ACC & Big 12 Week 4 Preview: Yellow Jackets bringing back the uniform of champions
In the fourth week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout ACC and Big 12 country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Camping World Bowl on December 28.
Here are a few of the games our representatives will be taking in this week:
No. 3 Clemson (3-0, 0-0 ACC) at Georgia Tech (1-2, 0-1 ACC) – 3:30 p.m. on ABC
— Georgia Tech Football (@GeorgiaTechFB) September 17, 2018
One of college football’s oldest rivalries will descend on Atlanta as Clemson opens ACC play this weekend against Georgia Tech. The Tigers have won the past three contests against the Yellow Jackets but the Ramblin’ Wreck leads the all-time record 51-30-2, including a 44-14-2 advantage in games played in Atlanta.
The Tigers have won 46 of their last 50 games overall, including 25 of 27 ACC games and 14 of 15 ACC road games. This season, Clemson is one of only eight teams that rank among the nation’s top 25 in both total offense (No. 20, 513 yards per game) and total defense (No. 10, 268 yards per game). Another one of those eight? Georgia Tech , which ranks No. 21 in total offense (510.3 yards per game) and No. 23 in total defense (302.3 yards per game).
In a nod to Georgia Tech’s 1990-91 national championship team, the Yellow Jackets will also be wearing wearing an alternate uniform that features a gold helmet, navy jersey and white pants – the combo that the team wore for home games that season, including a 21-19 victory over nationally-ranked Clemson as well as its 45-21 win over Nebraska in the 1991 Citrus Bowl.
Louisville (2-1, 0-0 ACC) at Virginia (2-1, 0-0 ACC) – 12:30 p.m. on ACC Network
Both the Cardinals and the Cavaliers are looking for their third win of the season as they open conference play on Saturday. The Cardinals own a 4-2 advantage in the series and a 3-1 advantage since joining the ACC in 2015.
Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham came off the bench for the second week in a row in the Cardinals’ 20-17 win over Western Kentucky last Saturday, as he rushed for a season-high of 129 yards. This put Cunningham on a short list with the three other Louisville quarterbacks that have rushed for over 100 yards in a game – a group that includes Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, the school’s all-time rushing leader.
In last week’s 45-31 win over Ohio, Virginia had a quarterback throw for 300 yards (Bryce Perkins: 25-30 for 379 yards, three touchdowns), a running back rush for 100 yards (Jordan Ellis: 19 carries for 171 yards and three touchdowns) and a receiver record 100 receiving yards (Olamide Zaccheaus; 9catches for 247 yards and two touchdowns) in a game since it played Maryland in 2011.
The Cavaliers broke another program record in the victory, as they had three one-play scoring drives for the first time, all in the first quarter.
No. 8 Notre Dame (3-0) at Wake Forest (2-1, 0-1 ACC) – 12 p.m. on ABC
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) September 20, 2018
Notre Dame is on the road for the first time this season as it travels to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest for the fifth time in program history. Notre Dame officially leads the series 3-0 (the team’s 38-0 win in South Bend in 2012 was vacated) and the only prior meeting between the two at BB&T Field was in 2011, when the Irish defeated the Demon Deacons 24-17.
The Irish defense features linebacker Drue Tranquill, who is ranked fourth among all defensive players in the nation with an average of 7.0 solo tackles per game. The unit also relies heavily on defensive back Julian Love, who is tied for first in passes defended with 2.7 per game.
Though the Irish defense is strong, it will be up against the No. 15 offense (545 yards per game) in the FBS when it takes on Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons will likely depend on their rushing offense (No. 15 in the FBS at 264 yards per game) and running backs Cade Carney (300 rushing yards this season) and Matt Colburn II, who put up 117 yards against Boston College last weekend.
Kansas (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) at Baylor (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
The Jayhawks and the Bears are both looking to stay above .500 this weekend as they play for the 18th time in program history. Baylor leads the series 13-4 and has an eight-game win streak that started in 2010. The Bears have never lost a home game to the Jayhawks.
Kansas has been strong defensively and enters the game ranked 15th nationally in total defense at 294.3 yards allowed per game. The defense is led by linebacker Joe Dineen, Jr. who is fourth in the FBS in tackles at 13.3 per game, with a total of 40 on the season so far.
Baylor, on the other hand, has the No. 15 passing offense in the nation and averages 328 yards per game through the air. The offense boasts four receivers who each have over 100 receiving yards, led by Jalen Hurd’s 251 yards and two touchdowns. In Baylor’s first three games, quarterback Charlie Brewer has thrown for 641 yards while maintaining a 60.5 completion rate.
Kansas State (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) at No. 12 West Virginia (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) September 19, 2018
The Wildcats hold the advantage in this all-time series 5-3, including a 4-2 mark since West Virginia joined the conference in 2012. The four most recent meetings between the two have been decided by an average of 3.25 points, including a pair of one-point margins in 2015 (24-23, K-State) and 2016 (17-16, West Virginia).
West Virginia currently has a two-game win streak after defeating the Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium 28-23 last season.
This matchup is Kansas State’s first road game of the season. On offense, K-State has played both Skylar Thompson and Alex Delton at quarterback in the first three games, but Thompson went 13-of-18 through the air for a career high of 213 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 66 yards last week against UTSA. Defensive back Duke Shelley’s 15 tackles and six passes defended lead the Wildcat defense.
West Virginia is entering Saturday’s contest off an unexpected bye after last week’s game against North Carolina State was canceled due to Hurricane Florence. The Mountaineers are led by Heisman hopeful Will Grier, who is 46-of-60 passing for 761 yards and nine touchdowns so far this season. Grieg currently accounts for the fourth-most passing yards per game (380.5), third-best passing efficiency (229.4) and fifth-best total offense (379 yards per game) in the FBS.
No. 23 Boston College (3-0, 1-0 ACC) at Purdue (0-3, 0-1 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on ESPN2
The Eagles and the Boilermakers are meeting for the first time in program history this Saturday.
Boston College is back in the national rankings for the first time since 2008, and after its 41-34 defeat of Wake Forest last weekend, the Eagles have now scored over 40 points in the first three games of the season for the first time in school history. Notable players on this 11th-ranked offense (577.3 yards per game) include running back AJ Dillon, who is fifth in rushing yards (432) and rushing yards per game (144) along with quarterback Anthony Brown, the FBS leader in passing efficiency (240.2).
Helicopter flyover, giant American flag and more special activities planned for Saturday's Army game.
— Oklahoma Sooners (@OU_Athletics) September 20, 2018
Purdue is in search of its first victory of the season after a 40-37 loss to Missouri. Though the Boilermakers have yet to win a game, their losses have come by a combined eight points. The Purdue offense checks in at No. 19 among FBS programs and averages 520.7 yards per game. Wide receiver Rondale Moore stands at No. 4 in the nation for all-purpose yards with 190.33 per game.
Army (2-1) at No. 5 Oklahoma (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) – 7 p.m. on TBD
This will be the fourth all-time meeting between Army and Oklahoma, the most recent matchup coming in 1961, when Oklahoma beat Army in New York 14-8. Oklahoma leads the series 2-1, and Army’s only win came their first contest in 1946 (21-7). This game is the first of a home-and-home series, with the Sooners scheduled to play at West Point in 2020.
Army’s triple-option offense ranks second nationally with 62.3 rushing attempts per game (Air Force, 66.5 and Navy, 61.3 are No. 1 and 3) and ranks sixth in the nation with 306.7 rushing yards per game. The Black Knights have the fourth-fewest pass attempts per game in the country (13) but lead the nation with 23.3 yards per completion.
Oklahoma is also dominant offensively as it has outscored its first three opponents of the season 149-62. Quarterback Kyler Murray’s yardage total, touchdown-to-interception ratio and efficiency rating are all better through his 94 pass attempts at Oklahoma than those of the Sooners’ three Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield, Sam Bradford and Jason White).
Other ACC and Big 12 games being played this week:
Akron (2-0, 0-0 MAC) at Iowa State (0-2, 0-2 Big 12) – 12 p.m. on TBD
Pittsburgh (2-1, 1-0 ACC) at North Carolina (0-2, 0-0 ACC) – 12:20 p.m. on ACC Network
No. 13 Virginia Tech (2-0, 1-0 ACC) at Old Dominion (0-3, 0-2 C-USA) – 3:30 p.m. on CBSSN
FIU (2-1, 1-0 C-USA) at No. 21 Miami (2-1, 0-0 ACC) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPNU
North Carolina Central (1-1, 0-0 MEAC) at Duke (3-0, 0-0 ACC) – 3:30 p.m. on ACC Network
Northern Illinois (1-2, 1-0, MAC) at Florida State (1-2, 0-2 ACC) – 3:30 p.m. on ESPNU
UConn (1-2, 0-1 AAC) at Syracuse (3-0, 1-0 ACC) – 4 p.m. on ESPNN
No. 17 TCU (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) at Texas (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) – 4:30 p.m. on FOX
NC State (2-0, 0-0 ACC) at Marshall (2-0, 0-0 C-USA) – 7 p.m. on CBSSN
Texas Tech (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) at No. 15 Oklahoma State (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) – 7 p.m. on FS1