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ACC Report Cards: Week 1

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Quarterback Anthony Boone and Duke get an A- grade for the 45-0 win against North Carolina Central. Photo by Lance King/Getty Images.
Quarterback Anthony Boone and Duke get an A- grade for the 45-0 win against North Carolina Central. Photo by Lance King/Getty Images.

Atlantic Division

Clemson

Result: Win, 38-35 vs. No. 5 Georgia

The Tigers finally broke through against an upper-echelon team, holding off a hard-charging Georgia. The game could have gone either way, but Clemson made enough plays — including winning the turnover battle 4-2 — at home to secure the victory. Tajh Boyd looked every bit the Heisman part, which is great news for Tigers fans going forward.

Grade: A-

Florida State

Result: Win, 41-13 at Pittsburgh

There was only one question mark heading into the season for the Seminoles, and that was at the quarterback position. Jameis Winston put those to rest with a ridiculous performance (25-for-27, 356 passing yards, five total touchdowns). He was fantastic under pressure against a decent Pittsburgh front four.

Grade: A

Maryland

Result: Win, 43-10 vs. Florida International

The Terrapins did exactly what they were supposed to do against the Golden Panthers. To continue the quarterback theme, C.J. Brown looked awesome in his return, guiding the offense to 40 points in the first half. He also tallied five total touchdowns and accounted for 386 yards of offense.

Grade: A-

North Carolina State

Result: Win, 40-14 vs. Louisiana Tech

Despite a number of new faces, the Bulldogs are no pushover and this was an impressive win for the Wolfpack. N.C. State did lose starting QB Brandon Mitchell, who led scoring drives on both of his series. While Pete Thomas had his shaky moments under center, the running game really stepped up. The duo of freshman Matt Dayes and Tony Creecy accounted for four touchdowns on 30 carries for 131 yards.  

Grade: B+

Wake Forest

Result: Win, 31-7 vs. Presbyterian

While it took a little while to get the offense going, the Demon Deacons finally pulled away from their FCS opponent. The defense did its job, holding the visitors to 151 total yards and forcing seven turnovers. The offense failed to fully capitalize on their opportunities without leading receiver Michael Campanaro.  

Grade: B-

Boston College

Result: Win, 24-14 vs. Villanova

The Eagles nearly became the eighth team to be upset by a FCS squad last weekend, overcoming a slow start top the Wildcats. Villanova moved the ball pretty well for large parts of the game, but three turnovers in its last four possessions doomed the upset bid. Alex Amidon had a huge game for BC, hauling in 13 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. Chase Rettig took care of the ball and completed more than 76 percent of his throws for the win.

Grade: C-

Syracuse

Result: Loss, 23-17 vs. Penn State (Metlife Stadium)

The Orange defense kept the team in the game, holding Penn State to 1-for-16 on third downs despite the game-long struggles of quarterback Drew Allen. Syracuse would have liked to take advantage of Christian Hackenberg’s first start a little more, but the true freshman made enough plays to win given how much Syracuse struggled to move the ball both on the ground and through the air.

Grade: C+

Coastal Division

North Carolina

Result: Loss, 27-10 at South Carolina

The Tar Heels appeared overmatched by their SEC opponents for most of the contest. The score might have been far worse had it not been for the lightning delay that grounded the pace to a halt once the game restarted. Bryn Renner was forced to check down and scramble all evening and never was comfortable in the pocket. The defensive line got pushed around whenever the Gamecocks needed a big play.

Grade: C-

Miami

Result: Win, 34-6 vs. Florida Atlantic

Apart from the usual explosiveness of Duke Johnson, the Hurricanes appeared sluggish in their win over the Owls. The defense dropped a couple of interceptions, the receivers dropped more than a couple of big passes and the defensive line again failed to get much pressure on the opposition. That's the difference between a 30-point and a 50-point win over an FCS opponent, but those factors will become the difference between winning and losing games once conference play begins.

Grade: C

Georgia Tech

Result: Win, 70-0 vs. Elon

Pretty flawless performance from the Yellow Jackets in their opener. It must be fun running the same five plays for an entire game and having the opposition not be able to stop them whatsoever. Vad Lee looks the part after one game and made some pretty solid throws in the pocket as well.

Grade: A

Virginia Tech

Result: Loss, 35-10 vs. Alabama (Georgia Dome)

While the score line would indicate Virginia Tech was a victim of yet another beat-down by the Crimson Tide, that wasn’t the case. The Hokies were victims of a few splash plays: a punt return, a kickoff return and an interception return all for touchdowns. Those plays blew the game open, but when the two teams were under center it was competitive. The defense did an awesome job of containing Alabama’s vaunted running game and making A.J. McCarron uncomfortable throwing the ball. The biggest concern is the performance of Logan Thomas (5-for-26), who had an embarrassingly bad game

Grade: B-

Virginia

Result: Win, 19-16 vs. BYU

Gutty win by the Cavaliers in a game that featured just about everything in an intense defensive battle. They would have liked to see more out of on offense that was held to 223 yards and needed a late interception to be in position, but the heavy rain and a solid defense prevented that from occurring. If the Cavaliers make a bowl game, it might be this one that made the difference.

Grade: B+

Duke

Result: Win, 45-0 vs. North Carolina Central

Solid performance all the way around by Duke. Anthony Boone looked good in his first game at quarterback. The running game got going and helped the Blue Devils blow the game open, and the defense shut out their FCS opposition and never allowed them to get in the red zone.

Grade: A-

Pittsburgh

Result: Loss, 41-13 vs. Florida State

The Panthers found out the hard way that Winston is the real deal, never coming up with an answer to any question the sensational true freshman asked their defense. Pittsburgh allowed 533 yards of total offense and gave up a brutal seven out of 11 third-down conversions. Aside from the usual Devin Street highlight play, there was little to get excited about from the home side’s point of view.

Grade: D+