Here are things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 4:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 12 North Carolina at Boston College on Saturday. The Tar Heels (1-0, 1-0 ACC) haven’t played since Sept. 12 after Charlotte pulled out of a scheduled game a week later due to the coronavirus pandemic and they had this past week off. That’s a long time to go between contests and correct the mistakes that showed up early in North Carolina’s 31-6 victory over Syracuse. Quarterback Sam Howell threw for 295 yards but had two interceptions — among the team’s three turnovers. Still, the Tar Heels finally got rolling down the stretch to pull away behind Javonte Williams’ three rushing TDs in the fourth quarter. Boston College (2-0, 1-0) has found some footing early under first-year coach Jeff Hafley, topping Duke on the road before escaping Texas State 24-21 at home last week. But the Eagles have not defeated North Carolina in four ACC games since joining the league before the 2005 season.
No. 1 Clemson’s passing game against Virginia’s secondary. The Tigers (2-0, 1-0) had last week off after battering their two opponents by a combined score of 86-13. A big reason was junior quarterback — and Heisman Trophy favorite — Trevor Lawrence who’s completing 81 percent of his passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns. Lawrence figures to have a sterner test this week against the Cavaliers (1-0, 1-0), who had a solid defensive debut with five interceptions and seven turnovers in their win over Duke. Lawrence riddled the same group only 10 months earlier as he passed for 302 yards and four touchdowns in Clemson’s 62-17 victory in the ACC championship game. But Virginia cornerback Nick Grant said the team has learned the effort and commitment it takes to defeat the five-time defending ACC champions.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Clemson has established several all-time marks during its run of five consecutive league titles. The Tigers won their 31st straight regular-season game last time out against The Citadel, surpassing the league’s old mark of 30 set by Florida State from 2013-15. Clemson are also tied with Oklahoma for most consecutive victories on Saturdays at 45, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The Sooners set their mark between 1953-57.
It might as good a time as any for Jacksonville State to face Florida State. The Seminoles (0-2) have stumbled out of the gate with losses to Georgia Tech and No. 8 Miami — and didn’t look good doing it. Only adding to Florida State’s problems was first-year coach Mike Norvell missing the Miami game after testing positive for COVID-19. But Norvell is back this week to face the Gamecocks, an FCS school playing a four-game fall schedule after the Ohio Valley Conference postponed football until the spring. Jacksonville State quarterback Zerrick Cooper is a Clemson transfer who has thrown for 6,820 yards and 60 touchdowns his two seasons with the FCS school.
Pitt’s defensive combo of defensive linemen Patrick Jones II and Rashad Weaver are making their mark early in the season. The two have combined for seven sacks and nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage to fuel the 24th-ranked Panthers (3-0, 2-0 ACC) rise to top of ACC defenses. Pitt leads the conference and is second nationally in allowing opponents just 177 yards per game. Jones and Weaver are both 6-foot-5 with speed and strength to cause problems in opposing backfields. They’ll look to do it again vs. North Carolina State (1-1, 1-1).
By PETE IACOBELLI AP Sports Writer
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25