ACC Football Weekend In Review No. 2: Brennan Armstrong gets ready for UNC, the numbers behind FSU’s collapse

The second weekend of the season proved to be another uneasy affair for several ACC programs, although some matchups vs. smaller schools worked as get-right games for other teams. There are some intriguing games on the docket for Week 3. Before we dive fully into those games, though, let’s look back at last Friday and Saturday.


Week 2 Power Rankings

If you missed this week’s ACC Power Rankings, make sure to check those out: link.


Players of the Week

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh, QB

Slowly but surely, Pickett continues to etch his name as one of the more impressive passers in recent Pitt history. If the first two games are any indication, the 2021 version is the best so far, too.

During a 41-34 victory, Pickett made it look easy on the road as the Panthers carved up Tennessee’s defense. Pickett completed 24-of-36 pass attempts for 285 yards (7.92 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns. Pickett got it done on the ground, too, rushing for a second-half touchdown.

It’s early in the season, but Pickett leads the ACC in ESPN’s total QBR metric. With 73 pass attempts to his name, he’s yet to throw an interception, while averaging 7.6 yards per attempt.


Brennan Armstrong, Virginia, QB

Armstrong, dating back to late last season, continues to dial up strong performances. For years, the quarterback position was a wobbly affair for Virginia football. Under Bronco Mendenhall, however, that notion has changed.

From Kurt Benkert to the scintillating Bryce Perkins now to Armstrong: this has become a position of strength.

During Saturday’s win over Illinois, Armstrong threw for 405 yards and five touchdowns. He now leads all ACC quarterbacks with an average of 11.1 yards per pass attempt. In fact, Armstrong is one of only six FBS quarterbacks averaging 11+ yards per attempt. Georgia Tech’s Jordan Yates is second among ACC players: 9.5 yards per attempt.


Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest, WR

The preseason All-ACC wide receiver found the end-zone for the sixth consecutive game vs. Norfolk State. He did so by grabbing a 64-yard deep ball from Sam Hartman on the Deacs’ way to a 41-16 win and a 2-0 start.

Roberson finished with 97 yards on four catches.


Stat of the Week

According to ESPN’s win probability calculator, Florida State had a 98.6 percent chance of defeating Jacksonville State just before the ball was snapped on the final play. Of course, by now everyone knows what happened next. Long story short: FSU lost and some cheerleaders became incredulous.

Take it away, Wes Durham.

Ironically, this hook-up from Jacksonville State came courtesy of two former ACC players: quarterback Zerrick Cooper (Clemson) and wideout Damond Philyaw-Johnson (Duke).

Two more stats from FSU’s stunning loss. First, the Gamecocks’ improbable, last-second touchdown clinched the Seminoles’ first-ever loss to an FCS program after winning 26 in a row against the lesser football subdivision.

Second: while the FSU secondary is receiving the bulk of the blame for the loss, the offensive line has struggled substantially on the other side of the ball. Through two games, FSU quarterbacks have been hit on 58.3 percent of their drop-backs, which is the third-highest rate in the country.


Scoville Scale: ACC Coaches on the Hot Seat

For the 2021 season, we’ll use the Scoville Scale — which measures the pungency/spiciness of peppers — as a means to signify how hot the seats are for certain ACC head football coaches. (SHU: Scoville Heat Units)

Jalapeno Division

  • 2,500-8,000 SHU: David Cutcliffe (Duke), Dave Doeren (NC State)
    • Doeren isn’t in any real danger. He’s done good things with the program; NC State’s improvements in recruiting and strength/conditioning shouldn’t be ignored. However, the Pack continue to fall in these types of games. The loss at Mississippi State was a bad look.


Cayenne Division

  • 30,000-50,000 SHU: Mike Norvell (FSU), Geoff Collins (Georgia Tech), Scott Satterfield (Louisville)
    • It’s probably too early to place Norvell at this type of extreme measure; it’s just his second season in Tallahassee. However, the loss to Jacksonville State, and the fashion in which it took place, is pretty awing. Under those extreme circumstances, Norvell lands in Cayenne Land with Collins and Satterfield, who at least grabbed wins in Week 2.


Week 3 Lines

Boston College at Temple

  • BC -16.5
  • Over/Under: 59.5


Michigan State at Miami

  • Miami -6.5
  • Over/Under: 55.5


Albany at Syracuse

  • No available odds


No. 15 Virginia Tech at West Virginia

  • Virginia Tech +3
  • Over/Under: 50.5


Western Michigan at Pitt

  • Pitt -15
  • Over/Under: 60.5


Florida State and Wake Forest

  • Wake Forest -6.5
  • Over/Under: 61.5


Georgia Tech at No. 6 Clemson

  • Clemson -28.5
  • Over/Under: 51


Northwestern at Duke

  • Duke +3
  • Over/Under: 50


Furman at NC State

  • No available odds


Virginia at No. 21 North Carolina

  • North Carolina -9
  • Over/Under: 64.5


**Josh Graham contributed to this post.