds at home in a key ACC match up.

It’ll be an interesting game for the Tigers playing on the road without their starting QB, however after holding Louisville to only 52 rushing yards last week, their defense looks like they’re up for the challenge on the road against the Eagles.

Prediction: Clemson 30 – BC 28

NC State (4-3, 0-3 ACC) @ Louisville (5-2, 3-2 ACC)

The Wolfpack are looking to snap an 11-conference game losing streak after a bitter home defeat at the hands of Boston College 30-14 last week. The road will be tough this week as well when they face the Cardinals. After leading through three quarters of play against the Seminoles to start ACC play, the Wolfpack have fallen by double digits twice in their last two contests, including being shutout at Clemson.

After a tough road loss to Clemson, Louisville will be very hungry for a win. Behind Cardinal safety Gerod Holliman’s NCAA leading 7 interceptions, Louisville has been a very tough opponent to score against. Their offense is battling injuries but pending the return of top WR DeVante Parker, the Cardinals should make quick work of the Wolfpack.

Prediction: Louisville 35  – NC State 10

Ga Tech (5-1, 1-1 ACC) @ North Carolina (2-4, 0-2 ACC)

Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets are feeling the sting after having their 5-0 start halted last week at Duke 31-25. The Tar Heels put up a great fight at Notre Dame but fell short for their fourth straight loss. The Yellow Jackets running game will be too much for the Tar Heels to handle this week. The Yellow Jackets have won the last five meetings in the series and are 2-1 under Paul Johnson who is 5-1 all-time against UNC.

The Yellow Jackets Triple Option has earned them 294.7 rushing yards per game this season, good for eighth in the nation. Not only has it been their rushing attack, but the play of receiver Deandre Smelter has been stellar as well for such a run-heavy offense. Smelter has 8 touchdowns so far on the season, four rushing and four receiving with 16 receptions for a team-high 360 receiving yards.

Although quarterback Marquise Williams fared well last week scoring 3 touchdowns in a variety of ways for the Tar Heel offense, the defense will tell the story this week at home. Can they stop the Yellow Jackets Triple Option? The Tar Heels defense is surrendering an average of 191.7 rushing yards a game on defense. In last week’s shootout against Notre Dame, they gave up four rushing touchdowns and 219 rushing yards.

In a game where reading the QB is key, look for Georgia Tech to run away with this one in the end.

Prediction : Georgia Tech 38 – 34 North Carolina

#5 Notre Dame (6-0) @ # 2 Florida State (6-0, 3-0 ACC)

College Gameday visits Tallahassee this weekend as the Fighting Irish are in town to face the Florida State Seminoles. With all of the off-the-field distractions in the media, the Seminoles play has been something to marvel at this season although not as spectacular. Notre Dame is Winston’s latest challenge to “Keep winning!”

The Fighting Irish are coming off a close 50-43 victory over UNC last week. Behind quarterback Everett Golson’s 300 passing yards, the Irish did enough to walk away with the victory, but this is their first road game of the season. In the national spotlight Saturday night, the Fighting Irish might not have what it takes to come out of Doak Campbell Stadium with a victory.

Quarterback Jamies Winston is 19-0 as a starter for the Seminoles and has thrown 1,605 passing yards with pass completion of 70 percent. Their three-headed monster rushing attack of running backs Karlos Williams, Mario Pender, and Dalvin Cook average 5.2 yards a carry. If all goes well for the Seminoles at home, I see them taking their seven game winning streak over ranked opponents to eight.

Prediction: Florida State 40 – Notre Dame 28

What are your thoughts? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments or on Twitter @AllSportsDACC !

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