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Around the ACC: Week 8

<p>Josh Jackson and the Virginia Tech offense had little trouble dealing with Duke.</p>

Josh Jackson and the Virginia Tech offense had little trouble dealing with Duke.

No. 13 Virginia Tech 24, Duke 3 

Duke continued their spiral out of bowl contention, dropping their fifth straight game this time to No. 13 Virginia Tech. After losing to a 2-5 Pittsburgh Panthers team with no Power Five wins and a backup quarterback last week, the Blue Devils had low expectations against the Hokies. Although Duke’s defense held their own against Virginia Tech, limiting Hokies' quarterback Josh Jackson to 200 yards and a sub-50% completion percentage. The Duke offense, however, remained stagnant, and only could muster a 31-yard field goal in the second quarter. 

No. 7 Clemson 24, Georgia Tech 10 

This was a bounce back game for No. 7 Clemson after being upset two weeks ago against unranked Syracuse. Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant played hurt, but still managed to throw for 207 yards and two touchdowns against a Georgia Tech defense that hasn’t allowed more than 24 points since their opening loss to then-No. 25 Tennessee. The Yellow Jackets moved the ball on the ground, but the Clemson defense stifled quarterback TaQuon Marshall, as he completed just three passes the entire game. 

No. 8 Miami 24, North Carolina 19 

North Carolina came close to adding a silver lining to an otherwise disappointing season with an upset bid against Miami. The Tar Heels defense allowed no points until less than two minutes before halftime, but in the second half Miami quarterback Malik Rosier caught fire. Rosier threw for 356 yards and three touchdowns to hold off North Carolina who pulled within a touchdown with three minutes left in the game. 

No. 9 Notre Dame 35, No. 14 N.C. State 14 

With a big win Saturday, No. 9 Notre Dame solidified their spot in the College Football Playoff discussion by ending No. 14 N.C. State’s run up the rankings. The Wolfpack entered South Bend undefeated in the ACC, and had a touchdown lead midway through the second quarter. Notre Dame’s defense clamped down from that point on, and the offense gained momentum from running back Josh Adams who rushed for 202 yards. The game started to get away from the Wolfpack at the start of the second half, when quarterback Ryan Finley threw a pick-six. Adams finished off the win with a 77-yard run to push the lead to three touchdowns. 

Wake Forest 42, Louisville 32

At one point this season, Louisville was in the College Football Playoff discussion and quarterback Lamar Jackson was in the Heisman running. Now the Cardinals are 2-4 in ACC play after losing to Wake Forest. On Saturday, Jackson wasn’t even the best player on the field: that distinction belonged to Wake Forest's Greg Dortch, who caught a school-record four touchdowns for 167 yards. Dortch wasn’t the only Demon Deacon to break out against Louisville, as quarterback John Wolford posted one of the most impressive stat lines from any college game this season: Wolford threw for nearly 500 yards, 5 TDs, no interceptions and a near-perfect 98.8 QBR. 

Pittsburgh 31, Virginia 14 

This game featured two teams that had beaten Duke during their five game slide. Losing to a Pittsburgh team at the bottom of the ACC hurt the Blue Devils last week, but the Panthers’ win over Virginia suggests they aren’t as bad as their record. Pittsburgh’s resurgence has hinged on running back Darrin Hall. After rushing for less than 100 combined yards coming into the Duke game, Hall exploded for 254 yards and three touchdowns. He continued his hot streak against the Cavaliers, rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown to lead the Panthers past a Virginia team struggling to score. 

Boston College 35, Florida State 3 

In the most surprising final from this week in the ACC, Boston College blew out a lifeless Florida State team as the Seminoles continued their fall from their preseason top-5 ranking. Florida State backup quarterback James Blackmon struggled to get anything going, as he finished with barely over 100-yards passing and a paltry QBR of 14.1. Florida State running back Cam Akers finished with 47 passing yards thanks to a flea flicker play: almost half of Blackmon’s yards. The Seminoles were outclassed the entire game, trailing 21-3 at the break. The Eagles went winless in conference play last year, and started 0-3 this year. They have rebounded to win three straight. This 35-3 thumping was the first home conference win for seniors at Boston College. 

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