Wrapping up the opening weekend ACC action

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No. 20 Florida State 59 Samford 6

Tallahassee Heisman hopeful Christian Ponder did not help his stock to start Saturdayafternoons match with Samford. The Seminoles’ first appearance in the red zone ended with a sixyard interception.

Once reality hit, though, Ponder bounced back. He threw four first half touchdowns–three in thesecond quarter–as the ‘Noles went into half time with a 42-3 lead.

Backup quarterback sophomore EJ Manuel came in for relief of Ponder so as topreserve his health after the break.

The second half featured another field goal from Samford kicker Cameron Yaw and apair of rushing touchdowns from FSU.

• No. 16 Georgia Tech 41 South Carolina State 10

The Yellowjackets under head coach Paul Johnson haven’t made any significantchanges. The Georgia Tech defense played well against SC State, holding the offense to zeropoints despite failing to grab a turnover.

The offense was its usual self, as well. Quarterback Josh Nesbitt characteristicallypassed for eight yards through the first half, and the run game accounted for the other 175 yards.

The Yellowjackets headed into half-time with a 20-3 lead, and never looked back. Nesbitt scoredanother rushing touchdown, and Georgia Tech finished with six total rushing touchdowns, fourmore scores than they had pass completions…for the day.

The Bulldogs’ Malcolm Long added a one-yard rushing touchdown for SC State’s lonetouchdown of the afternoon.

Boston College 38 Weber State 20

Last season, Boston College 26-year-old sophomore quarterback Dave Shinskie had arollercoaster of a season. He played well against Wake Forest, Florida State and NC State. Hehad bad games against Notre Dame, Virginia and North Carolina.

Then there was the Virginia Tech game. Shinskie’s passer rating was -22.20. The Hokies caughtmore of Shinskie’s passes than did the Eagles.

In order for BC to turn things around this season, they would need Shinskie to lead the offensesuccessfully. His first pass on Saturday was less than ideal.

Weber State linebacker Taylor Sedillo intercepted Shinskie for seven yards and set upthe Wildcats in the Eagle red zone. They settled for a field goal.

On BC’s next drive, Shinskie completed all three of his passes for 35 yards and a touchdown to

Chris Pantale, wiping away any fear or doubt any Eagle fan could have.

But Shinskie was not yet through scaring Boston College fans. He finished the day a miserable10 of 20 for 187 yards, with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. And this was againstWeber State’s defense, not Virginia Tech or North Carolina.

Eagle running back Montel Harris looked great, finishing with 115 yards and a score,but the Eagles must have Shinskie perform, or it will be another disappointing season for BostonCollege.

Clemson 35 North Texas 10

The big question mark for Clemson heading into their Saturday afternoon battle with NorthTexas was the play of quarterback Kyle Parker. Would he repeat his success from lastyear, or would he crumble under the distraction(s) of becoming a professional baseball player?

Early on, Parker played as well as he could have. He hit two touchdowns through the air toreceiver Brandon Clear and running back Jamie Harper.

The Tigers started their scoring with a 60-yard run in the first quarter by running back AndreEllington.

If the Tiger defense had not got to Mean Green quarterback Nathan Tune four times inthe first half, then Tulane may very well have been tied with Clemson at the break. North Texasalso fumbled, losing yardage, on three separate occasions.

Both running backs Harper and Ellington finished with two scores each, sending all thoughts offormer Tiger CJ Spiller to the wind.

Parker quieted down, finishing with nearly half of his pass attempts being incomplete, one aninterception.

Virginia 34 Richmond 13

Running back Keith Payne was through with football until former Cavalier headcoach Al Groh left and current head coach Mike London stepped in. Boy, isCavalier nation glad he came back.

Payne ran for 108 yards on just fifteen carries for four scores, three of which were in the secondhalf to help UVA pull away from the Spiders.

According to Rivals.com, Payne had three straight carries over 13 yards, each time with defenders on hisback.

Richmond, a perennial FCS powerhouse, had previously beaten Virginia twice in the past fiveyears. The two were within one-point when Virginia led at half-time, 14-13. The last three scoreswere all Payne’s.

NC State 48 Western Carolina 7

NC State quarterback Russell Wilson was in a similar situation as Clemson passerKyle Parker this summer. Wilson was selected in the MLB draft, and missed somepracticing with his Wolfpack teammates because of baseball related events.

But, unlike Parker, Wilson did his part in leading the Wolfpack offense to a ton of points. Hecompleted 21 of 31 passes for 306 yards and four scores, without a blemish.

As for the Wolfpack defense, they did not allow the Western Carolina Catamounts into the redzone. The seven points surrendered by the Wolfpack defense was the fewest amount since NCState’s second game of last season.

Duke 41 Elon 27

In his first career start, Duke quarterback Sean Renfree had a career-day. Renfree passedfor 350 yards and two touchdowns, showing that former Blue Devil quarterback ThaddeusLewis might have been a product of Duke’s offensive system.

Duke had a comfortable lead throughout the entire first half, heading into the break up 27-13.

The third quarter was scoreless, while the fourth featured two scores by each team.

No. 21 LSU 30 No. 18 North Carolina 24

In what many thought would be a blow out, North Carolina held its own and nearly toppled LSU.The Tar Heels rallied from a 30-10 halftime deficit to come within six.

With a successful onside kick, UNC looked like they had all the momentum in the world…untilTar Heel quarterback TJ Yates fumbled, allowing the Tigers to attempt to run out theclock.

If it were only that simple.

North Carolina managed to knock the ball loose with their depleted defense, and recovered thefumble. With 2:17 remaining in the game and on his own 27 yard line, Yates led the Tar Heelsdown the field to mount a comeback.

Yates completed his first five passes of the drive, but with 0:10 left in the game, he threw twoincomplete passes, attempted for tight end Zack Pianalto. Yates finished the gamecompleting 62.2% of his passes for 410 yards and three scores.

LSU turned the ball over four times, yet still escaped with the victory.

It’s only natural to imagine what the end result would have been had North Carolina played their entire team. The Tar Heels were without eight starters, severely limiting their potential as a unit.

Duke dual-threat QB Thomas Sirk suffers ruptured Achilles tendon

Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk (1) looks to pass against North Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk will be out of offseason workouts indefinitely after suffering a ruptured left Achilles tendon this morning. The school announced via Twitter he is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday.

Sirk led the Blue Devils in passing in 2015 with 2,625 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 58.8 percent of his pass attempts. Sirk was also intercepted eight times and was a bit of a mobile threat for Duke. Sirk rushed for 803 yards and eight touchdowns, both good for leading Duke’s rushing attack last season.

In the absence of Sirk, that should give Parker Boehme, a redshirt sophomore, and Nicodem Pierre, a freshman in 2015, a chance to get some extra reps in spring football practices. Duke is scheduled to open spring football practices on March 5, which is later than the team has typically opened spring practices. Duke is not scheduled to have a traditional spring game but will have a spring football event on April 9.

Stanford DL coach Randy Hart steps into retirement

Stanford coach David Shaw prepares to lead his team onto the field for an NCAA college football game against Oregon State, in Corvallis, Ore., Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez)
AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez
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With the assistant coaching carousel continuing to spin rapidly, one key position has just opened up out west. Stanford announced the retirement of defensive line coach Randy Hart Tuesday morning.

“I am honored and blessed to have been at so many great places with so many fantastic coaches, student-athletes and fans,” Hart said in a released statement. “And for that, I’m one of the luckiest coaches ever. I have loved each one of my players, and have enjoyed working with every staff member throughout the years. Everyone has to make this decision at some point in time, and this was the right time for me and my family.”

Hart spent the final six years of his coaching career with Stanford during a highly successful run for the program. With Hart on the staff, Stanford’s defense was one of the top defensive units on an annual basis. Hart also spent time coaching at Ohio State, Notre Dame, Washington, Purdue, Iowa State, and Tampa. Hart played for Ohio State under the legendary head coach Woody Hayes. It was with Hayes and the Buckeyes that Hart got his coaching career started as a graduate assistant in 1970 and 1971. He later rejoined the Buckeyes staff in 1982 and stayed there until 1987 when he left for Washington and later took on a role as defensive coordinator.

“Randy’s career speaks for itself when you look at a national championship, Rose Bowls and all of the players he helped get to the NFL,” said Stanford head coach David Shaw. “It has been a privilege for me to watch him push young men to be their best athletically, as well as academically, and prepare them for life.

NFL banning college players with domestic violence, sexual assault convictions from combine

FILE - This Oct. 25, 2014, file photo shows Michigan defensive end Frank Clark (57) breaking through the Michigan State line during the first half of an NCAA college football game in East Lansing, Mich. Defensive end Frank Clark has been dismissed from the Michigan football team after being accused of domestic violence in Ohio over the weekend. The 21-year-old Clark pleaded not guilty Monday, Nov. 17, 2014,  to charges of assault and domestic violence. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File
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A new NFL rule will prevent college football players turning pro from attending the NFL Scouting Combine and the NFL Draft if they have been convicted of domestic violence or sexual assault. The NFL will also refuse opening the doors for any NFL-sanctioned event if a player chooses not to submit to a background check.

“It is important for us to remain strongly committed to league values as we demonstrate to our fans, future players, coaches, general managers, and others who support our game that character matters,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent wrote in a memo to all NFL teams last month, according to USA Today.

The number of players each year affected by the rules should be minimal on a year-to-year basis, but it is interesting to see how that could impact the draft outlook of prospects moving forward if they get mixed in some legal trouble off the college football field. As noted by USA Today, the rule would have prevented Michigan linebacker Frank Clark, a second-round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks, from attending the scouting combine in Indianapolis. Clark pleaded guilty to a domestic violence incident while at Michigan.

The policy adopted by the NFL will be intended to add further consequence for players getting in trouble in college with the hope of changing the image of the NFL player moving forward. As mentioned, this is expected to have minimal impact as only a select percentage of players are invited to the combine, and an even smaller percentage are invited to the NFL Draft. If nothing else though, it is one more consequence that will come from any involvement from a domestic or sexual assault in college.

It would be interesting to see if the NCAA or conferences will be inspired to build off this NFL policy. The NFL policy does not prevent players with a checkered past from attending pro day events or other private workouts. There is no indication whether any conference or the NCAA would consider such a policy on top of existing rules and policies related to domestic violence or sexual assaults. Would a conference adopt a policy that could extend the policy on their campuses to pro day events? Would that even be fair? Or is that going too far?

Tennessee self-reports minor NCAA violations in football program

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones watches as his team warms up before the start of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
AP Photo/Wade Payne
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The Tennessee football program committed three recruiting violations between 2014 and January 2016, but do not expect the Vols to be having any NCAA hammer dropped on them. The NCAA has already accepted the school’s self-imposed sanctions and is moving on. The four minor violations were among 18 NCAA violations submitted to the NCAA according to The Knoxville News Sentinel.

One violation that was self-reported resulted in a one-game suspension for secondary coach Willie Martinez. Martinez served his one-game suspension during Tennessee’s season-opener last fall against Bowling Green. Green was found to have had impermissible contact with a junior recruit during a spring evaluation period in 2014. That violation was discovered by the NCAA offices.

Two other violations reported by Tennessee involved the publicity of recruits making visits to the school. In one, a recruit and his family entered a Tennessee behind football head coach Butch Jones. As Jones waved to the applauding crowd, Tennessee admitted this may have been construed as an acknowledgment of the unnamed recruit. As a result, Tennessee was cut off from having contact with the recruit until the eve of signing day. Another violation came when a mid-year enrollee posted a picture of himself on Twitter. A recruit on an official visit was also in the picture. Tennessee asked for light punishment for the violation as that player was not properly educated on the policies regarding recruits on visits.

The fourth violation from the football program involved complimentary tickets. A walk-on player was given a full allotment of tickets for a home game against Chattanooga despite that player’s certification expiring. That unnamed player was thus ruled ineligible for the remainder of the season.

These types of violations tend to be ticky-tack penalties according to the NCAA rule book, and can sometimes happen without even thinking. The sEC and NCAA accepted the self-imposed sanctions implemented by Tennessee for the football violations and the violations in other sports, and no further action is expected. In the end, Tennessee gets a light slap on the wrist and moves on.