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ACC Football Power Rankings, Week 9: Can Uiagalelei repeat when Clemson travels to Notre Dame?

In this week’s ACC Football Power Rankings, we get ready for Clemson-Notre Dame, plus more information on Dyami Brown’s performance at Virginia, DJ Uiagalelei and the return of Brevin Jordan for Miami.

 

No. 1 Clemson

Playing without Trevor Lawrence due to COVID-19, things got incredibly hairy for Clemson on Saturday; with one minutes to play in the first half, the Tigers trailed Boston College by 18 points, with the season hanging in the balance.

During the second half, though, Clemson’s defense dominated. On the other side of the ball, freshman quarterback DJ Uiagalelei found a groove. Uiagalelei completed 30-of-41 pass attempts (73.2 percent) for 342 yards with two touchdowns. The rookie QB also ran for 30-yard touchdown early in the third quarter, which sprung Clemson’s vicious comeback.

Uiagalelei will make his second career start next Saturday against a Notre Dame defense that ranks 16th nationally in efficiency, according to ESPN.

Next game: at Notre Dame, Saturday (11/7), 7:30 p.m.

Record: 7-0

 

No. 2 Notre Dame

Notre Dame wasn’t exactly electric on Saturday against an overmatched Georgia Tech squad; however, Kyren Williams accounted for 100 yards from scrimmage and two more rushing touchdowns. The freshman back now averages 5.7 yards per carry and is up to seven rushing touchdowns on the season.

Next Saturday’s matchup between Clemson and Notre Dame is massive — from both a historical perspective and in terms of national title implications in 2020.

Next game: Clemson, Saturday (11/7), 7:30 p.m.

Record: 6-0

 

No. 3 Miami

Following an open weekend, Miami hopes to get several key players back for Friday’s showdown with NC State, including junior tight end Brevin Jordan.

Jordan is expected to play.

Next game: at NC State, Friday (11/6), 7:30 p.m.

Record: 5-1

 

No. 4 Wake Forest

One of the speediest offenses in the county — as per the usual under Dave Clawson — Wake Forest continues to put up numbers behind the dynamic backfield of Kenneth Walker III and Christian Beal-Smith.

During the win over Syracuse, those two combined for 166 rushing yards (4.74 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, all courtesy of Walker, who leads the ACC with 11 rushing touchdowns in 2020.

Quarterback Sam Hartman has been solid, too: attempting 150 passes this season (8.4 yards per attempt) without an interception.

Next game: at North Carolina, Saturday (11/14), 12:00 p.m.

Record: 4-2

 

No. 5 North Carolina

Junior wide receiver Dyami Brown took to the skies in Charlottesville, but North Carolina’s run game was mostly held in check by a strong Virginia defense as the Tar Heels fell on the road.

Brown, however, hauled in 11 receptions for 240 yards and three touchdowns. The 240 receiving yards from Brown were the most by a Power Five receiver this season.

Brown is just the second ACC player since the 2000 season to record 10 receptions, 200 receiving yards and 3+ touchdowns in the same game. Maryland’s Torrey Smith hit those benchmarks back in 2010 against NC State, too.

Next game: at Duke, Saturday (11/7), 12:00 p.m.

Record: 4-2

 

No. 6 Virginia Tech

Hendon Hooker was superb during Virginia Tech’s win at Louisville. Hooker completed 10-of-10 pass attempts for 183 yards — an outstanding 18.3 yards per attempt — while running for three touchdowns, too.

Going back to 2000, Hooker is just the fifth FBS player to complete 100 percent of his pass attempts (minimum of 5 attempts) and run for 2+ touchdowns in the same game. The last ACC player to hit those benchmarks in the same game was UNC’s Darian Durant, back in 2001.

Next game: Liberty, Saturday (11/7), 12:00 p.m.

Record: 4-2

 

No. 7 Boston College

Moral victories be damned: it likely stings to come so close to a monumental road win over the No. 1 team in the country, but Boston College still has things to take away from what happened at Clemson.

Next game: at Syracuse, Saturday (11/7), 2:00 p.m.

Record: 4-3

 

No. 8 NC State

NC State has several winnable games to close the 2020 season with; however, the Pack must clear two difficult hurdles between now and then. The larger of those two hurdles comes to town this Friday: the Miami Hurricanes.

Next game: Miami, Friday (11/6), 7:30 p.m.

Record: 4-2

 

No. 9 Virginia

Fortune favors the bold: one of the key pieces from Virginia’s 3-point upset victory over North Carolina came on 4th down. UVA went 4-of-4 on 4th-down conversions. Virginia has gone for it on 4th down 20 times this season (in six games) — fourth most in the FBS. Mendenhall’s club has converted 70 percent of those attempts, too.

Next game: Louisville, Saturday (11/7), 8:00 p.m.

Record: 2-4

 

No. 10 Pittsburgh

Coming off an open week, and looking to shake off a four-game losing streak, Pitt gets exactly what the doctor ordered: back-to-back matchups with Florida State and Georgia Tech, although both games are on the road.

Next game: at Florida State, Saturday (11/7), 4:00 p.m.

Record: 3-4

 

No. 11 Louisville

Malik Cunningham threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns, while Javian Hawkins ran for 129 yards and another score. That sounds like Louisville’s recipe for success: an explosive offense leading the way. Unfortunately, three of Cunningham’s 12 incompletions doubled as interceptions; the Cards lost the turnover battle with a -3 margin.

Louisville now ranks 15th in the ACC with an average turnover margin of -1.57 per game.

Next game: at Virginia, Saturday (11/7), 8:00 p.m.

Record: 2-5

 

No. 12 Duke

Duke kept it simple while bulldozing Charlotte back on Halloween. Both Mateo Durant and Deon Jackson ran for 100+ yards and two touchdowns.

In total, Duke ran for 274 yards and six touchdowns — easily the two best single-game marks this season.

Next game: North Carolina, Saturday (11/7), 12:00 p.m.

Record: 2-5

 

No. 13 Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech fell to Notre Dame on Saturday, but freshman back Jahmyr Gibbs continues to do his thing: 110 yards from scrimmage on 19 touches.

Next game: 2-5

Record: Pittsburgh, Saturday (11/14)

 

No. 14 Florida State

Despite a 2-4 record and an unappealing point differential, Florida State opened as a 1-point road favorite against Pittsburgh. The status of Pitt’s Kenny Pickett is something to monitor, though.

Next game: Pittsburgh, Saturday (11/7), 4:00 p.m.

Record: 2-4

 

No. 15 Syracuse

When your offense collects less than 250 yards and turns the ball over three times, it’s tough to win. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Syracuse last Saturday against Wake Forest.

Next game: Boston College, Saturday (11/7), 2:00 p.m. 

Record: 1-6

 

 

Contributor Rankings

 Brian GeisingerJosh GrahamConsensus
1ClemsonClemsonClemson
2Notre DameNotre DameNotre Dame
3MiamiMiamiMiami
4North CarolinaWake ForestWake Forest
5Wake ForestVirginia TechNorth Carolina
6Virginia TechNorth CarolinaVirginia Tech
7Boston CollegeBoston CollegeBoston College
8NC StateNC StateNC State
9VirginiaVirginiaVirginia
10PittPittPitt
11LouisvilleGeorgia TechLouisville
12DukeLouisvilleDuke
13Florida StateDukeGeorgia Tech
14SyracuseFlorida StateFlorida State
15Georgia TechSyracuseSyracuse

 

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