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ACC coaches tab Deshaun Watson as Player of the Year

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The media, rightly, thought highly of Deshaun Watson when doling out its postseason awards.  Now, the league’s coaches are following suit.

The ACC Wednesday announced its all-league selections and honors as voted on by its head coaches, with the Clemson quarterback taking home the conference’s overall Player of the Year award.  Additionally, and not surprisingly, Watson was named as the Offensive Player of the Year.

Watson received 10 of the 14 first-place votes for overall Player of the Year, with Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams splitting the other two votes.  Watson received 11 first-place votes for the offensive award, followed by Williams’ two and Cook’s one.

Watson’s counterpart on the other side of the ball, Duke safety Jeremy Cash, was named Defensive Player of the Year, while Watson’s sideline boss, Dabo Swinney, took home Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Tigers to a perfect regular season and top seed in the College Football Playoff.  Cash received six first-place votes — Clemson’s Shaq Lawson had five — while Swinney’s 11 easily outdistanced North Carolina’s Larry Fedora‘s three.

Pittsburgh safety Jordan Whitehead was selected as the Defensive Rookie of the Year (nine first-place votes), while his teammate, running back Qadree Ollison, was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year (eight).  With five first-place votes each, Ollison and Whitehead were named co-Rookies of the Year.

Below are the first- and second-team offenses and defenses, again as selected by the conference’s coaches.  One note: coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players for any of the honors. In that vein, Pittsburgh wide receiver Tyler Boyd, with 39 votes (first-place votes are worth three points), was as close to a unanimous first-team selection as you can get, with Cook’s 38 votes not far behind.

First-Team Offense
WR Tyler Boyd, Jr., Pitt (39)
WR Artavis Scott, So., Clemson (34)
WR Isaiah Ford, So., Virginia Tech (26)
TE Jordan Leggett, Jr., Clemson (22)
T Roderick Johnson, So., Florida State (33)
T Adam Bisnowaty, Jr.-R, Pitt (30)
G Landon Turner, Sr., North Carolina (36)
G Eric Mac Lain, Sr.-R, Clemson (30)
C Matt Skura, Sr.-R, Duke (35)
QB Deshaun Watson, So., Clemson (37)
RB Dalvin Cook, So., Florida State (38)
RB Wayne Gallman, So.-R, Clemson (30)
K Roberto Aguayo, Jr.-R, Florida State (32)
Sp. Ryan Switzer, Jr., North Carolina (29)

Second-Team Offense
WR Stacey Coley, Jr., Miami (20)
WR Kermit Whitfield, Jr., Florida State (20)
WR Canaan Severin, Sr., Virginia (17)
TE(tie) Jaylen Samuels, So., NC State ( 15)
TE(tie) Bucky Hodges, So.-R, Virginia Tech (15)
T Jon Heck, Jr.-R, North Carolina (19)
T Joe Thuney, Sr.-R, NC State (19)
G Dorian Johnson, Jr., Pitt (19)
G Caleb Peterson, Jr.-R, North Carolina (17)
C Jay Guillermo, Jr.-R, Clemson (14)
QB Marquise Williams, Sr., North Carolina (23)
RB Elijah Hood, So., North Carolina (29)
RB Qadree Ollison, Fr.-R, Pitt (20)
K Ross Martin, Sr., Duke (14)
Sp. DeVon Edwards, Jr.-R, Duke (23)

First-Team Defense
DE Shaq Lawson, Jr.-R, Clemson (35)
DE Ejuan Price, Sr.-R, Pitt (25)
DT Connor Wujciak, Sr., Boston College (28)
DT Nile Lawrence-Stample, Sr.-R, Florida State (27)
LB Steven Daniels, Sr., Boston College ( 28)
LB Brandon Chubb, Sr.-R, Wake Forest (24)
LB Ben Boulware, Jr., Clemson (24)
CB Jalen Ramsey, Jr., Florida State (36)
CB Mackensie Alexander, So.-R, Clemson (29)
S Jeremy Cash, Sr.-R, Duke (36)
S Jayron Kearse, Jr., Clemson (28)
P Alex Kinal, Sr.-R, Wake Forest (19)

Second-Team Defense
DE Mike Rose, Sr.-R, NC State (16)
DE Sheldon Rankins, Sr., Louisville (14)
DT Luther Maddy, Sr.-R, Virginia Tech (26)
DT Carlos Watkins, Jr.-R, Clemson (17)
LB Keith Kelsey, Jr., Louisville (20)
LB Micah Kiser, So.-R, Virginia (19)
LB(tie) Dwayne Norman, Sr., Duke (17)
LB(tie) Reggie Northrup, Sr., Florida State (17)
CB Artie Burns, Jr., Miami (26)
CB Des Lawrence, Jr., North Carolina (11)
S Quin Blanding, So., Virginia (21)
S Justin Simmons, Sr., Boston College ( 16)
P Riley Dixon, Sr., Syracuse (17)

Miami defense shutting down Pitt; Hurricanes lead 23-3 at half

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It may be hard to believe, but Miami is in position to end the season with nine wins. That assumes, of course, the Hurricanes avoid a second half meltdown against Pittsburgh and close out the year with a bowl win. For now, Miami should be feeling pretty good as the Hurricanes have stomped Pitt in the first half of an early kickoff in western Pennsylvania. Miami took a 23-3 lead into the half.

Miami has more than doubled the total offensive production of the Panthers, outgaining Pitt at halftime 248 yards to 102. The Panthers have just 36 passing yards and 66 rushing yards in the half. Pitt also had a turnover with Nathan Peterman having a pass picked off by Artie Burns.

Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya has completed 13 of 23 pass attempts for 166 yards, with Rashawn Scott on the receiving end of the touchdown play and leading the team with 50 receiving yards. Miami’s Joseph Yardley leads all players with 64 rushing yards. Pitt’s star receiver, Tyler Boyd, has just one catch for eight yards.

Pittsburgh keeps pressure on UNC for ACC Coastal after 31-13 win at Duke

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The Pittsburgh Panthers (7-3, 5-1 ACC) may still need a little help from their ACC friends, but they certainly forced UNC to keep their foot on the gas pedal coming down the stretch of the regular season. Pitt’s 31-13 victory at Duke (6-4, 3-3 ACC) kept the Panthers one game in the loss column of the Tar Heels (UNC had not played yet) as quarterback Nathan Peterman threw three touchdown passes.

After going into halftime tied at 10-10, Pitt took care of business in the second quarter with Peterman tossing a short touchdown pass to J.P. Holtz to take a 17-10 lead at the end of a 10-play, 81-yard drive to open the half. The Panthers again scored through the air on their next possession with Peterman connecting with Dontez Ford. Star wide receiver Tyler Boyd did not put up huge numbers catching the football (three receptions for 38 yards), but Boyd did help out on the ground with 79 rushing yards. Boyd did not catch a pass in the second half. Qadree Ollison was the leading rusher in the game with 110 yards and a score. Pitt’s defense also got the job done, with three turnovers nd holding Duke without a touchdown since the first quarter. Outside of a 77-yard gain by Duke quarterback Parker Boehme, Pitt allowed just 36 rushing yards in the game.

With the win, Pitt continues to keep a shot at the ACC Coastal Division crown alive, depending on what North Carolina does. The Tar Heels have Miami today, with Virginia Tech and North Carolina State each on the road after today. Pitt started the day a game behind North Carolina, and UNC owns the head-to-head tiebreaker to make it more of a two-game lead on the Panthers. With home games against Louisville (next week) and Miami (Nov. 28), Pitt will have a chance to keep the pressure on UCN down the stretch.

Duke is now eliminated from winning the ACC Coastal Division. The loss to the Blue Devils also means we are guaranteed to see a new representative of the division in the  ACC Championship Game out of the Coastal Division. The only teams to represent the division since the first ACC title game in 2005 have been Virginia Tech (five times), Georgia Tech (four) and Duke (one). UNC, Pittsburgh and Miami have yet to play in the game, but are now the only possibilities to play Clemson this year.

Duke now has to shake off a three-game losing streak and will have to do so on the road for the remainder of the season. Duke visits Virginia next week and closes the regular season at Wake Forest.

Week 10, Statistically Speaking

Associated Press
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A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.540 — Winning percentage (20-17) of road teams in Pac-12 conference games this season.

.966 — Winning percentage of Ohio State (28-1) in the last 29 regular season games.  Baylor and Florida State (27-2 each) are next at .931.

5 — Blocked kicks (punts, point afters, field goals) for both Illinois and Temple this season, the most of any FBS team.

6 — Rushing touchdowns for Kenneth Dixon in Louisiana Tech’s 56-13 thumping of North Texas

10 — Number of players who both caught passes and had at least one carry in Michigan’s romp over Rutgers.

Nebraska v Illinois11.2 — Yards per carry Ke'Shawn Vaughn (16-180) and Josh Ferguson (12-133) averaged during Illinois’ 34-point blowout of Purdue.

12 — Different players who caught passes in UCLA’s shutout win over Oregon State and North Carolina’s 35-point win over Duke.

25 — With Frank Beamer retiring at Virginia Tech, and provided he doesn’t do the same, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder will be the longest-tenured FBS head coach at the same school at a quarter of a century next season.  Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops would be next at 18 years, followed by TCU’s Gary Patterson at 16.

29 — Consecutive Big Ten regular season wins for Ohio State, tying Florida State (ACC, 1992-95) for the fourth-longest conference winning streak of all-time.  Oklahoma won 44 straight Big 7/8 games from 1952-59, while OU (Big 8, 1984-88) and Boise State (WAC, 2001-05) are tied for the second-longest streak at 31 straight.

TCU v Oklahoma State32.5 — Yards per catch Oklahoma State’s James Washington has averaged the past three games (15 catches, 487 yards).

39 — Consecutive winning seasons for Florida State, the nation’s longest active streak.

77 — Consecutive games for Oregon in which they’ve thrown a touchdown pass, extending their own FBS record.  Texas Tech (2006-11) had held the previous record at 69 straight before it was broken by the Ducks earlier this year.

207 — Rushing yards for New Mexico State’s Larry Rose III in a win over Texas State, giving him back-to-back 200-yard games and three on the season.

212.7 — Pass efficiency rating for Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson over the last four games (111-144, 1,602 yards, 19 touchdowns, one interception).  Baylor’s Seth Russell currently leads the country at 189.7; Johnson is third at 179.1.

Rice v Baylor216 — Receiving yards for Corey Coleman, the second time in the Baylor receiver’s career is topped 200 yards.  The nation’s leading receiver in yardage, Coleman has topped 100 yards in seven of eight games this season.  He’s also caught two or more touchdowns in seven straight games.

268 — Yards rushing and passing Temple accumulated in rolling up 536 yards of offense in a 60-40 win over SMU Friday night.

404 — Yards passing for North Carolina’s Marquis Williams against Duke in the first half.  Williams would finish with a school-record 494 yards, and set another program standard with 524 yards of total offense.

419 — Yards passing for Jarrett Stidham in his first career start in Baylor’s win over Kansas State Thursday night.

442 — Career-high passing yards for Brandon Allen in Arkansas’ overtime win over Ole Miss.  Is was the second 400-yard game of Allen’s career, both of which have come this season.

Stanford v Washington State497 — Yards passing for Washington State’s Luke Falk in the win over Arizona State.  It’s Falk’s eighth straight game with 300 or more yards, and fifth time this season he’s gone over 400 yards.

518 — Yards of total offense (445 passing, 73 rushing) for Trevone Boykin in TCU’s loss to Oklahoma State.

523 — Career-high passing yards for Gunner Kiel in Cincinnati’s loss to undefeated Houston.

711 — Yards of total offense for Western Michigan in Thursday’s 54-7 win over Ball State, breaking the school single-game record.  The total is the most by a MAC team this season and the seventh-most in conference history.

777 — Yards of total offense (300 passing, 477 rushing) for Oregon in the win over Cal.

1937 — Last year North Carolina State had beaten Boston College in Chestnut Hill prior to Saturday’s 24-8 road win.  NCSU had previously lost six in a row at BC.

Notre Dame v Pittsburgh3,097 — Career receiving yards for Pittsburgh’s Tyler Boyd, breaking the record of 3,061 yards previously held by Antonio Bryant.

9,200 — Number of songs downloaded onto TCU head coach Gary Patterson‘s iPod, at least according to that school’s sports information department.

35,050 — Amount, in dollars, of the highest current bid in an auction for a Leonard Fournette game-used jersey and a pair of game-used helmets signed by Les Miles and Steve Spurrier.  The opening bid, incidentally, was $7,000.  All of the money raised in the auction will go toward the South Carolina flood relief effort.

One final statistical note, in list form, courtesy of the Ohio State sports information department:

Best 50-Game Starts at FBS School
1. 47-3-0 – Urban Meyer, Ohio State (2012-15)
T2. 46-4-0 – Chris Petersen, Boise State (2006-09)
T2. 46-4-0 – Dennis Erickson, Miami (1989-92)
T4. 45-2-3 – Robert Neyland, Tennessee (1926-31)
T4. 45-3-2 – Barry Switzer, Oklahoma (1973-77)
T6. 44-3-3 – Knute Rockne, Notre Dame (1918-23)
T6. 44-6-0 – Dan Hawkins, Boise State (2001-04)
T6. 44-6-0 – Larry Coker, Miami (2001-04)
T6. 44-6-0 – Bob Devaney, Nebraska (1962-66)
T10. 43-6-1 – John Robinson, USC (1976-80)
T10. 43-6-1 – Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma (1947-51)

Kizer throws 5 TDs as No. 5 Notre Dame tops Pitt, 42-30

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Freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer threw five touchdowns to lead No. 5 Notre Dame (8-1) to a 42-30 victory over Pittsburgh (6-3, 4-1 ACC). The win, the largest margin of victory by either team in the series, keeps Notre Dame in the thick of the College Football Playoff conversation, and sets up a favorable run heading down the stretch of the regular season.

Notre Dame did not win this game at full strength though. Running back C.J. Prosise had to leave the game with a possible shoulder injury. There were early reports of a possible concussion, but all head coach Brian Kelly said after the game was Prosise was day-to-day. With Prosise out of action for most of the game, Josh Adams came in to lead the running game, and he did so running for 147 yards on 20 carries.

In the battle of star receivers, the nod also went to Notre Dame. Will Fuller caught seven passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns, compared to Pitt’s Tyler Boyd and his 84 receiving yards and one touchdown.

Notre Dame debuted in the College Football Playoff rankings as the first team out at No. 5 this week, and they could push into the top four next week after LSU or Alabama lose. It goes without saying Notre Dame is a playoff contender, and a pretty darn good one. the next two games come at home, against Wake Forest and Boston College. If all goes according to plan, that should set up a 10-1 Notre Dame in the regular season finale at Stanford in what could very well be a playoff elimination game between the Irish and Cardinal.

This was the second straight loss for the Panthers, but losing a game to Notre Dame means nothing int terms of the ACC Coastal race. Despite losing at home to UNC last week, the Panthers still have a chance to grab the division crown, although they need some help. With the Tar Heels smacking Duke at the same time this game was happening, UNC still needs to lose twice in order for Pitt to creep back to the top of the ACC Coastal, which also means Pitt needs to win their remaining conference games.

Pitt gets a week off to prepare for a road game against Duke. Pitt ends the season with home games against Louisville and Miami.