ACC Football: What Did We Learn? Week 2 Edition

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It was another intriguing week of ACC football in Week 2. A lot of good, some bad, some even devastating enough to leave you hanging over the stadium guard rail, if you know what I mean, so without further adieu, here’s what we learned…

1) The ACC Coastal Division title runs through Georgia Tech. (pun intended)

So I definitely understand how scheduling works, in the beginning you play a few inferior opponents to get your team’s confidence up. I get that, BUT, find me another FBS team averaging 457.5 rushing yards and 7.5 RUSHING touchdowns in their first 2 weeks. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 8.5 yards per carry. 13 different Yellow Jackets have ran the ball for positive yardage, 10 of those 13 players have also scored at least 1 rushing touchdown as well. I think it’s safe to say Georgia Tech’s confidence is way up.

Granted, the test gets tougher this week when they visit Notre Dame. However, Notre Dame has been hit two weeks in a row by the injury bug. In Week 1, they lost running back Tarean Folston to a knee injury. In Week 2, starting quarterback Malik Zaire was lost for the season due to a broken ankle. But we certainly get to see how good this Georgia Tech team actually is. They’ve got Notre Dame, then Duke, then North Carolina, then Clemson. So the tests certainly get tougher, but as of Week 2, the ACC Coastal runs through the Triple Option and Georgia Tech.

2) Louisville Has To Pick a Quarterback

Week 2 and we’re back with the quarterback discussion. It seemed Bobby Petrino was set on quarterback Lamar Jackson but he struggled mightily against Houston last week. Jackson was 17-27 with 168 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown and 2 interceptions and was on the bench before the game was over. Kyle Bolin took over the snaps at quarterback in the fourth, leaving Reggie Bonnafon on the bench as well. So with that being said, what’s happening in Louisville?

2 weeks in and it’s a totally different team from a year ago. The Cardinals are off to their first 0-2 start since 1998 and it seems they can’t get the rushing game going. Against Houston, the Cardinals had 26 carries for 70 yards, giving them roughly 2.7 yards per carry. On the Houston side, the Cougars had 57 rushes for 226 yards, good for 4 yards a carry. Yikes! Granted, starting quarterback Lamar Jackson did have a rushing touchdown in the game as well, but his 12 carries for 16 yards is an eye sore.

Thursday, the Cardinals have Clemson on the schedule, a team that forces turnovers and doesn’t allow many teams to rush the ball. So, it shall certainly be an interesting Thursday night match up we’re Louisville has zero time to waste filling holes. The Cardinals, who prided themselves last season in takeaways, lead this season off with

3) Brenden Motley’s Debut Should Silence A Few Critics

The Hokies offense started off a bit sluggish, which was expected with a new quarterback running things in Brenden Motley, however it seemed things went without a hitch once the offense found its rhythm. Granted, it certainly wasn’t perfect and it was definitely a good thing the opponent was Furman but Motley did well for the Hokies in his first start.

Motley was 16-24 with 233 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns and a rushing score of his own. But some things stuck out as well that shouldn’t have, like the 4-12 3rd down efficiency or the 11 penalties for 114 yards. Receiver Bucky Hodges only has 2 catches for 48 yards, in Week 1, Hodges had ZERO catches against the Ohio State Buckeyes. If this team wants to win, it certainly needs some of its offensive weapons to step up. Granted, Isiah Ford had 5 catches for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns. But when your opponent is Furman, an FCS team, you would expect the playbook to open up a little bit more for your star players.

4) Healthy Deshaun Watson Is Great for Clemson

Quarterback Deshaun Watson looked good in another week that saw Clemson’s offense put up 40+ points. Through 2 weeks, Watson has completed 77.1% of his passes, thrown 5 touchdowns and only 1 interception, and has Clemson prime for an ACC Atlantic Division crown. Their journey starts this Thursday night in a prime time matchup against an 0-2 Louisville team. The running game is certainly present as well, led by Wayne Gallman, who has 171 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns so far this season.

Sophomore receiver Artavis Scott currently leads the team in receptions (12) and receiving yards (148) followed closely by fellow senior receiver Charone Peake who has 6 receptions for 98 receiving yards. Both receivers have 2 touchdowns on the season for the Tigers. So it goes without saying, Clemson certainly has some weapons for Watson to throw to. It’s certainly a sigh of relief after what some fans witnessed in Week 1, where the Tigers lost Mike Williams for the season to a neck fracture when he hit his head on the goal post while catching a pass in the end zone.

5) Off the Field Issues Won’t Distract the Seminoles

Despite another offseason that saw a few distractions put the Florida State Seminoles in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, Dalvin Cook and the Seminoles have let their play do the talking. Cook, after being reinstated to the team roughly a week before the season, responded in Week 2 with 266 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. It was the second most rushing yards in school history, Greg Allen holds the record with 320.

Cook had rushes of 74, 24, and 37 yards go for rushing touchdowns. It was a bright spot for an otherwise slow passing offense that saw Everett Golson finish 14 for 26 with just 163 passing yards and 1 passing touchdown on the day. The USF Golden Bulls put pressure on the Seminoles all day, forcing 3 sacks and 7 tackles for loss. Without Cook’s big day, things could have gotten a bit more interesting.

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