Things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference for Week 11:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 21 North Carolina State at No. 13 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons (8-1, 5-0 ACC) took their first loss of the season last week, a three-point nail-biter to North Carolina in a nonconference matchup, so they’re still a game ahead of NC State (7-2, 4-1) in the Atlantic Division. Neither team can clinch the division, but the winner will have an edge in all tiebreaker scenarios. The game matches one of the top offenses in the nation against a top-10 defense. The Demon Deacons behind QB Sam Hartman are averaging 44.7 points per game to rank third nationally, and the swarming Wolfpack defense ranks sixth in the country, allowing just 16 points a game. NC State has allowed only two rushing TDs this season.
North Carolina (5-4, 3-3) at No. 25 Pitt (7-2, 4-1) on Thursday night. The Panthers are still atop the Coastal Division despite last week’s four-point home loss to Miami but can’t afford another misstep with Virginia (6-3, 4-2) in close pursuit. Since Pitt joined the ACC in 2013, all seven games between these Coastal Division rivals have been decided by seven points or fewer and both teams have scored exactly 136 points in the past four matchups. This figures to be a high-scoring affair pitting two of the conference’s top quarterbacks. Pitt’s Kenny Pickett has thrown 29 touchdown passes and ranks fifth nationally with 352.3 yards passing per game, while UNC’s Sam Howell has tossed 20 touchdowns and rushed for eight more.
Florida State vs. Miami, even in Tallahassee. Miami has won three straight, is very much in Coastal contention, and can’t afford to falter. It’s Senior Day for FSU, which has lost two straight and is a 2.5-point underdog, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Hurricanes have had decisive wins in the past two meetings with the Seminoles, including 52-10 last year, and have surged behind redshirt freshman QB Tyler Van Dyke, but the previous five games in the rivalry were all decided by five points or less.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
According to ESPN Stats & Info, there are just seven Power Five QBs with 20 touchdowns, 2,000 yards passing and 200 yards rushing – and five are from the ACC. They include Louisville’s Malik Cunningham, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong and Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman.
Virginia QB Brennan Armstrong. His status could come down to a game-time decision when Virginia plays No. 7 Notre Dame on Saturday night. Armstrong, who sustained a rib injury in a loss at BYU prior to last week’s bye, leads the ACC in passing yardage (3,557) and has thrown 27 TD passes.
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