What to watch in the ACC: Week 7

Here are 10 things worth keeping an eye on this week, starting with a few potential record breakers:

Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt. He needs 150 rushing yards to become the most prolific rushing quarterback in ACC history. He already has more rushing touchdowns (32) than any quarterback in ACC history.

Clemson running back Andre Ellington. He needs 74 more yards on his first seven carries against Maryland become the fastest player in school history to reach 1,000 in his career. Coach Dabo Swinney said this week that Ellington will be the full-time starter and that he’ll get more carries.

Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith. He needs just 86 more yards on kickoff returns to set a career ACC record. Smith currently has 2,603 yards on 104 kickoff returns (25.0). The ACC career mark is 2,688 yards set by North Carolina’s Brandon Tate (2005-08).

Non-offensive touchdowns. The ACC leads the nation in touchdowns by return with 20. The Pac-10 and MAC have 19 each, followed by the Big 12 (18) and the SEC (17). This year NC State leads all ACC schools with four returns for scores, including two blocked punts for touchdowns. Virginia Tech has three returns for touchdowns. Heading into this weekend, ACC schools have returned nine interceptions, seven punts, three kickoffs and one fumble return for scores.

Virginia’s pass defense vs. UNC quarterback T.J. Yates. The Cavaliers are ranked No. 10 in the country in passing defense, allowing just 151 yards per game. Yates is averaging 234 passing yards per game, and has eight touchdowns and just one interception.

The ground game in Charlottesville. The Tar Heels have averaged 238.8 yards in their past six wins over Virginia dating back to 1983, but have averaged just 120.5 yards in their 20 losses since then (a tie in 1984 is not included). Since 1993, Virginia’s defense has held the Tar Heels to an average of 113.1 yards rushing per game, while winning 13 of the past 17 meetings.

BC’s rushing defense. If there’s a bright spot for the Eagles this season, it’s their run defense, which is fifth in the country and has limited opponents to just 80.2 yards per game. They’ll need it, as FSU just averaged 7.26 yards per carry in its 45-17 win over Miami.

NC State’s passing defense vs. Dominique Davis. It will be the difference in the game, as ECU is averaging 297.2 passing yards and receiver Dwayne Harris ranks sixth nationally with eight catches per game. Davis is No. 11 in the country in total offense, but he’s also thrown nine interceptions, and NC State has seven this year.

The unofficial state championship of North Carolina. Can the Hokies be kings of Tobacco Road? You bet. They’re scheduled to play all five FBS teams from North Carolina and are already 2-0 with wins over East Carolina and NC State. They can make it 3-0 with a win over the Deacs.

Miami’s tackling. It’s the one thing coach Randy Shannon said needed to improve after the loss to Florida State, and if Duke could score on Alabama, it can score on Miami. The Blue Devils are averaging almost 300 passing yards per game.