Back and forth in the ACC: Weeks 7/8

Here’s a look back at Week 7 and fast-forward to Week 8:

The good: Florida State’s defense. Boston College ran nine offensive plays in FSU’s red zone and came out with zero yards. Instead, it settled for three field goals and that was the difference in the game. BC ran 18 plays in Florida State territory and gained minus-2 yards. BC had 266 total yards of offense, but four plays accounted for 171 of it. Of course, you could say that BC’s offense was just bad, but we’ll save that for ...

The bad: Wake Forest’s defense. The Deacs allowed Virginia Tech a season-high 605 total yards. Darren Evans had a career day. So did receiver Dyrell Roberts. The Hokies had 49 points by the end of the first half and 35 total first downs.

The ugly: Virginia’s red zone offense. The Cavaliers were successful on just 2-of-6 trips inside the 20-yard line. The Cavaliers now rank 113th in the nation in red zone offense, coming away with touchdowns 14 times in 25 trips.

The surprise: NC State lost to ECU. North Carolina was able to beat ECU. So was Virginia Tech. NC State beat itself instead with three turnovers.

The playmaker: UNC receiver Dwight Jones. He finished with a career-high 198 receiving yards, including 119 in the first quarter, on a career-best seven catches. His previous high was 43 yards against ECU earlier this year. Jones had touchdown catches of 81 and 20 yards. He also had a 54-yard reception to the 1-yard line, which led to another touchdown. The previous high for a Tar Heel receiver against Virginia was Sam Aiken’s 179 yards in 2002.

The top three games for Week 8:

North Carolina at Miami: This is an uber-important game for Miami coach Randy Shannon’s career. A loss to UNC would likely knock the Canes out of the Top 25 and significantly hurt their chances of winning the Coastal Division title. Miami has lost three in a row to the Tar Heels.

Georgia Tech at Clemson: The star power from the 2009 ACC title game is missing, but the drama is not. The key is whether Clemson’s defense, which allowed more than 300 rushing yards in each of the past two meetings, can slow down Paul Johnson’s spread-option offense.

Maryland at Boston College: It’s an important game if either program wants to maintain any hope in the Atlantic Division race, and it’s also a chance for the Eagles to get closer to bowl eligibility. BC’s bowl hopes are not over yet -- there are definitely four winnable games remaining -- but the margin for error is quickly shrinking.