Atlantic Coast Conference News and Notes

11:47 AM, Nov 26, 2012   |    comments
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BOSTON COLLEGE: Rolandan Finch had 19 carries for 144 yards and one TD, but it wasn't enough, as Boston College closed out its 2012 season with a 27-10 loss to NC State. He accounted for almost half of the team's total offensive output in the game, as the Eagles managed a mere 322 yards. Quarterback Chase Rettig, who started the season with so much promise, closed it out with a game to forget. He completed just 16-of-45 pass attempts, for 123 yards, with three interceptions. There were some highlights on an otherwise dismal season, namely the play of wide receiver Alex Amidon on the offensive side of the ball and linebacker Nick Clancy on defense. Both should garner All-ACC honors this season, as Amidon finished the year with 75 catches, for 1,175 yards and seven TDs, while Clancy led the team with 124 tackles, with 10 PBUs. With the loss to the Wolfpack, Boston College closed out its season just 2-10 overall thanks to a four-game losing streak. The school's worst season in 34 years has cost head coach Frank Spaziani his job.

CLEMSON: The Tigers' 13-game home win streak came to a crashing halt this past weekend, as the team dropped a 27-17 decision to arch rival South Carolina in Death Valley. The usually dynamic Clemson offense got off to a fast start, but could only must three points over the final three quarters in the loss. The team managed just 328 yards of total offense, as quarterback Tajh Boyd had one of his worst games in recent memory, completing just 11-of-24 passes, for 183 yards, with one TD and two INTs. All-American candidate DeAndre Hopkins caught that touchdown pass, but it was his only catch in the game (43 yards). Still, it was his ninth straight game with a TD reception, an ACC record. Hopkins ends the regular season with a school-record 16 TD receptions. Hopkins enters the postseason needing just one TD reception to tie the ACC mark (17 - Duke's Clarkston Hines in 1989) and six yards to break Sammy Watkins' school-record for receiving yards in a season (1,219) set last year.

FLORIDA STATE: The Sunshine State showdown between Florida and Florida State certainly had its momentum swings, but ultimately, five FSU turnovers and the Gators' dominance in the fourth quarter proved to be too much in Tallahassee this past weekend, as Florida posted a 37-26 win on the road. The loss ended any notion of Florida State playing for the national title, but has not hurt its chances of a BCS Bowl, as the team takes on Georgia Tech this week in the ACC Championship Game with an Orange Bowl bid on the line. Still, Jimbo FIsher has some work to do this week, as his team, which had been so good on both sides of the ball this season, faltered in both areas in the finale, managing just 300 yards of offense, while allowing almost 400, including 244 yards rushing by UF. Quarterback EJ Manuel struggled big time, completing 18-of-33 passes, for just 182 yards, with one TD and three INTs. With the loss, the Seminoles fell to 10-2 on the season, having already secured the ACC's Atlantic Division crown at 7-1 in-conference.

MARYLAND: The Terrapins finally got things going offensively, but it wasn't enough in a 45-38 shootout loss at North Carolina to close out the year. Freshman Brandon Ross rushed for 141 yards and one TD, while fellow freshman Stefon Diggs finished with 248 all-purpose yards, including a 99-yard kickoff return for a TD in the setback, the team's sixth straight to close out the year. Randy Edsall's squad struggled for much of the season because of serious injury issues at the quarterback position. Converted linebacker Shawn Petty lined up under center once again in the season-finale, completed just 16-of-35 passes, for 208 yards and one TD against one INT. Maryland finishes year two under Edsall at 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the ACC.

NC STATE: Despite the Wolfpack knocking off Boston College 27-10 last weekend to end the regular season at 7-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play, the school has decided to go in another direction, announcing Sunday that head coach Tom O'Brien has been relieved of his duties after six years at the helm in Raleigh. O'Brien went just 22-26 against the rest of the ACC during his time with NC State. He posted just one winning record in ACC play during his six seasons and his record of 40-35 was a big deceiving, considering eight of those victories came against FCS competition. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will serve as interim head coach for the team's bowl season.

WAKE FOREST: The Demon Deacons' last chance at bowl eligibility has come and gone, following a lopsided loss to Vanderbilt (55-21) in the regular-season finale. Wake Forest managed just 310 yards of total offense in the loss, while allowing the Commodores to churn out 432 yards. Quarterback Tanner Price finished just 17-of-36 passing, for 182 yards. Standout WR Mike Campanaro led the team with eight catches, for 98 yards, while tailback Deandre Martin led the way with 72 yards and one TD on the ground. Wake was able to force three turnovers in the game, including two by Chibuikem Okoro, who had an interception in the first half and a fumble recovery later that he returned for a touchdown. With the loss, Jim Grobe's squad finished 5-7 overall and ended a season with three straight losses for the first time since 2004.


DUKE: Senior quarterback Sean Renfree completed 36-of-59 passes, for 432 yards and four touchdowns (all career-highs), but the Blue Devils came up just short in a 52-45 shootout loss against Miami-Florida in the regular-season finale for both squads. Wide receivers Jamison Crowder and Conner Vernon had big days. Crowder finished with 203 yards and two touchdowns, while Vernon had 11 catches, for 109 yards and two scores of his own. Crowder had a 99-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter of the game, marking the longest offensive play in school and ACC history. With the loss, Duke finishes up at 6-6 overall and 3-5 in conference play. With a new contract in hand, head coach David Cutcliffe will await his team's bowl destination, Duke's first since 1995.

GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets had more yardage than the Bulldogs and held the ball for almost 40 minutes in the game, but were never really in the contest with rival Georgia this past weekend, falling in a lopsided 42-10 decision in Athens. Despite not having a key piece to the rushing attack with Orwin Smith sidelined by injury, Georgia Tech's triple-option still managed to put up 306 yards against Georgia. Despite the loss in the season-finale, and a 6-6 overall record, Tech still has an opportunity to earn a BCS bowl bid, as the Yellow Jackets will participate in the ACC Championship game this weekend against Florida State with an Orange bowl bid on the line. Regardless of this week's outcome, Georgia Tech is bowl eligible for the 16th straight season.

MIAMI-FLORIDA: In a game that featured 1,229 yards, the Hurricanes outlasted the Duke Blue Devils in a shootout in Durham, 52-45. With the win, Miami moved to 7-5 overall and 5-3 in ACC play, capturing a share of the Coastal Division title. However, due to self-imposed sanctions, the school will not participate in the postseason this year. The season-finale was a remarkable offensive performance for Miami, which amassed 646 total yards. Freshman tailback Duke Johnson was electric, finishing with 176 yards on just 16 carries (11.0 ypc), with three touchdowns. With the big day, Johnson finished the year with 947 yards, breaking Clinton Portis' 13-year old freshman rushing record (838 yards). Johnson has amassed 2,060 all-purpose yards, the second most in school history (2,108 by McGahee in 2002). Quarterback Stephen Morris provided a balanced passing game with 369 yards and three more scores. Morris finished the year with 3,345 passing yards, the fifth most in school history.

NORTH CAROLINA: The Tar Heels will also not participate in the postseason, albeit following NCAA sanctions. Still, that did not prevent Larry Fedora's squad to close out the 2012 season in spectacular fashion, posting a 45-38 shootout win on the road in the season-finale at Maryland. Like the Hurricanes, North Carolina (8-4) finished 5-3 in conference play by ineligible to claim the Coastal Division crown although the Tar Heels would have won the tie-breaker with Miami and Georgia Tech. Quarterback Bryn Renner had a superb game, completing 28-of-39 passes, for 305 yards and five TDs. Wideout Quinshad Davis was the main recipient of Renner's production, hauling in nine balls, for 135 yards and two TDs. Tailback Giovani Bernard finished his season just as strong, rushing for 163 yards and one score.

VIRGINIA: After an eight game season a year ago, Virginia limps into the offseason following a 2012 campaign that saw Mike London's team finish 4-8 overall following last weekend's 17-14 loss to arch rival Virginia Tech. It was a 29-yard field goal by Tech that proved to be the difference, as the Cavaliers lost to the Hokies for the ninth straight time. The offense was stifled by the Hokies, as Virginia managed a mere 217 total yards, including just 30 on the ground. Michael Rocco handled the majority of the snaps under center, completing 14-of-29 passes, for 177 yards, with one TD and one INT. Tim Smith had the biggest day on the offensive side of the ball, catching four balls, for 79 yards and one TD.

VIRGINIA TECH: It took to the very end of the regular season, but the Hokies became bowl eligible when Cody Journell's 29-yard field goal went through the uprights with four seconds remaining, giving Virginia Tech its sixth win of the season, a 17-14 victory. Quarterback Logan Thomas completed just 18-of-38 passes, for 129 yards and one TD, but added another 89 yards rushing with a second score. The Hokies are now bowl eligible for the 20th straight season, the third longest current active bowl streak in the FBS.

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