Around the ACC: Halftime

The ACC is keeping things interesting today in its early rivalry games. Here's a quick look at what's going on throughout the conference as the early games are at the half:


Is Clemson looking ahead to Georgia Tech? That's one explanation for what's going on in Columbia, S.C. The other is that the Gamecocks are the better team until proved otherwise. I think Clemson will settle down in the second half, just like it did against Virginia, but in order to do that, the Tigers have to cut down on the mistakes and penalties, and use their defensive line to their advantage and start to get more pressure. Clemson turned the ball over twice in the first half, and both led to scores. Let this be a lesson in focus to Georgia Tech. South Carolina's defense is very good, plus they're playing at home on senior day and Eric Norwood is playing like it's his last game. Clemson needs to match that intensity in the second half.


T.J. Yates is having an incredible game. He's completed 6 of 8 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. No interceptions. And 25.1 yards per pass. Now that's what you call efficient. NC State has a bad habit, though, of making average quarterbacks look like pros. That's not a knock on Yates, but the Pack's defense hasn't exactly been its strong suit this year. The Heels have already racked up over 300 yards, but they've also got six penalties and a lost fumble. Those things will keep the Pack in the game. The defense has to continue to play sharp without giving away 15 free yards because Russell Wilson is good enough that he doesn't need them.


It's a battle of the quarterbacks, and so far, Riley Skinner is winning. Neither team can run the ball, and Duke only has nine first downs. Both teams are like mirror images of each other, and Thaddeus Lewis has a chance to get Duke to six wins for the first time since 1994. I've spoken to Skinner, though, since the loss to Florida State, and he really took it hard. This will be a game of emotion, but the better defense will win in the second half -- whichever can get more pressure on the quarterback and force a mistake.