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ACC Power Rankings: North Carolina fends off upset bid, clinches ACC title game berth

On3 Staff Report11/14/22
Article written by:On3 imageOn3 Staff Report
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On3

There were some important results in the ACC this weekend, perhaps none moreso than North Carolina‘s narrow escape at Wake Forest to keep the Tar Heels’ playoff hopes alive and keep them in the top spot in our current ACC Power Rankings.

Clemson also managed to bounce back from its first loss of the season successfully, keeping the league’s somewhat slim playoff chances alive.

Let’s take a look at some of the other action that unfolded in the ACC this weekend.

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Today we reorder the ACC Power Rankings following Week 11 games.

2022 ACC Power Rankings – Week 11

  1. North Carolina

The Tar Heels managed to defend the top spot this weekend on the road against the Demon Deacons… just barely. North Carolina stopped a two-point conversion attempt inside the final minutes, which allowed it to kick a go-ahead field goal in a 36-34 win with 2:12 left. UNC finished off the win over Wake Forest with a defensive stop in the final two minutes before running out the clock. The Tar Heels have officially clinched their spot in the ACC Championship Game.

  1. Clemson

Clemson had already managed to clinch its own spot in the ACC Championship Game, but the Tigers were able to bounce back from their first loss with a solid 31-16 win over Louisville. The Cardinals lost starting quarterback Malik Cunningham in the game, which certainly made life considerably more difficult. Still, Clemson ran for 248 yards in the win and moved to 9-1 on the season.

  1. Florida State

The Seminoles never had an issue on Saturday against the Syracuse Orange, winning 38-3 on the road. Quarterback Jordan Travis threw for three touchdowns, ran for another and finished with only two incompletions in the game. Running back Trey Benson ran for 163 yards on 18 carries. FSU has a tricky closing stretch, playing host to Louisiana and Florida next.

  1. Duke (+2)

Another weekend, another win for Duke. The Blue Devils gave up an early score and then went on to score 24 unanswered in a 24-7 win over the Hokies. Virginia Tech couldn’t get much going after an early big-play strike. Duke quarterback Riley Leonard finished 19-of-31 passing for 262 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding a rushing score. Duke travels to Pittsburgh now.

  1. NC State (-1)

In the stunner of the week, NC State fell to Boston College even with veteran starting quarterback Phil Jurkovec sidelined for the Eagles. The Wolfpack turned the ball over four times and gained just 335 total yards in the contest, allowing the Eagles the chance at a go-ahead score in the final minute to win 21-20.

  1. Louisville (-1)

The loss of starting quarterback Malik Cunningham was a killer, though Clemson was playing well anyway. Still, Louisville wasn’t quite as effective without its dual-threat star and fell to Clemson on Saturday. The Cardinals have already secured bowl eligibility but would like to close out strong. It won’t be easy, with games against NC State and on the road at Kentucky coming up.

  1. Pittsburgh (+1)

Pittsburgh has been a virtual yo-yo in our ACC Power Rankings all season, and Saturday continued the climb back up that started last week with a win over a ranked Syracuse team. This time around Pittsburgh dropped Virginia 37-7, jumping out to a quick early lead with pick-sixes on the first two plays for the Cavaliers. The win earned bowl eligibility for the Panthers.

  1. Wake Forest (-1)

Wake Forest pushed North Carolina to the wire but couldn’t come up with the win, much like an earlier home date with Clemson. The Demon Deacons had a chance but were stopped on the final drive, allowing the Tar Heels to run out the clock in a 36-34 win. Quarterback Sam Hartman threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns but couldn’t match Drake Maye‘s 448-yard day, falling late.

  1. Miami (+1)

Miami looked like a different team on Saturday in a well-rounded effort in a 35-14 win over Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes came away with four interceptions defensively and quarterback Jacurri Brown filled in admirably for the injured Tyler Van Dyke. Brown finished with three passing touchdowns while adding 87 yards rushing as Miami moved one win closer to bowl eligibility. The ‘Canes still need one more, with a road trip to Clemson and a home date against Pittsburgh left.

  1. Syracuse (-1)

Syracuse’s slide in the ACC Power Rankings continued Saturday with another loss. It was the fourth straight for the Orange, which were dominated from start to finish by Florida State in a 38-3 defeat. Quarterback play has turned into a significant issue of late; Garrett Shrader finished just 6-of-16 passing for 65 yards in the contest.

  1. Boston College (+2)

Making only his second career start, Emmett Morehead captained things at quarterback for Boston College and came through in the clutch when it mattered. His 2-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Griffin Jr. with 14 seconds left was the winner in a 21-20 upset of NC State. Boston College can’t get to six wins at this point but could build some momentum going into the offseason with a road trip to Notre Dame next week looming.

  1. Virginia (-1)

Quarterback Brennan Armstrong threw back-to-back pick-sixes to start the day for Virginia and that was just about all she wrote for the Cavaliers. Pittsburgh’s Israel Abanikanda ran for 121 yards in a 37-7 win and the Panthers controlled possession for more than 36 minutes in a relatively easy win.

  1. Georgia Tech (-1)

Hard to win games when you throw four interceptions. Both Zach Gibson and Zach Pyron were picked off twice by Miami in a 35-14 defeat. Neither team piled up huge offensive numbers, but the turnovers were the difference in a loss that put the Yellow Jackets’ bowl eligibility hopes in serious doubt. Georgia Tech would have to beat ranked North Carolina and Georgia teams at this point to earn a bowl bid. Unlikely.

  1. Virginia Tech

The Hokies just couldn’t get a whole lot going offensively, finishing with 281 total yards in a 24-7 loss to Duke, while going just 4-of-12 on third down and 0-of-2 on fourth down. Duke dominated game flow, holding the ball for nearly 39 minutes in the win.

Want to see how this week’s power rankings compare to our previous edition? Check out the 2022 Week 10 ACC Power Rankings here!