ACC Takeaways, Week 1: North Carolina Struggles Early

Did you get to watch college football this past weekend? I sure hope so.

With all of the turmoil and uncertainty in the country right now, college football served as a welcome respite from the 24-hour news cycle that currently is the United States. And even though we learned on Saturday that Virginia Tech’s game vs. Virginia has been postponed, it was still an entertaining weekend.

So while the Hokies were not in action — and won’t be in action until Sep. 26 vs. NC State — we still saw plenty to learn from this weekend.

North Carolina starts off sluggish

The preseason Coastal favorite — which is now meaningless — struggled out of the gate against Syracuse on Saturday. The Tar Heels scored in the first quarter, but failed to find pay dirt again until the beginning of the fourth quarter. Carolina turned up the heat with three scores in the final period, all runs from Javonte Williams.

Still, sleepwalking through the first three quarters in your own stadium vs. an inferior team is going to raise questions. Sam Howell threw two interceptions. Overall, Carolina turned it over three times.

There was plenty to like from North Carolina’s defense, but their sluggish offense leaves one wondering if this was a one-off, or if their offense isn’t going to be as good as some might think. Showing up late to the party against Syracuse isn’t an encouraging sight.

Georgia Tech is ahead of schedule

Remember when Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson parted ways? Exorcising the option from Atlanta figured to be a long, drawn-out process that took several seasons.

That might not be the case. Geoff Collins has altered Georgia Tech’s course rather quickly and after a 3-9 performance in 2019, Georgia Tech pulled off a season-opening upset over the new-look Florida State Seminoles.

It wasn’t pretty — the Yellow Jackets had three extra points blocked and turned it over twice — but a win erases all that. Georgia Tech forced three Seminole turnovers and totaled 438 yards on offense. Quarterback Jeff Sims totaled 341 yards and overcame two interceptions.

The Georgia Tech defense stole the show. They relentlessly pressured James Blackman and limited the Seminoles’ rushing attack. Keep in mind, Georgia Tech had no film to go off of for Mike Norvell’s new offense, and it didn’t matter a bit.

Collins has the other Tech headed towards success. The Yellow Jackets finished the 2020 recruiting cycle 28th in the nation, and at present, Georgia Tech sits inside the top-40 for the 2021 class.

I’m not arguing that Georgia Tech is one or two steps away from knocking on Clemson’s door, but they aren’t far away from being a legit contender in the ACC Coastal. Collins’ program bested Norvell’s when it really shouldn’t have.

Speaking of Norvell…

‘Noles lose fourth straight season-opener

The Norvell era in Tallahassee began with a whimper. Norvell’s highly productive offenses at Memphis were supposed to carry over to Florida State, but that certainly wasn’t the case.

To be fair, this offseason hasn’t exactly been conducive to implementing a brand-new program. Also, Norvell is going to need more time to boost the offensive line, which was thoroughly awful vs. Georgia Tech.

Still, I expected more than 13 points against a team who won three games last season. Florida State failed to get their best offensive weapon, Tomorrion Terry, the ball consistently. The Noles’ rushed for just 90 yards and committed eight penalties. Not. Good.

Fortunately for the Seminoles, Florida State gets the chance to right the ship against rival Miami on Sep. 26.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.