Things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 6:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 13 Miami at Florida State. This hurricane-delayed instate rivalry matchup was supposed to be a preview of the ACC championship game, with Miami (3-0, 1-0) and Seminoles (1-2, 1-1) the preseason picks to win their respective divisions. Hurricane Irma forced its postponement for a few weeks, during which time Miami has run its winning streak to eight while looking the part of a division contender . Florida State hopes it got back on track with its dramatic victory at Wake Forestafter an 0-2 start and coach Jimbo Fisher says “now we’ve got to take the next step.”
BEST MATCHUP: Duke’s defense vs. Virginia’s offense. The Blue Devils (4-1, 1-1) have one of the league’s best defenses, ranking in the top third in three of the four major stat categories. But they’ve been vulnerable to big plays, allowing seven touchdowns of at least 40 yards. The Cavaliers (3-1) have averaged 40 points in their last two games and QB Kurt Benkert has 10 touchdown passes with one interception while averaging 312 yards passing — second only to Louisville’s Lamar Jackson.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: ACC teams are doing a good job of stopping the run, with five teams ranked in the top 20 in run defense — the most of any conference. Sixth-ranked Duke and eighth-ranked North Carolina State lead the way, with Clemson (12), Georgia Tech (18) and Louisville (20) also high in the rankings.
LONG SHOT: Could Wake Forest pull off a stunner against No. 2 Clemson at Death Valley? The Demon Deacons (4-1, 1-1), three-touchdown underdogs to the defending national champions, are only a couple of plays from being 5-0 and might have to hope for a letdown from the Tigers (5-0, 3-0) after their emotionally charged victory at Virginia Tech last week. Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson quipped that “I want to thank the ACC office for thinking that we are a team capable of” playing Florida State and Clemson in consecutive weeks.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Syracuse QB Eric Dungey ranks second in the league in total offense, third in passing yardage and is coming off his school-record eighth career 300-yard passing game against North Carolina State. Next up is a visit from Pittsburgh, which is 12th or worse in the ACC in all four of the main defensive stat rankings.