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ACC Report Cards: Week 2

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It seems more and more likely that Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas never will bounce back to his 2011 form. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.
It seems more and more likely that Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas never will bounce back to his 2011 form. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

Atlantic Division

Clemson

Result: Win, 52-13 vs. South Carolina State

It was a solid performance by the Tigers, who came out slowly but scored three touchdowns in quick succession to put the game away in the second quarter. Not sure why Tajh Boyd is risking himself on a quarterback sneak at the 1-yard line, but alas. Cole Stoudt was perfect in relief, completing 19 of 20 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Clemson climbed to No. 3 in the AP poll, which is rarefied air for an ACC team.

Grade: B

Maryland

Result: Win, 47-10 vs. Old Dominion

Stefon Diggs is on his way to a monster season with 11 catches for 277 yards and two touchdowns in two games. Before dismissing Maryland’s early-season offensive output as a schedule-induced condition, it’s important to remember the Terps scored just seven points against William & Mary last season and averaged 20 points per game in 2012. This is the first time in the Maryland history that it scored 40 points in its first two games.

Grade: B+

North Carolina State

Result: Win, 23-21 vs. Richmond

N.C. State had to overcome a double-digit deficit and kick a 48-yard field goal with time running out to avoid becoming the latest team to lose to an FCS squad. It’s not a complete disgrace  — the Spiders are ranked 15th in the FCS poll. N.C. State quarterback Pete Thomas did a decent job in his first career start, but it is hard to imagine the Wolfpack winning too many games this season. Freshman Bryant Shirreffs played sparingly and scored two touchdowns, so it will be interesting to see if a platoon forms at the quarterback position.

Grade: C

Wake Forest

Result: Loss, 24-10 at Boston College

Tanner Price and the new-look offense did not have much success against a quality ACC defense, and that does not bode well going forward for the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest lined up star receiver Michael Campanaro all over the field and, despite his best efforts with five catches for 86 yards, he failed to ignite the offense. Wake mustered just 55 yards on 39 carries and had issues hanging onto the football. Using Price in a read-option situation makes little sense and points are hard to come by.

Grade: D+

Boston College

Result: Win, 24-10 vs. Wake Forest

This was an encouraging performance by the Eagles' defense, which has shined through two games under the guidance of Don Brown. Kevin Pierre-Louis was in beast mode, flying all over the field and registering 11 tackles. BC played mistake-free football for the most part, committing zero penalties and just one turnover. Andre Williams racked up 204 yards on 35 carries and helped the BC offense chew clock in the second half. The Eagles have an interesting test at USC next week.

Grade: B+

Syracuse

Result: Loss, 48-27 at Northwestern

Problems all over the field doomed Syracuse against a Big 10 foe for the second straight week. This one was over by halftime as the Wildcats racked up 397 yards of offense in the first half en route to a 34-7 lead. The Orange offense got going in the second half, but the game was well out of hand. Drew Allen was a disaster again, tossing four picks before being replaced by Terrell Hunt late. A quarterback controversy of the worst kind could be emerging with cupcakes Wagner and Tulane next on the schedule.

Grade: C-

Coastal Division

North Carolina

Result: Win, 40-20 vs. Middle Tennessee State

Another underwhelming performance by the Tar Heels, who displayed little rhythm on either side of the ball. The final offensive stats (511 total yards) looked fine, but the continuity just wasn’t there. Quarterback Bryn Renner was sacked twice and the running game (3.3 yards per carry) struggled to open holes against an inferior opponent. If the Tar Heels didn’t win the turnover battle 4-2, including a significant interception by Tre Boston at the goal line, the game may have been even closer.

Grade: C+

Miami

Result: Win, 21-16 vs. No. 12 Florida

What a difference a year makes. A year ago almost to the day, the Hurricanes defense was being embarrassed in a 51-13 loss to Kansas State. Saturday, the defense willed Miami to a win that didn’t appear likely as the game progressed. The Hurricanes were outgained 413-212, but played a bend-but-don’t-break style of defense to persevere. A few of the Gators’ five turnovers were self-inflicted and their red zone effectiveness was a disaster, but Miami deserves credit for making Jeff Driskel uncomfortable for most of the afternoon. For all the preseason hype Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson received, the offense has to improve. Both did little in the landmark victory.

Grade: B+

Virginia Tech

Result: Win, 45-3 vs. Western Carolina

This is beginning to get serious for the Hokies. Sure, the 45-3 win looks great in the box score, but Logan Thomas quickly is becoming a turnover machine and far more of a liability than an asset. Thomas threw two picks in the end zone and completed just 55 percent of his throws against a defense that gave up 45 points the week before at Middle Tennessee State. Virginia Tech’s defense picked up right where it left off against Alabama and obliterated the Catamounts, forcing three interceptions and eight punts in 14 drives.

Grade: B-

Virginia

Result: Loss, 58-10 vs. No. 2 Oregon

The Cavaliers won a fair share of battles against the Ducks, but lost the war in a big way. Virginia was able to control the line of scrimmage to a certain degree, but the playmaking ability of Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas on the outside was too much to handle. Virginia gave up four touchdowns of 30 yards or more and 8.8 yards per carry. The Cavaliers offense remains the bigger concern; for the second straight week, David Watford (three interceptions) looked uncomfortable and there was no semblance of a consistent running game.

Grade: C

Duke

Result: Win, 28-14 vs. Memphis

A costly win for the Blue Devils as Anthony Boone broke his collarbone on a read-option play in the second quarter and did not return. It took a while for Duke to get things going, but the defense kept the score at 7-7 for large portions of the game. Backup quarterback Brandon Connette (14/21, 198 yards and two touchdowns) came in, and after a few rusty drives, led Duke on three touchdown drives in the second half. The Blue Devils reached 2-0 for the first time since 1998 with the win.

Grade: B-