A look at things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference during Week 2 of the season:
GAME OF THE WEEK: Virginia Tech at Ohio State. This matchup of marquee programs is the best on a light ACC schedule that includes six games against FCS opponents. A Hokies defense that held William & Mary of the FCS to nine points and 76 yards rushing will look to rattle Ohio State redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who will make his first home start in place of the injured Braxton Miller. “Any time you are playing one of the best programs in the country and a team that people mention for a national championship and you can go in and get a win, it’s great for the program,” Tech coach Frank Beamer said.
BEST MATCHUP: Pittsburgh at Boston College. The second conference game of the season - and only one of the week - matches two former Big East rivals that routed outmanned competition in their openers. The Panthers are coming off a 62-0 victory over Delaware while BC topped Massachusetts 30-7. Pitt - which is making its first visit to BC since 2003 - allowed 64 total yards to the Blue Hens while the Eagles rolled up 511 total yards against UMass. “You have to watch out for the roller coaster ride a bit,” BC coach Steve Addazio said.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Three transfers started their team’s openers last week, and they all put up big numbers in their debuts with their new schools. North Carolina State’s Jacoby Brissett (319 total yards), Boston College’s Tyler Murphy (291) and Virginia Tech’s Michael Brewer (272) each led their teams to wins and rank 3-4-5 in total offense in the ACC.
LONG SHOT: Maybe Murray State can make things interesting against cross-state rival Louisville. The Cardinals have a short week to prepare for the Racers after routing Miami in an emotional opener that marked Bobby Petrino’s return to the school and their first game as an ACC member. Murray State’s roster is littered with transfers from FBS schools South Carolina, Washington, Kentucky, Marshall and, yes, Louisville. “It’ll challenge our maturity,” Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino said.
IMPACT PLAYER: Overlooked in Duke’s season-opening rout of Elon was new short-yardage specialist Thomas Sirk, who rushed for two late touchdowns and looked impressive in the Blue Devils’ fourth-and-short packages. He’s replacing Brandon Connette, who transferred to Fresno State during the offseason. Connette was tough for Troy to handle last year, accounting for 379 total yards and all five touchdowns in last year’s 38-35 win. Now that Sirk is in that role, could he be next to put up big numbers against the Trojans?
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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