Let’s be clear, this was not a banner performance for the Hokies. They have too much talent to be pressed by a team like North Carolina. Even so, winning on the road in the ACC can be tricky. Credit Justin Fuente’s squad for escaping Chapel Hill with a victory. The real issue for the Hokies is that they are putting too much pressure on Ryan Willis. He led the team in passing and rushing against Carolina’s mediocre defense. The offense has to find a more reliable running back if they’re going to beat better opponents down the stretch.
Dave Doeren’s team holds at No. 3 this week pretty comfortably. Virginia Tech’s narrow win over North Carolina isn’t enough to get them near the Wolfpack. Next week is obviously the huge matchup for NC State. They travel to Clemson with a massive chance to pull off a program-changing upset. It also represents a chance for Ryan Finley to really raise his stock with NFL scouts.
This was an ugly win for Brian Kelly’s team. Pittsburgh’s defense played them tough, but it has to be said that Ian Book really had a bad game for the Irish. He made the plays he needed to late in the fourth quarter, but he can’t afford to play this poorly against better competition. Notre Dame’s inability to run the ball against the Panthers has to be concerning for the coaching staff. 38 carries for 80 yards is an ugly stat line. Look for the Irish offensive line to get a lot of aggressive coaching from Kelly this week.
Editor’s note: Notre Dame is not a full member in the ACC, but they’re included in this for playing a partial schedule, and this is just for fun.
The Tigers headed into the bye with plenty of momentum after crushing Wake Forest on the road. Dabo Swinney’s full attention is on NC State now though. He realizes the challenges the Wolfpack can pose his team. Fortunately, his team also got a bye to prepare for the massive ACC showdown. Expect Clemson’s passionate fan base to be wound up for the game on Saturday.