Back and forth in the ACC: Weeks 9/10

Welcome, November, when seasons are made and broken. Here’s a look back at Week 9 and a look ahead at this week:

The good: Refuse-to-lose teams. Boston College, Virginia and Duke all showed some toughness and determination this past weekend, winning games few outside their programs gave them a chance to win. The Eagles won their first game since Sept. 11, Duke won for the first time since beating Elon in the season opener and Virginia knocked off its first ranked opponent since October 2008.

The bad: Miami’s quarterback situation. Starter Jacory Harris suffered a concussion in the loss to Virginia and is questionable for Saturday’s game against Maryland. Backup A.J. Highsmith is still hindered by a hand/wrist injury. Spencer Whipple threw two picks in six pass attempts. Stephen Morris had an encouraging performance, but the staff had to burn his redshirt eight games into the season to discover it.

The ugly: North Carolina’s win over William & Mary. The Tribe controlled most of the game, and the Tar Heels trailed 17-7 after three quarters to former backup quarterback Mike Paulus. UNC lost the turnover battle 2-1, but converted on two key fourth downs.

The play: Trailing 24-21 on fourth-and-inches, NC State quarterback Russell Wilson rolled to his right on a play-action fake and found tight end George Bryan wide open in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown against Florida State.

The playmaker: Duke quarterback Sean Renfree. He threw for 314 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more in the Blue Devils’ 34-31 win over Navy. Even more impressive was the fact he completed 28 of 30 pass attempts, a school single-game record. He tied a school record when he completed his first 16 passes of the game.

Top three games of Week 10:

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech: Everyone in the Coastal Division should be watching this one on Thursday night, as Miami, North Carolina and the Jackets all need the Hokies to lose if anyone else is going to have a chance at the division title. It’s going to be tough for Georgia Tech’s defense, as Virginia Tech has the nation’s No. 14 scoring offense at 37 points per game.

NC State at Clemson: This game has lost some of its luster after Clemson lost to BC 16-10, and also lost its leading rusher, Andre Ellington, to a toe injury. The Wolfpack should be confident and favored in this game, but NC State has no margin for error and can’t take the trip to Death Valley lightly. It only needs to look back to the loss to East Carolina for a reminder it’s not invincible.

North Carolina at Florida State: The Tar Heels are physically bruised, while the Seminoles’ egos took a hit in their 28-24 loss to NC State. Both T.J. Yates and Christian Ponder have made costly turnovers recently, and while it’s an inter-divisional game, neither team can afford another ACC loss.