It was another wild week in the ACC, with some of the league’s elite players turning in vintage performances while some young guns began to emerge. Here are our helmet stickers for Week 10.
Florida State’s freshmen: Jimbo Fisher has been bringing in big hauls on the recruiting trail for years, but it’s been rare that so many have paid such instant dividends as his 2014 signing class did against Louisville. Dalvin Cook, Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph had 284 of FSU’s 574 yards of offense and scored three times. Cook’s 110 yards rushing on nine carries was the difference as the Seminoles pulled away late after trailing by 21 in the first half. Since Oct. 1, Cook leads FSU in rushing with 265 yards, and Rudolph is second on the team in receiving with 268 yards.
Miami RB Duke Johnson and Pitt RB James Conner: We’re lumping the two together not as a slight, but to point out that we’re witnessing two of the truly great seasons by ACC running backs at the same time. Conner was tremendous in a losing effort against Duke, racking up 263 yards -- the most by a Power 5 running back this season -- and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Johnson had 226 yards from scrimmage and scored three times to lead Miami to a win. Through nine weeks, Conner has racked up 1,342 yards and Johnson 1,213. BC’s Andre Williams -- a Heisman finalist in 2013 -- is the only ACC running back to account for more rush yards through nine games in the past decade.
Duke WR Jamison Crowder: How crazy have the past two Duke-Pitt games been? The combined score of last year’s and this year’s game is Duke 106, Pitt 106. The Blue Devils managed to eek out the win in two overtimes this season after the Panthers botched a late field-goal try, but it was Crowder who kept Duke in the game all along. The senior had nine catches for 165 yards and two scores — his first touchdowns of the year against an FBS team. Add a 99-yard kick return for a score by DeVon Edwards, and Duke’s faint playoff hopes remain intact.
NC State DE Pharoah McKever: The Wolfpack offense continues to struggle to find the end zone, but the defense was up to the task against Syracuse. NC State forced three turnovers in the game, and none were more significant than McKever’s 82-yard interception return for a touchdown that turned a 14-9 deficit into a 17-14 lead. It was McKever’s first career INT, the first NC State defensive touchdown in an ACC game since 2012, and more importantly, it was Dave Doreen’s first conference win as the Wolfpack’s head coach.
Georgia Tech RB Synjyn Days: In the two games since Zach Laskey went down with an injury, Days has been a revelation. One week after racking up 110 yards on 22 carries - both career highs -- Days led the way to a win over Virginia by running for 147 yards and adding another 17 through the air, scoring twice. The Cavaliers entered the game with the No. 9-ranked rush defense in the nation, but Days became the first player to rush for 100 against them this season.
Boston College QB Tyler Murphy: The Eagles are bowl eligible for the second straight season, and Murphy is a big reason why. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third, racking up 122 yards on 18 carries on the ground. Murphy’s 57-yard TD run with 2:59 to play effectively sealed the win over Virginia Tech, and he’s now just 35 yards shy of becoming the first ACC quarterback to run for 1,000 yards since Georgia Tech’s Josh Nesbitt in 2009.