Each week, we’ll be identifying the best ACC player from that weekend’s games. As always, it’s a completely arbitrary award with no specific criteria beyond the vague concept of “excellence.” No, we don’t take write-ins.
Considering what a mess this year has been for UVa and Rocco, it’s kind of amazing we’ve arrived here. With the Hoos’ season hanging in the balance, the junior passer finally appeared to step up and own the starting role, leading his team to a thrilling 41-40 victory over Miami on Saturday. After throwing just 38 total passes over the past four weeks, Rocco went 29-of-37 in this one, for 300 yards and four touchdowns. The completions (29), completion percentage (78.4) and touchdown total (four) were all career highs, as were his 18 consecutive completions during the game, but the focus should truly be on the final drive of the game. Down 40-35 with about two-and-a-half minutes remaining, Rocco led a 16-play, 87-yard drive culminating in a Jake McGee touchdown grab with just six seconds left on the clock. Obviously both the team and its quarterback have plenty of work to do if they truly hope to salvage the 2012 season, but this weekend, they took a definitive step in the right direction.
Ryan Nassib, QB/Syracuse (15/23 passing, 246 yards, 3 TD)
Duke Johnson, RB/Miami (368 all-purpose yards, 1 TD, 1 TD pass)