Back and forth in the ACC: Weeks 11/12

Here’s your instant replay of Week 11 and fast forward to Week 12:

The good: The Atlantic Division. One week after all of the frontrunners lost, Maryland, NC State and Florida State each rebounded with wins to make this race worth watching. Maryland and NC State left no doubt they were the better teams against Virginia and Wake Forest, respectively, and FSU dug deep after two heart breakers to beat Clemson with a game-winning field goal as time expired.

The bad: Virginia’s penalties. The Cavaliers are tied for 114th in the nation in fewest penalties per game (8.4) and only four teams have more. Virginia had 16 penalties for 145 yards in its 42-23 loss to Maryland on Saturday. “There were a lot of holds on that team, both up front and in the back so I think the officials did as well as they could with that,” Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen told reporters after the game. That came one week after Virginia racked up 11 penalties for 103 yards in a 55-48 loss to Duke.

The ugly: Clemson’s kicking game. It’s hard not to feel bad for Chandler Catanzaro. It’s not like he doesn’t want to make these field goals. In fact, his 29-yard kick with 53 seconds remaining tied the game. And his 22-yard field goal midway through the second quarter gave Clemson a 10-3 lead. But he also had one blocked and missed another, and in a three-point game, those misses add up. Clemson is 7 of 14 on field goals this year.

The emerging: Virginia Tech wide receiver Marcus Davis. He caught two third-quarter touchdown passes to help the Hokies to a 26-10 win at North Carolina. Davis really rose to the occasion with receiver Dyrell Roberts out with a thigh injury. He finished with four catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first time the sophomore had seen any meaningful playing time and he made the most of it.

The “gassed.” UNC tailback Anthony Elzy. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the disappearance of Elzy in the third quarter against Virginia Tech was explained away by Elzy being “gassed,” coach Butch Davis said. Gassed? With the Coastal Division on the line?

The undecided: NC State quarterback Russell Wilson. He’s not sure if he’s returning for his final year of eligibility or joining the Colorado Rockies, but if Saturday was his final game in Carter-Finley Stadium, he went out with a bang. Wilson was honored on senior day and then passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more in the 38-3 win over Wake Forest.

Top three games of Week 12

Florida State at Maryland -- This is the most meaningful game Maryland has played since, well, since it played Florida State for the division lead on Nov. 23, 2008. The Terps lost 37-3 in their most lopsided loss of the year, and sent BC to the title game the following week with a loss in Chestnut Hill. Once again they control their own destiny and could win the Atlantic Division title with two more wins. The Terps’ offensive line has been playing well, and they held their own in a close loss to Miami, but once again will face a true challenge up front.

Virginia Tech at Miami -- This is Miami’s final chance to make a statement this year, as the Canes’ only hope at winning the Coastal Division depends on a win against the Hokies. Virginia Tech, however, needs to win just one more game to clinch the division title. The Hokies lost the last time they played at Miami, and the Canes will be looking for redemption after last year’s meltdown in Blacksburg.

NC State at North Carolina -- This is a passionate rivalry game, and while UNC is out of the championship race, it can still take solace -- and probably a lot of enjoyment -- in playing the role of spoiler. NC State can’t afford to lose another conference game, regardless of if it’s an interdivisional matchup. Tom O’Brien has had the edge over Butch Davis the past three years, but this season, a trip to Charlotte is on the line. This should be a great game but it comes in third because UNC is no longer a factor in the conference race.