In this week’s ACC Football Power Rankings, we go 1-15 through the league and take a look at a few developing trends — including strong quarterback play.
No. 1 Notre Dame
Ian Book completed 20-of-27 pass attempts for 283 yards (10.5 yards per attempt), three touchdowns and no interceptions. All of of Notre Dame’s touchdown passes were connections between Book and Ben Skowronek, the Northwestern transfer.
Ian Book 🤝 Ben Skowronek
The two have had no issue finding the end zone 🔥 pic.twitter.com/XbQHHA428y
— ESPN (@espn) November 14, 2020
Next up: at North Carolina, Friday (11/27), 12:00 p.m.
No. 2 Clemson
With an open week, Clemson had time to regroup after the Notre Dame loss and (hopefully) get healthy. Trevor Lawrence is expected to return against Florida State; the Tigers opened as a 32-point favorite. Oh boy.
Next up: at Florida State, Saturday (11/21), 12:00 p.m.
No. 3 Miami
Miami went into last Saturday’s matchup with Virginia Tech as an underdog (+2.5), down 13 players due to COVID-19 — one week after being down 11 players at NC State. Despite the adversity — Miami almost didn’t play this game — the Hurricanes won on the road, 25-24. However, after all of that, Miami still fell three spots in this week’s AP Poll. Makes perfect sense!
D’Eriq King had another strong outing: 255 passing yards and two total touchdowns. Miami got big plays on the perimeter from wideouts Dee Wiggins, Mike Harley and Mark Pope; the trio combined for 18 receptions and 207 yards through the air.
Pope now has touchdown receptions in back-to-back games, including the 36-yard game-winner in Blacksburg.
Next up: Georgia Tech, Saturday (11/21), 8:00 p.m.
No. 4 North Carolina
In a game that started to get a little wonky, with UNC trailing Wake Forest by 21 points in the second half, quarterback Sam Howell grabbed the wheel; he didn’t let go.
While leading North Carolina to 35 unanswered points and one of the largest comeback wins in program history, Howell added plenty of his own ink to the record book, too. Howell went 32-of-45 through the air for 550 yards and 6 touchdowns, which shattered the UNC single-game passing record previously held by Marquise Williams (2015).
To sum it up…
Tied largest comeback in program history
Largest 2nd half-comeback in program history
Largest home comeback in program history
Howell: most passing yards in program history
Howell: most pass TD in program history
Howell: most TD resp for in program history
— Bryan Ives (@awaytoworthy) November 14, 2020
Late in the fourth quarter, Howell also ran a touchdown in from 20 yards out — which helped give UNC the lead at 52-45.
Next up: Notre Dame, Friday (11/27), 12:00 p.m.
No. 5 Wake Forest
Wake Forest had it, and then didn’t. It’s not easy to score 53 points and fall; last Saturday’s road affair in Chapel Hill may sting for a little while, too. However, lost amidst Howell-mania: Sam Hartman had a monster afternoon as well.
Hartman completed 29-of-45 pass attempts for a career-high 429 yards (9.5 yards per attempt) and four touchdowns. Through the first eight games of the season, Hartman has yet to throw an interception.
Highest passer rating on throws 20+ yards downfield (Wk 11)
1. Kyle Trask, Florida – 158.3
1. Matt Corral, Ole Miss – 158.3
3. Sam Hartman, Wake – 155.8
4. Jake Haener, Fresno St – 149.3 pic.twitter.com/MSqo4HokC9
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 15, 2020
Next up: at Duke, Saturday (11/21), 12:00 p.m.
No. 6 Virginia Tech
The Hokies have now lost three of their last four games, following Saturday’s failure against Miami. The Virginia Tech formula is simple in 2020: run the ball efficiently and protect against a defense that ranks 59th nationally in efficiency, per ESPN.
Virginia Tech never quite got its run game going against Miami; however, the margin between victory and defeat gets awfully blurry when coaches routinely swing-and-miss in leverage situations.
Next up: at Pittsburgh, Saturday (11/21), 4:00 p.m.
No. 7 NC State
Back on Saturday, NC State pushed around a young, depleted Florida State squad. Early in the third quarter — following an 18-yard touchdown run from Bam Knight — the Wolfpack led 28-3. FSU made matters slightly more competitive in the second half, but this thing was never in doubt
Bailey Hockman lit up his former team, too. The southpaw completed 24-of-34 pass attempts (70.6 percent) for a career-best 265 yards and three touchdowns. Once again, slot receiver Thayer Thomas proved to be Hockman’s favorite target.
Thayer Thomas now has 11 receptions for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns. All three are career highs for the redshirt junior. pic.twitter.com/sMgiLLjhSv
— Pack Pride (@PackPride) November 15, 2020
Next up: Liberty, Saturday (11/21), 7:30 p.m.
No. 8 Boston College
As BC Interruption noted in their game recap, the Boston College-Notre Dame matchup had a fair amount of intrigue ahead of kickoff. However, this Notre Dame team is really freaking good, and it takes a lot to pull off an upset. The Eagles fought hard, but the Irish were simply too much.
Next up: Louisville, Friday (11/27), 12:00 p.m.
No. 9 Virginia
Virginia’s defense put together an impressive outing against Louisville. The Cavaliers sacked Malik Cunningham four times and forced three turnovers, including an 85-yard pick-6 from outside linebacker Noah Taylor. The front seven continues to do damage.
👀 Noah Taylor 💪 takes it 8⃣5⃣-yards 🏈
— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) November 14, 2020
Next up: Abilene Christian, Saturday (11/21), 4:00 p.m.
No. 10 Pittsburgh
Next Saturday’s matchup between Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech is an interesting battle of 4-4 teams. Pitt was shutout last season at Virginia Tech; Kenny Pickett struggled passing that game, too.
Next up: Virginia Tech Saturday (11/21), 4:00 p.m.
No. 11 Louisville
Despite (relatively) optimistic preseason expectations, it’s been a tough go of things for Louisville this year. The Cards will now be without All-ACC running back Javian Hawkins, who has opted out for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Next up: Syracuse, Friday (11/20), 7:00 p.m.
No. 12 Georgia Tech
Following the postponement of Saturday’s matchup with Pittsburgh — moved to Dec. 12 — it will be three full weeks between games for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have still yet to play in the month of November.
The return to the field won’t come easy, either: going up against D’Eriq King and No. 12 Miami on the road.
Next up: at Miami, Saturday (11/21), 8:00 p.m.
No. 13 Duke
The Blue Devils have certainly struggled this season, but David Cutcliffe can feel some confidence in knowing that he has his kicker of the future: redshirt freshman Charlie Ham.
4️⃣4️⃣ Charlie Ham ➡️ 2020 @TheFWAA Freshman All-America Watch List 💪
— Duke Football (@DukeFOOTBALL) October 20, 2020
Next up: Wake Forest, Saturday (11/21), 12:00 p.m.
No. 14 Syracuse
Only three games remain on the 2020 schedule for Syracuse, including two on the road:
- At Louisville
- NC State
- At Notre Dame
Syracuse projects as a big underdog in all three of these matchups, including Louisville this Friday. As of right now, the Orange are likely to finish 2020 with a 1-10 record, among the worst seasons in program history.
Next up: Louisville, Friday (11/20), 7:00 p.m.
No. 15 Florida State
A challenging 2020 season continues to add more bumps and bruises for Florida State. The upcoming matchup with Clemson could get ugly.
Florida State's morning:
– Best player out for the season
– Leading receiver off the team
– Former starting QB transferring pic.twitter.com/pjh7hMobeV
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) November 11, 2020
Next up: Clemson, Saturday (11/21), 12:00 p.m.
|Brian Geisinger||Josh Graham||Consensus|
|1||Notre Dame||Notre Dame||Notre Dame|
|4||North Carolina||North Carolina||North Carolina|
|5||Wake Forest||Wake Forest||Wake Forest|
|6||Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech|
|7||NC State||NC State||NC State|
|8||Boston College||Boston College||Boston College|
|15||Florida State||Syracuse||Florida State|