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ACC Conference Showcases Game of the Week: #3 Clemson vs. #5 Florida State

It’s a busy weekend for Top 10 teams for the East, notably the ACC conference. Who knew they played more than basketball?

The game of the week nod will go to #3 Clemson(6-0, 4-0) versus #5 Florida State (5-0, 3-0). For this conference matchup, it’s the first top-five one since 2005 when No. 5 Miami beat No. 3 ranked Virginia Tech.

Trash talk between the two schools has been rampant this week but most fans’ eyes will be on the two quarterbacks, Tajh Boyd and Jamies Winston. One is a veteran and the other is a redshirt freshman but what they share in common is they’re Heisman contenders.

Tajh Boyd

Tajh Boyd

Winston sits at 11/2 while Boyd is 7/1. Will the Heisman have its second redshirt freshman as viable competitor? Maybe.

In last week’s less than impressive 24-14 win against Boston College (3-3, 1-2) Boyd passed for 334 yards. This represented career game No. 14 with 300-plus yards passing. He is now Clemson’s career leader for passing yards, jumping over Charlie Whitehurst.

For the season to-date, he has 1,783 yards (66.5%), 15 touchdowns, two interceptions, a 172.05 rating, 66 carries for 187 yards ( 2.8 yards per carry) and five scores on the ground. Some pundits believe that if Boyd gets the win on Saturday, this should punch his ticket to New York for the Heisman ceremony.

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

Meanwhile, Winston is pretty impressive too, given the fact he has less experience. In his last game two weeks ago, a 63-0 thumping against a then-undefeated Maryland (5-1, 1-1), Winston had 393 yards, five touchdowns and zero picks. For the season, he has 1,441 yards (73.2%), 17 touchdowns (two more than Boyd), two interceptions, a 213.94 rating and 36 carries for 135 yards with two touchdowns.

Winston knows Saturday’s game is a big one and said of it via the Associated Press,”They’re after our necks. We beat them at our home field last year. They beat us at their home team the year before that. It’s just going back and forth battle.”

Florida State averages about 54 points per game (around 10 more than Clemson), while the Tigers are the nation’s leaders for sacks (24).

In the last decade, Florida State hasn’t played well at Death Valley; it hasn’t seen a win since 2001. Not helping matters will be the attempt by fans to make it the loudest stadium on record during Saturday’s game.

But should Florida State persevere, it will represent the program’s first 6-0 start since 1999. Vegas has faith they’ll do it (-3, 64 o/u).

Miami vs. North Carolina

In another game including a top 10 ACC team, #10 Miami (5-0, 1-0) will take on North Carolina (1-4, 0-2) on Thursday night.

Given the Tar Heels season, Miami should make it to a sixth straight win this week. North Carolina’s defense has given up the most yards in the conference at 436.0 per game. In their last game, a 27-10 Oct. 5 loss versus Virginia Tech (6-1, 3-0), it allowed three passing touchdowns in the first half. While they’ll be returning from a bye week, good luck going against a top quarterback, Miami’s Stephen Morris and running back Duke Johnson.

Duke Johnson

Duke Johnson

Johnson sits at No. 4 in the FBS for his 190.8 all-purpose yards each game.

Miami will need to have a better game than their last one, a 45-30 win over Georgia Tech (3-3, 2-2). This didn’t come easily as they had to battle a 17-7 first-quarter deficit and then four turnovers in the game.

For Morris, he went 17 of 22, 324 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating sits at 169.7, which is No. 9 nationally.

He’ll look to improve from last year’s 18-14 loss against North Carolina as he went 12 of 26, 155 yards and two interceptions. His game ended early thanks to an injury to his ankle.

The Tar Heels are seeking to avoid their fourth consecutive loss–a first for regular season play since 2007–but Vegas gives the win to Miami (-9.5, 63.5 o/u).

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