It was a busy weekend across the state as far as college football action, with most of the major programs facing big-time conference matchups. Here’s your rundown of the weekend’s action.
Wake Forest, off to an undefeated start to the regular season, officially opened conference play at Boston College on Saturday. The Demon Deacons opened up the game with a 10-0 lead, but Boston College regained momentum thanks to two second quarter touchdown passes by the Eagles’ Anthony Brown and took a 17-17 tie into the halftime break.
A monster 20-play, 78 yard drive spanning nearly seven minutes gave the Deacons a 20-17 lead midway through the fourth. After forcing a crucial third-down stop—the Eagles were 2-12 despite outgaining Wake Forest by nearly 100 yards—quarterback Jamie Newmann lofted a deep pass to Scotty Washington, who snagged it in the end zone for the touchdown. Wake would go on to win 27-24 and now sit at 5-0.
Moving on to Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels hosted defending national champion Clemson in the ultimate test for Mack Brown’s young squad. The Tigers entered as four touchdown favorites, but the Tar Heels gave the Tigers everything they could handle. Tied at 14 in the fourth quarter, Heisman hopeful Trevor Lawrence hit Tee Higgins in stride for what would ultimately be the game-winning touchdown.
Still, the Heels did not back down. Riding a crowd that had induced several Clemson false starts, quarterback Sam Howell led a 16 play, eight minute drive that included two fourth down conversions. Running back Javonte Williams forced his way in for six with 1:16 remaining, and Brown elected to go for two. Running an option sweep, the Heels were stuffed at the two-yard line and Clemson escaped with the 21-20 victory. Their winning streak now sits at 20 games.
The Duke Blue Devils, in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year after the departure of quarterback Daniel Jones, are now at 3-1 and playing tremendous football after beating Virginia Tech 45-10 in Blacksburg. Even with the Hokies on the decline, it’s not often that Virginia Tech gets thumped by 35 points at home.
The Hokies led after the end of the first quarter, but it was all downhill from there. Duke quarterback Quentin Harris threw for two touchdowns on back-to-back drives to open up a 14-3 lead, and a double pass gave Deon Jackson an easy 25-yard touchdown reception right before halftime. Duke eventually extended its lead to 31-3 before letting off the gas near the end of the third quarter. Besides their loss in Week One against Alabama, the Blue Devils have been sharp on offense and dominant on defense.
Wrapping up in-state ACC play, the NC State Wolfpack were whipped by Florida State in an absolute must-win game for the Seminoles. Floundering under the leadership of head coach Willie Taggart, FSU responded to national ridicule with a 31-13 win over the Wolfpack. It was a disappointing start to conference play for NC State, which entered the season with high hopes and now sits at 3-2. The Wolfpack have a bye next week, then travel to Syracuse for a Thursday night matchup with the Orange.
Outside of the ACC, Appalachian State continues to make its claim as the best football team in the state, behind the Panthers. The Mountaineers, playing on Saturday night in front of a packed Kidd-Brewer Stadium, dispatched Coastal Carolina 56-37 after an hour-long lightning delay. The Mountaineers finished with five rushing touchdowns on the night.
In Greensboro, NC A&T crushed Delaware State on Thursday night, 37-0. The Aggies are now 3-1, their only loss to Duke. Meanwhile, the Guilford College Quakers lost 26-7 against Shenandoah and are 1-3.