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Sep
21
2015

ACC Football: What Did We Learn? Week 3 Edition

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Week 3 was a see-saw for ACC football, but I guess that’s not always a bad thing when it comes to learning experience. Pittsburgh lost to Iowa on a 57 yard FG. Syracuse, NC State, and Miami are 3-0, and Duke still can’t find that quality OOC win after taking a loss at home to Northwestern (blame the lack of crowd presence!). Here’s what we learned:

1) Louisville really needs some O-Line help.

After Thursday’s game against Clemson, maybe it’s not a quarterback the Cardinals need, but instead its the offensive line that has the Cardinals off their first 0-3 start since 1984. If Louisville can’t run the ball, they’re in trouble. They have yet to surpass 100 rushing yards as a team in a game since opening with 238 rushing yards as a team against SEC power Auburn. Last game against Clemson, the Cardinals only rushed for 19 total yards in the game against the Tigers, due largely in part to the 5 sacks quarterback Kyle Bolin took for a loss of 36 yards.

The Cardinals were also 2-14 on 3rd down. If the Cardinals can’t get their run game going and convert first downs and in a hurry, it could be a long and dreadful ACC season. Luckily for them their only ranked opponent left on the schedule currently is Florida State, who they face in Tallahassee on October 17.

2) Georgia Tech’s offense will struggle against a solid defense.

Here’s why your Week 1 and 2 opponents should be meaningful ones, not opponents you can put up 60 points against. Georgia Tech’s Triple Option was stuffed all game, although the Yellow Jackets finished with 215 rushing yards, on the other side, they gave up 198 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns to running back C.J. Prosise. Granted, the Yellow Jackets only lost by 8, but in their chance to get a quality win for the ACC, they looked overmatched against a short-handed but talented Notre Dame team. There’s no time for the Yellow Jackets to hang their head either, they visit a Duke Blue Devils team next week hungry for a win.

3) Florida State’s Test(s) are on the Horizon

Good, the Seminoles won 14-0 shutting out Boston College. But, if anything teams are salivating at the aftermath. Everett Golson looked frustrated all night, passing 15-24 for only 119 yards. Running back Dalvin Cook was held to 54 rushing yards after rushing for 266 yards last week against USF. Next week, luckily the Seminoles play Wake Forest. However, after that the schedule gets a bit challenging, with the Seminoles facing Miami, Louisville, and Georgia Tech in 3 straight weeks. The Seminoles have some tough games ahead on their schedule so it will be interesting to see if they can stay in the Top 10 in the polls.

4) Duke is Still Searching for its Offensive Weapons

Duke had the most yards in the game when it was all said and done and there was balance, the only problem: They scored 10 points all game. Quarterback Thomas Sirk threw for 15o yards but no touchdowns, he did run for a score however. In a game where 7 different receivers had a reception, it seems Duke misses a few offensive weapons that made them successful a year ago already (Jamison Crowder!). Duke turned the ball over 3 times (2 fumbles and an interception) which is very uncharacteristic of a David Cutcliffe coached team. Uncharacteristic was the theme of they day: The Blue Devils opened the 2nd half by giving up a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Expect to see adjustments fast, next week Georgia Tech and their Triple Option comes to town, which is sure to be a challenge. The Blue Devils gave up a 55 yard touchdown run when they needed a stop late. Discipline certainly has to be a focus going in.

5) Brenden Motley is Finding his Rhythm for the Hokies, the Defense Too

In just his second start for the Hokies, quarterback Brenden Motley fared rather well after a slow first half. Motley was 15-24 with 220 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns and 1 rushing score. The Hokies also tallied 238 rushing yards as a team, Motley had 24 of those rushing yards. The running back situation for the Hokies still leaves some fans left wondering as well as the lack of production or use for that matter out of star receiver Bucky Hodges. Hodges did have 3 receptions for 11 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Hokies used Hodges well on the goal line, but before the Hokies pulled away in the 2nd half, the score was 24-17 at halftime.

The defense fared a lot better as well. They held the Boilermakers to 121 rushing yards, forced 3 turnovers, and blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. Safe to say Beamer Ball was in full effect. Perfect timing to say the least, next week the Hokies visit East Carolina. The Hokies lost last to the Pirates last season at home 28-21.

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