Florida State Seminoles: Andre Monroe

ACC all-bowl team

January, 9, 2014
Jan 9
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Bowl season was kind to the ACC in a few games (Florida State and Clemson won BCS games), not-so-kind in a few others (Miami, Virginia Tech, we're looking at you) and at least one was a little of both (can we get Texas A&M and Duke every year?). But now that it's all over, we're honoring the best individual performances in the ACC with our all-bowl team.

OFFENSE

QB: Tajh Boyd, Clemson: The big stage hadn't been kind to Boyd through most of 2013, but on the first day of 2014, he was exceptional. Boyd accounted for 505 yards and six touchdowns in a Discover Orange Bowl win over Ohio State, giving the ACC two BCS bowl game victors.

RB: James Conner, Pittsburgh: The freshman tailback carried 26 times against Bowling Green, blowing past Tony Dorsett for the Pitt bowl game record with 229 yards on the ground. For good measure, Conner chipped in on the defensive line for a few snaps, too.

RB: Devonta Freeman, Florida State: It wasn't the most spectacular performance of bowl season -- Freeman wasn't even the best running back on the field in the BCS title game -- but his hard running early kept FSU from falling too far behind, and his final tally -- 11 carries for 73 yards and a TD -- helped Freeman become the first FSU running back since Warrick Dunn to top 1,000 yards on the season.

[+] EnlargeSammy Watkins
Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesOhio State wasn't able to catch Sammy Watkins, as the Clemson WR set multiple Orange Bowl receiving records.
WR: Sammy Watkins, Clemson: Watkins made his last game in a Clemson uniform one to remember, catching an Orange Bowl record 16 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns despite battling an injury for half the game.

WR: Jamison Crowder, Duke: Ho-hum, another 12 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown for Crowder, who turned in one last stellar performance to cap an exceptional season for the Blue Devils.

WR: Rashad Greene, Florida State: The Seminoles' dramatic comeback against Auburn in the BCS championship game wouldn't have been possible without Greene's big day. He was the only FSU receiver with positive yardage in the first half of the game, and his 49-yard reception -- he dodged two tacklers and picked up most of that yardage after the catch -- was the key play on FSU's dramatic last-minute, game-winning drive.

TE: Braxton Deaver, Duke: The junior had six catches for 116 yards, including three grabs that went for 25 yards or more and five that went for first downs.

OL: Dorian Johnson, Pitt: The Panthers simply overwhelmed Bowling Green's defensive front in the Little Caesars Bowl, racking up 487 yards of offense, including 255 on the ground. (Ed. note: We mistakenly included Matt Rotherham here in an initial post. Johnson slid from tackle to guard for the game, replacing Rotherham, and the Pitt line didn't miss a beat. We apologize for the error.)

OL: Jon Heck, North Carolina: Cincinnati entered the Belk Bowl second in the AAC in sacks with 35, but the Bearcats couldn't get to UNC QB Marquise Williams, as the Tar Heels' offense racked up 39 points -- the second-most Cincinnati gave up all season.

OL: Laken Tomlinson, Duke: The Blue Devils racked up 661 yards of total offense and 29 first downs against Texas A&M, with the offensive line -- led by Tomlinson -- paving the way for a 300-yard passer and a 100-yard rusher.

OL: Tre' Jackson, Florida State: Yes, the Seminoles' line allowed four sacks in the game, but Jackson and Co. also helped FSU run for more yards per carry (4.8) than the vaunted Auburn ground game and provided Jameis Winston with plenty of time to throw on a dramatic game-winning drive in the final minute.

C: Macky MacPherson, Syracuse: The Orange rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 1:14 left, to knock off Minnesota in the Texas Bowl. The physically dominant performance on the line was a fitting conclusion to MacPherson's Syracuse career.

DEFENSE

DE: Mario Edwards Jr., FSU: Edwards had one sack and three tackles for loss among his six total tackles for a Seminoles front that turned it up a notch in the second half, allowing the offense to catch up and ultimately escape with the win.

DT: Andre Monroe, Maryland: The Terrapins' finale as an ACC member ended on a sour note with a 31-20 loss to Marshall in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman. Monroe tied for a game-high with 10 total tackles, three of which went for a loss, one of which was a sack. Monroe added a quarterback hurry as well.

DT: Aaron Donald, Pitt: With one more game to go in a historic season, Donald did not disappoint. The senior closed out his career with two tackles for loss, including one sack, to go with a pass break-up in the Panthers' 30-27 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl win over Bowling Green. Donald's sack came on second down of the Falcons' final drive, all but sealing the win.

DE: Vic Beasley, Clemson: Beasley was part of a Tigers front that made life extremely difficult for Braxton Miller and the rest of the Ohio State backfield. Beasley recorded four tackles for loss and a sack among his five total tackles, and in the end Clemson's defense proved to be the difference in a shootout win.

LB: Norkeithus Otis, UNC: The Tar Heels capped their strong second half with a bang, routing Cincinnati 39-17 in the Belk Bowl to make them 6-1 over their last seven games. Otis tallied seven total tackles -- two for loss and one sack among them -- to go with two quarterback hurries.

LB: Jack Tyler, Virginia Tech: UCLA proved to be too much for the Hokies in a 42-12 win in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, but Tyler played well, totaling seven tackles, including half of a sack, to go with one pass break-up and one quarterback hurry.

[+] EnlargeP.J. Williams
AP Photo/Gregory BullP.J. Williams' interception was the big break Florida State needed to create in its come-from-behind victory over Auburn in the BCS title game.
LB: Cameron Lynch, Syracuse: The Orange finished a successful first season in the ACC by topping Minnesota 21-17 in the Texas Bowl. Lynch, a junior, tied for a team-high with eight stops, with most of his big plays coming behind the line of scrimmage. He had two tackles for loss, one sack and a forced fumble to help Syracuse go 7-4 after an 0-2 start in coach Scott Shafer's first year.

DB: P.J. Williams, FSU: The defensive MVP from the Vizio BCS National Championship came up huge when it mattered most, picking off Auburn's Nick Marshall early in the fourth quarter to set up a touchdown that cut the Tigers' lead to one. Williams finished with seven total tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss.

DB: Jemea Thomas, Georgia Tech: Thomas ended his college career with a bang, totaling a game-high 15 tackles. Three of those stops were behind the line of scrimmage, including one sack.

DB: D.J. White, GT: The Yellow Jackets get two more years of White, a future that looked all the brighter in the 25-17 loss to Ole Miss in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. White finished with 13 total tackles, two forced fumbles, one interception and three pass break-ups.

DB: Bryce Jones, Boston College: The Eagles' turnaround campaign under Steve Addazio ended on a down note, falling to Arizona 42-19 in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl, but Jones was a bright spot, with the sophomore notching a team-high 12 tackles, including one for loss.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Chris Blewitt, Pitt: Blewitt went 3-for-4 for the Panthers in Detroit, connecting from 25, 28 and, most important, 39 yards with the game-winning kick with 1:17 left in Pitt's 30-27 win.

P: Tommy Hibbard, UNC: Hibbard was phenomenal for the Tar Heels, punting four times for an average of 44.2 yards per boot. He pinned Cincinnati inside its own 20 three different times, and he had a long of 59 yards in the win.

KR: Levonte Whitfield, FSU: At the time, Whitfield's 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown seemed as if it would go down as one of the greatest returns in BCS championship game history. The touchdown gave Florida State a 27-24 lead with 4:31 to play -- but the lead would change twice more before it was over. Whitfield finished the game with 172 return yards.

PR: Ryan Switzer, UNC: The Tar Heels had a huge day on special teams in a Belk Bowl win over Cincinnati, with Switzer -- an All-American -- leading the way, returning his fifth punt of the season for a touchdown.

ACC Week 13: Did you know?

November, 22, 2013
11/22/13
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As always, a big thank you to ESPN Stats & Info, along with sports information departments across the ACC, for these tidbits.

BOSTON COLLEGE: The Eagles are fifth among FBS schools in red-zone offense through 10 games. They have scored on 21 of 22 chances inside the red zone and are in second place among league opponents. BC has scored 13 touchdowns (six rushing touchdowns and seven passing touchdowns) and has kicked eight field goals to account for their 18 scores from inside the red zone.

CLEMSON: The Tigers play the Citadel for the first time since 2008 and have won the last 15 meetings between the schools, with the Bulldogs' last win coming in 1931, which was their last win over an ACC team. They are 0-48-1 since against current ACC schools, and are 6-66-2 all-time against the conference. Clemson has never lost to a non-FBS team since the NCAA split into divisions in 1978, and is 28-0 in such games (including a win against NAIA Wofford in 1981).

DUKE: Duke beat Wake Forest last year 34-27, also in Winston-Salem, to snap a 12-game losing streak in the series. Now Duke will attempt to win consecutive meetings with Wake Forest for the first time since 1998-99. A close game could be in store as six of the last seven meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer.

FLORIDA STATE: Florida State is outscoring opponents by an average of 41.6 ppg, the second-highest scoring margin in the FBS (Baylor is first at 43.8). Recently, the Seminoles have put games away early. They have outscored their last four opponents in the first half by a combined score of 143-14 (32.2 PPG). Idaho has lost 27 of its last 28 games against BCS AQ opponents, with the lone win over that stretch coming this season against Temple. Prior to that, the Vandals had not won a game against an AQ opponent since 2000, when they defeated Washington State.

GEORGIA TECH: Senior Jeremiah Attaochu (27 career sacks) is four sacks shy of tying the Georgia Tech career record of 31 held by Greg Gathers. With one more sack, Attaochu will tie former Clemson standouts Michael Dean Perry and Gaines Adams for 10th place on the ACC’s all-time sacks list. Of the 12 players in ACC history who recorded more sacks than Attaochu currently has, seven were NFL first-round draft picks.

MARYLAND: The Terrapins have 30 sacks on the season, which is already the most by a Maryland defense since 2003, when the Terps finished with 35. Defensive lineman Andre Monroe led the charge last week at Virginia Tech with a career-best three sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. Monroe is tied for ninth in the ACC with 6.5 sacks and he has recorded 11.5 career sacks in 19 games. His final sack of the contest came in overtime and helped the Terps hold the Hokies to a field goal.

MIAMI: Quarterback Stephen Morris has put up decent numbers during the Hurricanes' losing streak. During this month, Morris has thrown two touchdown passes each game, averaged nearly 300 passing yards per game (298) and has an opponent-adjusted QBR of 85.2 during the losing streak.

NORTH CAROLINA: Freshman Ryan Switzer has the single-season school record with three punt return touchdowns. The ACC single-season record is four by Maryland’s Steve Suter in 2002. The ACC career mark is six, also held by Suter. Three of Switzer’s last five punt returns have gone for touchdowns. The Tar Heels are sixth in the country in punt returns with a 16.33 average. UNC, North Texas and USC are the nation's only schools with three punt return touchdowns.

NC STATE: The Wolfpack entered the season with just 11 returning starters. Since then, NC State has been bitten hard by the injury bug, with a total of 37 games already missed by players who were listed as starters coming into the season. Of those games missed, 29 have come on the offensive side of the ball. In addition, another 10 games have been missed by key skill players on offense. The quarterback and wide receiver positions have been hit especially hard, as quarterbacks have missed seven total games and wide receivers have missed 12.

PITT: The Panthers and Orange have played every season since 1955. The Panthers have won seven of their past eight meetings with the Orange. However, Syracuse triumphed in last year’s game, 14-13, in the Carrier Dome. It was the Orange’s first victory in the series since 2004. Pitt leads the all-time series 34-31-2, but is 14-18-3 at Syracuse.

SYRACUSE: Syracuse and Pitt both rank among the top 20 FBS programs in all-time wins. The Orange are 16th with 703 victories. The Panthers are 19th with 688. Presented every year since 1936, the Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy recognizes the best FBS team in the Northeast. SU has claimed the trophy seven times, most recently in 1998, which is tied with Army for second-most. Pitt is fourth, with six.

VIRGINIA: The win over Miami last year was also the last time Virginia won an ACC game. The Cavaliers have lost eight straight conference games since that win over Miami, including an 0-6 ACC mark this season. Virginia hasn't finished an ACC winless since 1981 (0-6).

WAKE FOREST: Wake Forest has only allowed 28 fourth-quarter points all season, tied for fourth-fewest among FBS schools. It’s the same number of fourth-quarter points that Alabama has yielded. Duke is right behind, allowing just 34 fourth-quarter points on the season, seventh among FBS schools.

ACC's lunchtime links

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
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Football. Tonight.

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
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Happy Monday, folks. Get your week started with some ACC reading.

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