Around the ACC: Week 1

With the first weekend of the college football in the books, the Blue Zone examines the performances of the 14 ACC teams in non-conference action.

Duke 37, Tulane 7

Led by quarterback Thomas Sirk's pair of touchdowns and 357 total yards from scrimmage, the Blue Devils trounced the Green Wave on the road Thursday. The Duke defense remained stout throughout and kept Tulane off the scoreboard until the 10:44 mark of the fourth quarter. In addition to a strong performance of defense, safety DeVon Edwards also chipped in on special teams, returning a kick 95 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. 

South Carolina 17, North Carolina 13

South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore saved the season opener for the Gamecocks with an interception in the end zone on a potential game-winning pass by North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams. The turnover on 4th and goal was Williams' third interception of the night. Despite controlling possession for the majority of the contest, South Carolina’s quarterback Connor Mitch struggled and completed just 9-of-22 passes in the victory.

Wake Forest 41, Elon 3

The Demon Deacons demolished their FCS opponent, racking up nearly 600 yards and 29 first downs. Wake Forest sophomore QB John Wolford passed for three touchdowns and a career-high 323 yards for the second time in his career and for the first time in coach Dave Clawson’s tenure in Winston-Salem, the Demon Deacons are above .500 as they open ACC play.

No. 16 Georgia Tech 69, Alcorn State 6

Coming off an impressive victory in the Orange Bowl a year ago, Yellow Jackets picked up right where they left off, jumping out to a 34-0 lead after one quarter of play. Despite the officials using a running clock starting in the second quarter, FCS Alcorn State couldn’t hold back Georgia Tech—who attempted only five passes. Yellow Jackets running back Marcus Marshall needed only eight carries to garner 184 on the ground to go along with two touchdowns.

Syracuse 47, Rhode Island 0

Although the Orange allowed just 64 yards in a shutout victory Friday night, it was an injury to their starting quarterback Terrel Hunt that was the story of the night. With 7:38 to go in the first quarter, Hunt rolled out looking for his receiver but landed awkwardly on the turf and turned his right foot. Although Hunt was able to hobble to the locker room, the injury was later diagnosed as a torn Achilles tendon that will keep him out for the remainder of the season. Backup Eric Dungey finished 10-of-17 for 114 yards and two touchdowns. 

No. 13 UCLA 34, Virginia 16

The Cavaliers traveled across the country to take on their Pac 12 opponent, but came home licking their wounds after a tough defeat. Freshman Josh Rosen starred under center for the Bruins, going 28-for-35 with 351 yards passing. On the other hand, the Virginia offense struggled mightily and didn't reach the end zone till Taquan Mizzell hauled in a late fourth-quarter touchdown with the game out of reach.

No. 6 Auburn 31, Louisville 24

A late surge by Louisville nearly helped knock off one of the nation’s perennial SEC powers, but Auburn held on to prevent the upset in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Although the Cardinals had more total yards and first downs than the Tigers, a pair of first-half turnovers put them in a deep 17-0 hole. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson nearly keyed the comeback behind an electric performance on the ground. The quarterback finished with 16 carries for 106 yards and established himself as the top signal-caller on the Cardinals. Auburn did not receive a strong performance from its quarterback Jeremy Johnson—who finished with three interceptions—but rode a strong performance from its defense led by newly hired coordinator Will Muschamp. 

No. 12 Clemson 49, Wofford 10

The Tigers pounced on the Terriers, grabbing a five-touchdown lead before halftime and never looking back, and moved to 30-0 all-time against FCS opponents. After returning from a torn ACL, quarterback Deshaun Watson led a balanced Clemson attack that accumlulated over 500 yards of offense and tripled Wofford’s first down total, 27-9. The sophomore completed his first five pieces and appeared fully healed from his injury a year ago. 

Boston College 24, Maine 3

After an early field goal by the Black Bears, the Eagles defense was able to turn the tide and hold their opponent to minus-19 yards on the next four possessions. Although the victory was Boston College's fifth straight win against Maine, the game remained within reach until early in the fourth quarter. But two quick strike touchdowns by Eagles running back Tyler Rouse sealed the deal on the team's season-opening victory. 

Pittsburgh 45, Youngstown State 37

With receiver Tyler Boyd sidelined for a one-game suspension and reigning ACC Player of the Year James Conner limited by a right knee injury, the Panthers got a scare from the visiting Penguins on Saturday afternoon. Pittsburgh running back Qadree Ollison helped steer the team away from a stunning upset with 207 yards on the ground in place of Conner.  Quarterback Chad Voytik added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter for good measure and helped move the Panthers to 1-0.

Miami 45, Bethune-Cookman 0

The only thing that held Miami’s high-flying offense down Saturday night was lightning. Although the second half was shortened to just 20 minutes, it was more than enough for the Hurricanes’ trio of running backs to have their fair share of success. Mark Walton, Trayone Gray and Joseph Yearby combined for 24 carries and a total of 202 yards, in addition to each making his own trip to the end zone. Sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya supplemented the strong performance on the ground by going 16-of-27 for 173 yards and two touchdowns. 

N.C. State 49, Troy 21

The Wolfpack rolled to an easy win as they placed the bulk of their offense on the back of junior Matt Dayes. The reserve was called into action with North Carolina State’s leading rusher suspended and Dayes delivered, totaling a career-high 126 yards and two touchdowns. The Wolfpack made quick work of the Trojans after jumping out to a commanding 28-7 lead in the middle of the second quarter.

No. 10 Florida State 59, Texas State 16

Making his debut for the Seminoles, Notre Dame-transfer Everett Golson appeared comfortable in his new home, passing for four touchdowns as Florida State eased its way to a win. Despite allowing 300 yards to the visiting Bobcats, Florida State more than doubled their opponent’s total yardage and looked comfortable in their first game without Jameis Winston—the first overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. Embattled running back Dalvin Cook ran for 156 yards on 19 carries and helped break the game open with a pair of touchdowns. 

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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