Previewing Week 1 in ACC Football



Thursday, September 1
Charlotte (0-0, 0-0 C-USA) at #19/23 Louisville (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
7 p.m. | RSN | ACC Network ExtraPapa John’s Cardinal Stadium (55,000)


The Series: First meeting
The Coaches:  Brad Lambert: 12-22 (4th year) at Charlotte and overall; Bobby Petrino: 58-18 (7th year at Louisville); 100-39 (12th year) overall
Last week:  Season opener for both teams

Of note: Louisville is coming off an 8-5 season that included victories in six of its final seven games ... The Cardinals return nine starters on offense and eight on defense from that 2015 squad, which lost three games by seven or fewer points ... Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino has averaged 9.7 wins per year in his six seasons with the Cardinals ... Charlotte, led by former Wake Forest assistant coach Brad Lambert, finished 2-10 in its first year as a full-fledged FBS member last season, dropping its final 10 games of the season ... The 49ers launched their football program under Lambert’s watch in 2013 and compiled a 5-6 record in each of his first two seasons ... Charlotte returns nine starters on each side of the ball ... The Cardinals will be the 49ers’ first-ever ACC opponent and one of five teams on Charlotte’s 2016 schedule that participated in a bowl game last season.

Ones to watch:  Charlotte senior NT Larry Ogunjob tied for second in Conference USA with a school-record 14.5 tackles for loss last season ...  He ranks eighth among active FBS players in career tackles for loss (35.3 total; 1.04 per game) ... Louisville QB Lamar Jackson posted three of the top five rushing games by a freshman quarterback in ACC history during the 2015 season, including a 226-yard performance in the Cardinals’ Music City Bowl win over Texas A&M.
 
Next game: Elon at Charlotte (Sept. 10); Louisville at Syracuse (Sept. 9)

Thursday, September 1
Tulane (0-0, 0-0 AAC) at Wake Forest (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
7 p.m. | ACC Network ExtraBB&T Field (31,500)


The Series: Tulane leads 2-0; First meeting at Wake Forest
The Coaches: Willie Fritz: 0-0 (1st year) at Tulane; 193-74-1 (24th year) overall; Dave Clawson: 6-18 (3rd year) at Wake Forest; 96-98 (17th year) overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams

Of note: Wake Forest, which returns 17 total starters from last season’s 3-9 team, faces the Green Wave for the first time since 1995 ... The Demon Deacons, beginning their third year under head coach Dave Clawson, will play four of their first five games in the state of North Carolina, including next week’s ACC opener at Duke ... Tulane, coming off a 3-9 season that included a 3-5 mark in American Conference play, will play its first game under head coach Willie Fritz ... Fritz just completed a two-year stint at Georgia Southern, where his teams posted a 17-7 cumulative mark ... Fritz currently has 193 career victories (193-74-1) at Blinn College, Central Missouri, Sam Houston State and Georgia Southern... The opener against the Demon Deacons marks the fourth straight year Tulane has faced a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Ones to watch: Tulane RB Dontrell Hilliard rushed 115 times for 646 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and six touchdowns in addition to catching 23 passes for 267 yards (11.6 yards per reception) and one score as a sophomore in 2015 ... Wake Forest  junior TE Cam Serigne has 100 career receptions in just two full seasons ... Serigne ranks 11th all-time on the ACC’s all-time career tight end reception list and is 44 behind the all-time record held by former Virginia standout Heath Miller.

Next game: Southern at Tulane (Sept. 10); Wake Forest at Duke (Sept. 10)

Thursday, September 1
William & Mary (0-0, 0-0 CAA) at NC State (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
7:30 p.m. | ACC Network Extra | Carter-Finley Stadium (57,600)

The Series: NC State leads 12-8; NC State leads 10-3 at home
The Coaches: Jimmye Laycock: 238-174-2 (37th year) at W&M and overall; Dave Doeren: 18-20 (4th year) at NC State; 41-24 (7th year) overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams

Of note: The Wolfpack is set to face the Tribe for the first time since 2008 and the 21st time in school history ... The programs share a historical common denominator in Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz, who began his head coaching career at William & Mary in 1969 and coached three seasons before taking over the helm of the Wolfpack from 1972 through 1975 ... Current head NC State head coach Dave Doeren seeks to lead the Wolfpack to a third consecutive postseason berth and welcomes back 16 starters from last season’s 7-6 club ... Jimmye Laycock begins his 37th season as head coach at William & Mary following a 2015 season in which the Tribe posted a 9-4 record, captured the CAA title and took part in postseason play for the 12th time under his watch ... NC State is set to play four of its first five games at home, and is not slated to play outside the state of North Carolina until it visits Clemson on Oct. 15.

Ones to watch: William & Mary senior RB Kendell Anderson finished the 2015 season with 1,418 rushing yards on 240 carries with 16 touchdowns and ranked 10th nationally with 109.1 rushing yards per game ... Despite a season-ending injury in the eighth game of last season, Wolfpack RB Matt Dayes finished the year with 865 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 6.5 yards per carry ... Dayes also caught 23 passes in 2015. 

Next game: William & Mary at Hampton (Sept. 10); NC State at East Carolina (Sept. 10)

Friday, September 2
Colgate (0-0, 0-0 Patriot League) at Syracuse (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
7 p.m. | ACC Network Extra | Carrier Dome (49,262)


The Series: Colgate leads 31-30-5; Syracuse leads 30-28-4 at home
The Coaches: Dan Hunt: 14-12 (3rd year) at Colgate and overall; Dino Babers: 0-0 (1st year) at Syracuse; 37-16 (5th year) overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams 

Of note: Syracuse begins Dino Babers’ tenure as head coach facing Colgate for the first time since 2010 ... The Raiders hold a one-game edge in the series, that was first-played in 1891, but the Orange has won 15 straight since Colgate’s last victory in 1950 ... Syracuse returns 18 starters from last season’s team, that finished 4-8 overall and posted a 2-6 record in ACC play ... Colgate, which also returns 18 starters, posted a 9-5 record in 2015 while capturing the Patriot League championship and reaching the semifinals of the FCS playoffs ... Syracuse opens the season with three consecutive home games, welcoming Louisville next week for its ACC opener and facing USF at the Carrier Dome on Sept. 17 ... The Orange has scored at least 42 points in each of its last eight meetings against the Raiders, including the 2010 game in which senior RB Delone Carter scored four touchdowns and ran for a career-high 172 yards in Syracuse’s 42-7 win.

Ones to watch: Colgate LB Pat Afriyie was an ECAC FCS All-Star and All-Patriot League First-Team member after leading the conference with 9.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles-for-loss last season ... Syracuse QB Eric Dungey was hampered by injuries as a freshman, but saw action in seven games and completed nearly 60 percent of his passes (105-of-176) while throwing for 1,298 yards and 11 touchdowns ... Dungey also ranked second on the team in rushing with 351 yards (five TDs).

Next game: Colgate at Yale (Sept. 17); Louisville at Syracuse (Sept. 9)

Saturday, September 3
Boston College (0-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. Georgia Tech (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
7:30 a.m. |  ESPN2Aviva Stadium | Dublin, Ireland (51,700)

The Series: Georgia Tech leads 6-2; first meeting at a neutral site
The Coaches: Steve Addazio: 17-21 (4th year) at BC; 30-33 (6th year) overall; Paul Johnson: 61-44 (9th year) at GT; 168-83 (20th year) overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams 

Of note: Boston College and Georgia Tech play the first-ever ACC league game in Ireland in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic as part of the ACC Worldwide initiative ... Ireland has hosted five previous games involving NCAA Division I teams: Boston College vs. Army (1988); Pitt vs. Rutgers (1989); Notre Dame vs. Navy (1996 and 2012) and Penn State vs. UCF (2014) ... The Eagles and Yellow Jackets will be meeting for the ninth time overall and the fourth time in ACC competition ... Georgia Tech has won the last two meetings to grab a 2-1 edge in conference play ... The Yellow Jackets won the most recent meeting by a 37-17 score in Atlanta on Oct. 20, 2012, with QBs Tevin Washington and Vad Lee accounting for two touchdowns apiece ... Both teams look for improvement after each finished 3-9 in 2015 ... Each team welcomes back 16 starters from last season.

Ones to watch: Boston College LB Matt Milano (six sacks, 16 tackles for loss in 2015) is one of eight returning starters from an Eagles defensive unit that led the nation in total defense (254.3 yards allowed per game) last season ... Senior LB P.J. Davis has led Georgia Tech in tackles each of the past two seasons and ranks fourth among active ACC players with 237 for his career.

Next game: Boston College at UMass (Sept. 10); Mercer at Georgia Tech (Sept. 10)

Saturday, September 3
Liberty (0-0, 0-0 Big South) at Virginia Tech (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
12:30 p.m. | ACC NetworkLane Stadium (65,632)


The Series: First meeting
The Coaches: Turner Gill: 29-19 (5th year) at Liberty; 54-68 (11th year) overall; Justin Fuente: 0-0 (1st year) at Virginia Tech; 26-23 (5th year) overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams

Of note: Virginia Tech takes the field for the first time under head coach Justin Fuente, who takes the reins following the retirement of the legendary Frank Beamer ... Fuente steps in after posting 10- and nine-win seasons in his final two years at Memphis ... The Hokies will be facing Liberty for the first time on the gridiron and will bookend their regular season with home games against in-state opponents (rival Virginia visits on Nov. 26) ... Fuente inherits 15 starters from last season’s 7-6 squad, which defeated Tulsa in the Camping World Independence Bowl ... Liberty, under veteran coach Turner Gill, was picked for a second-place Big South Conference finish in preseason ... The Flames have posted four straight winning seasons under Gill’s watch, including last season’s 6-5 mark ... This will mark the third straight season in which Liberty will face at least two FBS opponents in the same year ... Liberty last faced an ACC team in 2014 (at North Carolina).

Ones to watch: Liberty 6-foot-2, 310-pound senior DT JaRon Greene finished last year with 36 tackles (16 solo, 20 assisted), including 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks ... Virginia Tech  junior WR Isaiah Ford ranks third all-time on the school’s all-time pass receiving yardage list and needs just 127 reception yards to hit the 2,000 mark for his career.

Next game:  Jacksonville at Liberty (Sept. 10); Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee at Bristol, Tenn. (Sept. 10)

Saturday, September 3
Villanova (0-0, 0-0 CAA) at Pitt (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
1:30 p.m. | ACC Network ExtraHeinz Field (68,400)


The Series: Pitt leads 2-0; Pitt leads 2-0 at home
The Coaches: Andy Talley: 221-133-1 (32nd year at Villanova); 249-15-2-2 (37th year) overall; Pat Narduzzi: 8-5 (2nd year) at Pitt and overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams 

Of note: Pitt opens its second season under head coach Pat Narduzzi by facing in-state opponent Villanova for just the third time ... The schools first met in 1911, when the Panthers posted a 12-0 win ... The second meeting came in 1998, with Pitt winning by a 48-41 score ... The Panthers return 18 starters from last season’s team, which posted an eight-win season and competed in a bowl game for the eighth consecutive year ... The Wildcats are the first of two in-state teams Pitt hosts to open the season, as Penn State is scheduled to visit Heinz Field on Sept. 10 ... The game opens the final season for Villanova head coach Andy Talley, who took over the revitalization of the school’s program more than three decades ago (after the sport had been dropped in 1980) and led the Wildcats to the NCAA FCS national championship in 2009.

 Ones to watch: Villanova senior LB Austin Calitro comes off a year in which he led the team with 90 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He added three forced fumbles, four pass breakups and an interception ... Pitt RB James Conner -- the 2014 ACC Player of the Year -- eyes a return to form after being sidelined first by a knee injury and then a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The redshirt junior has rushed for 2,641 yards and 36 touchdowns in 26 collegiate games.  

Next game:  Penn State at Pitt (Sept. 10); Lehigh at Villanova (Sept. 10)

Saturday, September 3
Richmond (0-0, 0-0 CAA) at Virginia (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
3:30 p.m|  ACC Network ExtraScott Stadium (61,500)


The Series: Virginia leads 28-2-2; Virginia leads 26-1-1 at home
The Coaches: Danny Rocco: 33-18 (5th year) at Richmond; 80-38 (11th year) overall; Bronco Mendenhall: 0-0 (1st year) at Virginia; 99-43 (12th year) overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams

Of note: Bronco Mendenhall kicks off his debut season with the Cavaliers following a successful 11-year run at BYU in which his teams averaged nine wins a year and never had a losing season ...  Mendenhall inherits a Virginia squad that returns 14 starters from last season’s team, which finished with a 4-8 record but lost five games by seven or fewer points ... Mendenhall’s next victory will be his 100th as a collegiate head coach ... The game against the Spiders renews an in-state rivalry that was first played in 1893 ... Richmond head coach and Wake Forest graduate Danny Rocco spent five seasons at Virginia as assistant head coach and linebackers coach under Al Groh ... The Cavaliers have won 10 straight in the series, with Richmond’s two wins coming in 1943 and 1946 ... Rocco was named CAA Coach of the Year for the 2015 season, which saw the Spiders post a 10-4 record and reach the FCS national semifinals.

Ones to watch: Richmond senior DB David Jones set a program record and tied for the lead among FCS players with nine interceptions last season. The 2016 CAA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Jones also recorded 97 tackles, the second-most on the team and knocked down 12 passes ... Virginia S Quin Blanding earned second-team All-America honors last season and has averaged 9.92 tackles per game through his first two collegiate seasons.

Next game: Norfolk State at Richmond (Sept. 10); Virginia at Oregon (Sept. 10)

Saturday, September 3
#22/20 North Carolina (0-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. #18/16 Georgia (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
5:30 p.m. |  ESPNGeorgia Dome; Atlanta (71,989)


The Series: Georgia leads 16-12-2; UNC leads 6-3 at neutral sites
The Coaches: Larry Fedora: 32-20 (5th year) at UNC; 66-39 (9th year) overall; Kirby Smart: 0-0 (1st year) at Georgia and overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams

Of note: North Carolina and Georgia renew a sectional rivalry that was first played in 1895 but not since the 1971 Gator Bowl (a 7-3 win by the Bulldogs in a game that featured a matchup of  head coaching brothers in Georgia’s Vince Dooley and the late Bill Dooley of UNC) ... The Tar Heels have dropped four straight in the series and seek their first win over Georgia since a 28-7 victory in Chapel Hill in the fall of 1963 ... UNC, the defending ACC Coastal Division champion, returns 15 starters from last season’s squad, which finished with an 11-3 record ...  The Tar Heels are making their second appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and first since dropping a 30-24 decision to LSU in the 2010 season opener... Georgia, coming off a 10-3 campaign, is lead by first-year head coach Kirby Smart ... Smart, a former defensive back for the Bulldogs, returns to his alma mater following a successful seven-year stint as the defensive coordinator at Alabama.

Ones to watch: North Carolina junior RB Elijah Hood returns as a leader in the Tar Heels’ high-powered offense after rushing for 1,463 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. Hood ranked eighth nationally with 6.68 yards per carry ... Georgia junior RB Nick Chubb, working his way back into top form following a knee injury last season, has carried the ball 311 times for 2,294 yards and 21 touchdowns in his first 19 college games.

Next game: North Carolina at Illinois (Sept. 10); Nicholls State at Georgia (Sept. 10)

Saturday, September 3
Florida A&M (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) at Miami (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
6 p.m. | ESPN3Hard Rock Stadium (64,982)


The Series: Miami leads 9-1; Miami leads 9-0 at home
The Coaches: Alex Wood: 1-10 (2nd year) at FAMU; 26-34 (6th year) overall; Mark Richt: 0-0 (1st year) at Miami; 145-51 (16th year) overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams

Of note: Mark Richt makes his debut as Miami head coach in the 11th meeting in a series that saw FAMU win the opener in 1979 at Tallahassee but has seen the Hurricanes claim nine in a row at home since then ... Richt returns to Miami, his alma mater, for his second stint coaching in the ACC ... Richt  spent seven seasons as Florida State’s offensive coordinator from 1994 through 2000 and spent the four seasons prior to that as the Seminoles’ quarterbacks coach ... FAMU second-year head coach  Alex Wood coached the running backs at Miami and was part of two National Championship teams (1989 and 1991) and was offensive coordinator at Wake Forest for two seasons (1993-94) ... The Hurricanes are set to play three home games against in-state opponents in a span of just over five weeks, with Florida Atlantic set to visit next week and ACC rival Florida State scheduled at Hard Rock Stadium on October 8.

Ones to watch: FAMU DB Jacques Bryant is set for his senior season after sharing the team lead in tackles last season (75) while picking off one pass, breaking up five others and forcing one fumble ... Miami senior WR Stacy Coley ranks third among ACC returning players with 3,056 career all-purpose yards. Coley earned second-team All-ACC honors last season after making 47 catches for 689 yards and four touchdowns.

Next game: FAMU at Coastal Carolina (Sept. 10); Florida Atlantic at Miami (Sept. 10)

Saturday, September 3
NC Central (0-0, 0-0 MEAC) at Duke (0-0, 0-0 ACC)
6 p.m. |  ACC Network Extra | Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium (40,004)


The Series: Duke leads 4-0; Duke leads 4-0 at home
The Coaches: Jerry Mack: 15-8 (3rd year) at NC Central and overall; David Cutcliffe: 48-53 (9th year) at Duke; 92-82 (16th year) overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams

Of note: The Eagles make the 4.5-mile drive for the fifth installment of the Durham neighborhood series, which began in 2009 ... The Blue Devils have averaged 50.8 points in their previous four meetings against NC Central in the Bull City Gridiron Classic  ... That includes a 55-0 victory last season in which QB Thomas Sirk threw for three touchdowns and ran for another ... Duke’s total of  27 wins over the previous three seasons stands as the most successful three-year run in program history, and the Blue Devils’ goals for the upcoming season include bowl wins in successive years for the first time in program history ... NC Central also hopes to break new ground this season as it goes after a third-consecutive MEAC title for the first time ... The Blue Devils play host to three in-state opponents this season with ACC rivals Wake Forest (next Saturday, Sept. 10) and North Carolina (Nov. 10) also set to play at Wallace Wade Stadium this fall.

Ones to watch: NC Central RB Dorrel McClain was named the 2015 MEAC Rookie of the Year after rushing for 958 yards and eight touchdowns ... Duke CB DeVon Edwards has returned six kickoffs for touchdowns in his career and is one shy of the ACC and NCAA record set originally by C.J. Spiller of Clemson (2006-09)...Edwards also ranks third among all ACC returnees in passes defended (26) and leads all ACC returnees in career tackles (298) and is 12th nationally among all FBS active players in tackles per game (7.27).

Next game: NC Central at Western Michigan (Sept 10); Wake Forest at Duke (Sept. 10)

Saturday, September 3
#2/2 Clemson (0-0, 0-0 ACC) at Auburn (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
9 p.m. | ESPNJordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)


The Series: Auburn leads 34-13-2; Auburn leads 20-4 at home
The Coaches: Dabo Swinney: 75-27 (9th year) at Clemson and overall; Gus Malzahn: 27-13 (4th year) at Auburn; 36-16 (5th year) overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams

Of note: Clemson makes its first trip to Auburn since the third week of the 2010 season, when the ACC Tigers took Cam Newton and SEC Tigers to overtime before coming out on the short end of a 27-24 score... Clemson has beaten Auburn twice since that meeting six years ago, first by a 38-24 score at Death Valley in 2011 and then by a 26-19 score in Atlanta in 2012 ... This will mark the ninth consecutive meeting between the schools in which at least one team has been nationally ranked ... Clemson welcomes back 16 starters from the 2015 national runner-up squad, including nine on the offensive side of the ball  ... Auburn returns 17 starters from last season’s team that finished the year at 7-6 ... Clemson seeks to remain among the nation’s elite after defeating four of the five ranked teams it faced last season, including three Top 10 teams ... Head coach Dabo Swinney has led his Tigers to five consecutive seasons with 10 or more wins. 

Ones to watch: National Player of the Year candidate Deshaun Watson returns to quarterback Clemson after becoming the first player in FBS history to account for more than 4,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing last season. Watson won both the Manning and Davey O’Brien awards as the nation’s top QB  ... Auburn senior nose tackle Montravius Adams boasts 107 career tackles in 23 starts as a collegian.

Next game:  Troy at Clemson (Sept. 10); Arkansas State at Auburn (Sept. 10)

Monday, September 5
#4/4 Florida State (0-0, 0-0 ACC) vs. #11/12 Ole Miss (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
8 p.m. | ESPNCamping World Stadium; Orlando, Fla. (65,000)

The Series: Ole Miss leads 1-0; 1st meeting at neutral site
The Coaches: Jimbo Fisher: 68-14 (7th year) at Florida State and overall; Hugh Freeze: 34-18 (5th year) at Ole Miss; 64-25 (8th year) overall
Last week: Season opener for both teams 

Of note: Florida State takes on Ole Miss in a Labor Day Monday Night matchup of teams ranked among the nation’s top 15 ... This will be the seventh regular season neutral site game for the Seminoles in Orlando, where as they have posted wins over Memphis (1990), Virginia Tech (1991),  Notre Dame (1994), Duke (1995) and Wake Forest (1996) while tying Stetson in 1952 ... The Seminoles have become a fixture on Labor Day in recent years ... FSU topped Pitt to start the 2013 season, played at Clemson in 2007, and faced Miami four times (2004-06, 2009) on Labor Day Monday night in the 2000s ...  FSU has 17 starters back from last season’s 10-3 squad... Ole Miss earned a 33-0 victory at home in the only previous meeting between the schools in 1981 ... The 2016 Camping World Kickoff is the first in a multi-year agreement between Florida Citrus Sports and ESPN Events to host a major neutral-site college football game in Orlando’s Camping World Bowl stadium during the opening weekend of the college football season.

Ones to watch: FSU RB Dalvin Cook is coming off a dazzling 2015 season in which he led the ACC in rushing with 1,691 yards and averaged 7.38 yards per carry ... Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly broke 14 single-season school records in 2015, including total offense (4,542 yards), completion percentage (65.1), passing efficiency (155.9) and touchdown responsibility (41).

Next game: Charleston Southern at FSU (Sept. 10); Wofford at Ole Miss (Sept. 10)