ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Wake Forest

With Wake Forest's 12-Game Win Streak vs. Duke Snapped, Can the Deacons Bounce Back and Start a New One?

With Wake Forest’s 12-Game Win Streak vs. Duke Snapped, Can the Deacs Bounce Back and Start a New One?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ve run through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Opponent: Duke Blue Devils

Last Year: Loss, 34-27 vs. Duke

This Year: November 23 vs. Duke

Wake Forest had beaten cross-state rival Duke every single time since 1999. Until late last September, that is, when that streak finally ended. Starting off their year at 3-1, the Demon Deacons looked poised for another surprise season in Atlantic Division contention, but after dropping this one to Duke, it would simply never materialize. Four turnovers in one game will make that happen. As will losing the time-of-possession battle, and struggling on third down.

The Deacs never had this one in hand — far from it — but going into the fourth quarter following a 10-point swing, it sure appeared as if they’d grabbed momentum. However, the Blue Devils offensive attack was simply relentless, especially (surprisingly) on the ground. Despite struggling to run the ball all season, it was two rushing touchdowns (by Anthony Boone and Jela Duncan) that sealed the deal for Duke as an ineffective Wake Forest offense sputtered until a garbage time score by Tommy Bohanon made it look like a one-possession game. Looking back, you can see that the issues plaguing Wake Forest on both sides of the ball during this contest (failure to stop big plays, inability to come from behind) would be indicative of the rest of the season’s struggles.

Continue reading

About these ads

ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Virginia Tech

Pittsburgh Manhandled Virginia Tech Last Season; Can the Hokies Bounce Back in 2013?

Pittsburgh Manhandled Virginia Tech Last Season; Can the Hokies Bounce Back in 2013?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Virginia Tech Hokies

Opponent: Pittsburgh Panthers

Last Year: Loss, 35-17 at Pittsburgh

This Year: October 12 vs. Pittsburgh

Of Virginia Tech’s six losses last season, just two were close games, but unfortunately, the Hokies won’t get a crack at either of those teams (Florida State and Cincinnati) this season. But despite the 18-point margin, last year’s loss to Pittsburgh still holds plenty of importance. Going into the game, Tech was 2-0, looking impressive as always on defense. The Panthers, on the other hand, were 0-2 following two straight embarrassing efforts. The two teams were not conference foes just yet, but the excitement was there for the Pitt faithful, looking forward to the first of many annual matchups with Virginia Tech. And then suddenly, Pittsburgh was up 21-3 at halftime, and they never looked back.

It was the first sign of trouble for the Hokies; a hint they wouldn’t be up to the standard they’ve set since arriving in the ACC by winning at least 10 games in each season from 2004 through 2011. The contest was an absolute disaster, especially offensively. Tech had just 14 first downs, only picked up 324 yards (just 59 rushing) and committed four turnovers. No one knew it yet, but Pitt had just written the book on how to dominate the 2012 iteration of the Hokies (ball control and pressure Logan Thomas); a formula that would be repeated several more times last fall.

Continue reading

ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Virginia

Virginia Lost to Rival Virginia Tech By Just a Field Goal Last Year; Can They Finally Beat the Hokies in 2013?

Virginia Lost to Rival Virginia Tech By Just a Field Goal Last Year; Can They Finally Beat the Hokies in 2013?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Virginia Cavaliers

Opponent: Virginia Tech Hokies

Last Year: Loss, 17-14 at Virginia Tech

This Year: November 30 vs. Virginia Tech

Nine straight years. Nine straight years Virginia has lost to cross-state rival Virginia Tech, but could’ve been the biggest letdown yet for the Hoos. Though UVa was already eliminated from postseason contention, Virginia Tech needed to win on the season’s final Saturday in order to go bowling. Virginia could’ve played spoiler to the Hokies’ season, and for nearly the entire game it appeared they would follow through. They hadn’t trailed since tying the score at 7-7 in the first quarter, and the Hokies’ passing game continued to look anemic, just as it had all season. But a less-than-stellar pass from Virginia QB Michael Rocco with three and a half minutes remaining would result in an interception and later, the game-winning field goal. Virginia Tech won 17-14. They’d be going bowling once again, and the Hoos were not only sitting home, but had helped their rivals reach their postseason dreams.

In the less dramatic version of the story, this one played out as season-long observers of both teams should’ve expected. Virginia Tech’s offense struggled all year, but Logan Thomas could typically do enough when called upon to keep them in games. The defense, as always, was solid, but needed to be handed opportunities more so than normal. And Virginia’s inconsistency — something we’ll see more of in 2013 — was ultimately what did them in once again. There wasn’t much separating these two teams last year, save the difference in experience. Tech knew how to win these types of games. Virginia just didn’t.

Continue reading

ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Syracuse

Will This Year's Syracuse-Northwestern Matchup Be a Repeat of Last Year's 42-41 Thriller?

Will This Year’s Syracuse-Northwestern Matchup Be a Repeat of Last Year’s 42-41 Thriller?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Syracuse Orange

Opponent: Northwestern Wildcats

Last Year: Loss, 42-41 vs. Northwestern

This Year: September 7 at Northwestern

Syracuse wouldn’t wait very long to spring their new up-tempo, pass-happy offense on the 2012 college football season. Right from the onset, anyone who’d watched the Orange beforehand saw a much different, more dynamic offense on the field, even as they failed to score very often through the first half or so of their opening game vs. Northwestern. In fact, down 35-13 halfway through the third quarter, it seemed like more of a failed experiment for Syracuse than anything else. Then suddenly, something clicked.

By the end of the third, SU was only down eight, courtesy of two touchdown passes from Ryan Nassib. Another two scoring drives in the fourth (another two TDs tossed by Nassib) and Syracuse held a 41-35 lead with just two minutes and 40 seconds to play. What happened next still irks Syracuse fans (including yours truly) today: Kain Colter drove NU down the field fairly well, but was handed the gift of a questionable personal foul call while already in Orange territory. The 15-yard penalty, tacked on at the end of a run, all but assured the Wildcats would put the ball in the end zone. They did with just 44 seconds left on the clock, taking a one-point lead. Deflated following a stunning turn of events, SU couldn’t get in scoring range and would ultimately fall to 0-1 on the season.

Continue reading

ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Pittsburgh

How Does Pittsburgh Rebound From a Brutal One-Point Loss to Syracuse Last Season?

How Does Pittsburgh Rebound From a Brutal One-Point Loss to Syracuse Last Season?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Pittsburgh Panthers

Opponent: Syracuse Orange

Last Year: Loss, 14-13 at Syracuse

This Year: November 23 at Syracuse

Here’s something fun: Did you know that Syracuse and Pittsburgh have played 68 times since 1916? That makes the Panthers the second-most common opponent in SU’s history, and they’ll take up the first-place mantle in the next few years, since the ACC schedule has them playing annually. SU, on the other hand, is tied for third on Pitt’s all-time list. One would think this makes these two teams rivals. And yet, it doesn’t. In fact, the two fan bases barely care about one another, and somehow will be linked for the foreseeable future by this round of expansion and a locked-in annual series. All that aside, though, it doesn’t change the fact that last year’s result was a tough one for Pitt to take.

At 2-2, Pitt appeared to be on the upswing in their season, while Syracuse was struggling at 1-3. But as was typical of the Orange on Friday nights in the Doug Marrone era, the home team came out firing and found themselves up 14-0 after one quarter. SU would not score again, and allowed the Panthers to hold a nine-minute advantage in time of possession, but that didn’t seem to matter. Neither did QB Tino Sunseri’s 319 passing yards. Syracuse’s bend-but-don’t-break defense held the Panthers to just 27 rushing yards while allowing Pitt to continually move the ball. Perhaps if Pitt had that one final opportunity to get in field goal range toward the end, they may have come out with the win. Instead, though, it was the surprising Orange running game (dormant till that point) that killed off the last five minutes and helped Syracuse hold on for the 14-13 win.

Continue reading

ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: North Carolina

North Carolina Remembers Handing Duke a Bowl Bid in 2012

Last Season, North Carolina’s Weak Defense Handed Duke its First Bowl Bid in 18 years

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: North Carolina Tar Heels

Opponent: Duke Blue Devils

Last Year: Loss, 33-30 at Duke

This Year: November 30 vs. Duke

With a little over three minutes to go against rival Duke, North Carolina looked like they’d completed an improbable comeback. Despite being down 23-9 at the end of the third quarter, and looking listless on offense throughout the contest, the Tar Heels had caught fire in the fourth, moving the ball with the fervor fans had been accustomed to all season. Holding a 30-26 lead against a deflated Blue Devils squad, victory seemed assured. But three minutes, 87 yards and three third-and-long conversions later, Duke receiver Jamison Crowder found himself holding the game-winning touchdown. It would be the sixth win of the season for Duke — a team that had failed to reach that plateau at any other point since 1994.

And North Carolina had to watch all that. The miraculous fourth-down touchdown toss. The thwarted lateral play to end the game. And then, the resilient Duke faithful rushing the field against their archrivals. The Tar Heels were not going bowling in 2012 thanks to a postseason ban. This game, however, felt like they’d just lost a championship. After 18 seasons of pointing and laughing at Blue Devils football, the shoe now appeared to be on the other foot.

Continue reading

ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: NC State

Giovani Bernard Terrorized NC State Last Season; With Him Off to the NFL, Can They Turn the Tables on UNC?

Giovani Bernard Terrorized NC State Last Season; With Him Off to the NFL, Can They Turn the Tables on UNC?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: NC State Wolfpack

Opponent: North Carolina Tar Heels

Last Year: Loss, 43-35 at North Carolina

This Year: November 2 vs. North Carolina

After coming back from 18 points down, NC State looked like it was going to hold on for a huge victory over cross-state rival North Carolina. Then they looked like they’d be headed to overtime. And suddenly, following a backbreaking Giovani Bernard punt return for a touchdown with just 13 seconds left, the Wolfpack left the field defeated. This last-minute, come-from-behind victory is always hard to watch when you’re on the receiving end, but that goes double for the most important game on your team’s calendar. For the most part, the annual UNC date is for the Pack, so comeback or not, you can bet they’d be out for revenge again this season just the same.

At the onset of last year’s contest, it really did have all the makings of a blowout in favor of UNC. Scoring 25 points in 15 minutes, the Heels were living up to the billing of its high-powered offense. Then the Pack did the same in the second, and the seesaw began. On the game, the teams would combine for over 1,100 yards of offense, while also committing six turnovers. The largest issue for NC State, though, was the running game. Struggling to run out the clock at the end, a competent ground attack would’ve been able to pick up the necessary first down to kill the clock before Bernard’s return. Instead, they continued the futile effort that netted them just 67 yards on the afternoon, the Pack had to punt, and you know what happened next.

Continue reading