- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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Florida State can lock up a trip to the ACC championship game with a win this week. Virginia Tech or Miami can take a big step toward doing the same when they face off. Maryland can become bowl eligible with a win, too. Here are a handful of other tidbits as we get set for Week 11 in the ACC.
Thanks, as always, to the ACC and each school’s sports information departments for providing many of the stats.
Boston College: After making eight tackles in a win over Virginia Tech last week, Kevin Pierre-Louis now has 73 for the season -- an average of 9.13 per game. That total ranks second, just behind Duke’s David Helton (9.75). A member of the Boston College defense has led the ACC in tackles per game every year since 2009. Pierre-Louis finished third in the ACC last season (9.44).
Duke: With a win over Virginia Tech in its last game, Duke has now won four straight. It’s the second consecutive season in which the Blue Devils have enjoyed a four-game winning streak. Prior to that, Duke hadn’t won four straight in any season since 1994, and it had only won four games total in a year four times in the interim. The last time Duke had winning streaks that long in consecutive seasons was 1988 and 1989.
Maryland: Linebacker Cole Farrand racked up a whopping 23 tackles in Maryland’s last game, a loss to Clemson. That’s not only a career high for Farrand, but it was the most by a player in a single game in the ACC this season and the second-best tally nationally. The last Maryland player to eclipse that total was Scott Rosen, who recorded 30 tackles against North Carolina in 1990.
Miami: The Hurricanes lost star tailback Duke Johnson for the season with a broken ankle in last week’s game against Florida State, but they have a capable alternative in Dallas Crawford. On just 67 carries this season, Crawford has scored nine times. Crawford’s rate of a touchdown every 7.4 rushes is the second best in the ACC behind FSU’s Karlos Williams (one every 7.0 rushes).
Florida State: The Seminoles rank third nationally in third-down conversions in spite of the fact that just 24 percent of their third-down tries need 3 yards or fewer for a conversion (94th nationally). Florida State more than makes up for it by covering a whopping 46 percent of its third-and-longs (7 yards or more), the best ratio in the country and nearly double the national average.
NC State: The Wolfpack have won 11 of the last 12 meetings against Duke, but NC State hasn’t exactly dominated the rivalry between the schools, which are separated by only about 20 miles. Seven of those wins came by a touchdown or less, and in 12 of the last 19 games between the two schools, the margin of victory has been eight points or less, including seven decided by a field goal or less.
North Carolina: Eric Ebron caught nine passes for 70 yards in a win over NC State last week, bringing his season total to 44 receptions and 669 receiving yards. Ebron is just 202 yards shy of breaking the ACC record for receiving yards in a season for a tight end, set by Maryland’s Vernon Davis in 2005. He’s 26 catches shy of the conference record held by Virginia’s Heath Miller, set in 2003. Ebron has had at least four catches and 60 yards in each of his last seven games.
Pittsburgh: Pitt’s recent offensive struggles start with the ground game. Against Old Dominion, New Mexico and Navy, the Panthers racked up 684 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. But against ACC competition, Pitt is averaging just 1.91 yards per carry this year. In games against teams from automatic-qualifier conferences, only Purdue averages less among AQ schools. Pitt finished with minus-5 yards rushing on 21 carries against Georgia Tech last week.
Syracuse: Orange quarterbacks have thrown just two touchdowns against teams from other BCS automatic-qualifier conferences this year to go with 14 interceptions. That’s the worst TD-to-INT rate of any AQ team in the nation in those games. At 4-4, however, the Orange are one of just two teams ranked in the bottom 10 in TD-to-INT ratio with a record of .500 or better (Utah is the other).
Virginia: The Cavaliers lost cornerback Demetrious Nicholson for the season, which is bad news for a secondary that has given up the most passing yards of any ACC team. But while Virginia’s DBs have been picked on, it’s also worth noting that the unit allows just 50.7 percent completions to opposing quarterbacks this year -- the ninth-best mark in the country.
Virginia Tech: Since the start of the 2012 season, Virginia Tech’s defense has intercepted 30 passes, 11th most in the country and tops in the ACC. On the flip side, however, Hokies quarterbacks have thrown 29 interceptions in that span, the ninth most in the nation and tied with North Carolina for the most in the ACC. Virginia Tech has eight turnovers in its last two games (both losses) after going three straight without a turnover (all wins).
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host No. 2 Florida State on Saturday, marking their third matchup against a top-10 team this season (Sept. 28 vs. No. 3 Clemson, Oct. 25 vs. No. 7 Miami). That’s the first time in program history Wake Forest has faced three top-10 teams in the same year. Only twice has under head coach Jim Grobe have the Deacons played even two games against top-10 foes — 2005 and 2012.
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