What happened and what mattered in the Week 1 ACC games to kick off the 2018 college football season?
5. The “other” games
Of course NC State was going to beat James Madison. Yeah, JMU is an elite FCS team, but come on. The Wolfpack D played well in the 24-13 win, but there needs to be more of a running game, coming up with just 2.9 yards per carry. QB Ryan Finley carried the offense, but Reggie Gallaspy and the backs have to do more with West Virginia coming up in a few weeks.
And that’s how you tune up. Georgia Tech beat Alcorn State 41-0, and while there wasn’t any question about the ground game – it tore off well over 400 yards – it’s TaQuon Marshall and the passing attack that got the work. He hit 9-of-18 throws, but there’s still no deep threat, averaging just 11.6 yards per catch.
America, welcome to Virginia’s Bryce Perkins. It only came against Richmond, but the Arizona State transfer quarterback was fabulous in the 42-13 win, hitting 13-of-24 passes for 185 yards and two scores with a pick, and running 13 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns. The D was dominant against the run, but this was all about the dynamic ground game. The Cavaliers are going to be fun.
Anthony Brown was just fine. Any and all concern about the BC QB’s knee are all but gone, completing 15-of-21 passes for 279 yards and four scores in the 55- 21 win over UMass. The D was fantastic against the high-powered Minutemen offense, allowing just seven points until late helped by six sacks. AJ Dillon ran 20 times for 98 yards.
Pitt’s Kenny Pickett is supposed to be the new star quarterback, and he was just that in the 33-7 win over Albany, completing 16-of-22 passes for 154 yards and two scores with a pick. The O line dominated – it allowed one tackle for loss and no sacks – paving the way for over six yards per carry.
North Carolina made it a game. The Tar Heel offense kicked it in late to make it close in the 24-17 loss to Cal, but 13 penalties and four interceptions were disastrous. On the plus side, the D allowed just 279 yards, but Nathan Elliott needs to be better after completing just 15-of-35 passes.