Checking in on some of the notable statistical performances of Week 10 in the ACC…
The workload was always the worry for Pitt’s James Conner, and after his hot start to the season, it sure looked like all those carries had taken their toll. But the bye week seems to have come at the right time for the workhorse back.
In the three games prior to Pitt’s Oct. 11 bye, Conner had 75 carries, averaged 4.4 yards per rush and scored once. In the three games since, he’s rushed 64 times, averaged 7.3 yards per carry and scored eight times. Conner now has 17 TDs this year, six more than anyone else in the ACC. Only three ACC players have had more in the last five years.
Miami’s Duke Johnson was spectacular in Week 10, too. He rushed 19 times for 177 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 49 yards and a score. For the season, Johnson has 1,486 yards from scrimmage -- the most by any player in the nation. Johnson’s tally Saturday also moved him past Edgerrin James into second place on Miami’s all-time rushing list. He trails Ottis Anderson by just 251 yards.
Johnson has topped 90 yards every game this season (one of just three players in the country to do so) and he’s now reached that total in 11 straight overall. In the last decade, the only Power 5 conference backs to have a longer streak are Ka’Deem Carey, Shonn Greene and Mike Hart.
Conner (1,342 yards) and Johnson (1,213) have the second- and third-most rushing yards, respectively, through nine games among all ACC runners in the last decade. Only BC’s Andre Williams last season had more.
Florida State’s battered D
Louisville scored 31 points against Florida State’s defense Thursday, marking the third time this season an opponent topped 30 against the Seminoles. FSU hasn’t surrendered 30-plus points three times in a season since 2010.
The scoring by the Cardinals also means FSU has surrendered 182 points through eight games -- 12 more than it allowed all of last year.
So what’s the problem for the Seminoles?
The first is probably health. While FSU has trotted out the same starting five in the secondary for each game this year, the starting lineup for the front six hasn’t been the same in consecutive games since Week 1 and 2. Overall, 11 different players have started in FSU’s front six.
That’s translated into less pressure up front. FSU has just 12 sacks this year, which ranks 108th nationally.
FSU's second-half dominance
Much has been made about Florida State not being as dominant this season as it was a year ago, and certainly that's true. The Seminoles have trailed at the half four times already this season, and overall, their average margin at halftime against FBS foes is just +0.6 points -- good for 66th nationally. That's down from +20.2 at the half last year, which led the nation.
So why is Florida State still undefeated? Well, the Noles actually have been pretty dominant this year. They've just waited 30 minutes per game to do it. In the second halves and OT this season, FSU holds an average edge of +13.7 points -- tops in the nation.
Murphy was bad matchup for Hokies
No quarterback in the nation has rushed for more yards than Boston College’s Tyler Murphy, who added another 122 yards on 18 carries against Virginia Tech to bring his season total to 965.
That Murphy had a big day against the Hokies is no surprise. Here’s the QB rushing yards surrendered by Tech’s D in games against Power 5 foes this year, not including sacks:
Ohio State: 124
Georgia Tech: 169
North Carolina: 143
Boston College: 147
That’s an average of 120 per game, and in that lone outlier against Miami, the Hurricanes had two 100-yard running backs.
For Murphy, he’s now just 35 yards shy of becoming the first ACC quarterback to reach 1,000 yards since Georgia Tech's Josh Nesbitt in 2009. Through nine games, the only quarterbacks in the past decade to rush for more yards than Murphy has this season are Denard Robinson, Cam Newton and Braxton Miller.
Smart football at Duke
It wasn’t easy, but Duke kept its playoff hopes alive with an overtime win over Pitt. The key to the Blue Devils’ 7-1 start has been avoiding turnovers. Duke has now gone 205 straight offensive plays without a giveaway.
The Blue Devils' 5 turnovers this season are tied for the fewest in the nation, and they rank fourth nationally by allowing just 13 points off turnovers this season.
Duke has now won 15 of its last 16 regular-season games. In its previous 100 regular-season games, Duke was 22-78.
Georgia Tech’s DeAndre Smelter had four catches for 107 yards Saturday. It was his fourth 100-yard game of the season. There have been just 11 other 100-yard receiving games at Georgia Tech during the Paul Johnson era.
Yellow Jackets QB Justin Thomas now has 14 touchdown passes this season after throwing three against Virginia on Saturday. That’s the most by a Tech QB since Reggie Ball had 20 in 2006.
Virginia was held to just 22 rushing yards in Saturday’s loss to Georgia Tech. That’s the lowest rushing output for the Hoos since mustering minus-3 in a 23-3 loss to Wyoming in 2007.
After tossing six interceptions in his first six games, Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer has now gone 118 straight passes without throwing a pick -- the fourth-longest active streak in the nation. Unfortunately, during his three-game streak without an INT, the Hokies are 0-3.
Since Oct. 1, Duke’s Anthony Boone has the fifth-best Total QBR of any Power 5 quarterback.
In the first seven games of the season, DeVante Parker and Michael Dyer accounted for just 65 yards for Louisville. In the last two games, the duo is responsible for 661 yards -- 77 percent of the Cardinals’ total offense.
The only Power 5 quarterbacks in the nation averaging more yards per attempt against FBS teams than Miami’s Brad Kaaya are Alabama’s Blake Sims, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott.
Kaaya’s 20 touchdown passes are the most by an ACC true freshman quarterback since at least 2004.
Factoring out sacks, just 12.1 percent of NC State’s rushing plays this season have gone for a loss or no gain. That’s tied with Georgia Tech atop the ACC and is the second-best rate among all Power 5 teams, trailing only Baylor.
Florida State has already gotten 948 yards and nine touchdowns from true freshmen this season. In the Jimbo Fisher era, only the 2011 team featured more.