Here are things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 11:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 22 Wake Forest at Virginia Tech. The Demon Deacons (7-1, 3-1, No. 19 CFP) have a huge game looming next week at No. 4 Clemson with the Atlantic Division lead likely at stake — but not if they overlook the Hokies (5-3, 2-2), who will win the chaotic Coastal Division if they win their remaining four games. Virginia Tech had won three in a row before last week’s loss at Notre Dame. To avoid its first losing streak of the season, Tech will have to slow down a Wake Forest offense that ranks second in the league (510.6 ypg) and returned injured ACC total offense leader Jamie Newman (337.7 ypg).
Louisville rushing offense vs. Miami run defense. The Cardinals (5-3, 3-2) have relied on their run game to turn things around in coach Scott Satterfield’s first season, ranking third in the league in rushing at 218.3 yards per game and rushing for at least 200 yards in six of their eight games, most recently a 227-yard effort in a victory against Coastal Division leader Virginia. The Hurricanes (5-4, 3-3) have held five opponents to fewer than 100 yards on the ground and matched a season best by allowing Florida State to run for just 31 yards last week.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
A closer look at the stats shows that Louisville’s turnaround under Satterfield is even more impressive than at first glance. The Cardinals are on the brink of bowl eligibility despite playing the second-toughest schedule in the country and the most difficult for a power-conference team, according to the NCAA’s strength-of-schedule ranking system. The teams they’ve played so far — which include No. 4 Clemson, No. 15 Notre Dame and No. 22 Wake Forest — are a combined 44-18.
Could Duke keep it closer than the 8-point spread against No. 15 Notre Dame? The Blue Devils (4-4) have had two weeks to seethe after they threw an interception at the goal line in the final seconds of a 20-17 loss to rival North Carolina. The Fighting Irish, meanwhile, are coming off a tighter-than-expected victory over Virginia Tech, with QB Ian Book scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 29 seconds remaining. The key for Duke will be ball security — the Blue Devils have a combined 17 turnovers in their four losses, and just two in their four wins.
Keep an eye on Florida State RB Cam Akers, the most talented player on a Seminoles team that has endured a bumpy few weeks that culminated in the firing of coach Willie Taggart. Akers rushed for 144 or more yards in two straight games before Miami held him to 66 yards last week. Expect interim coach Odell Haggins to lean on Akers, who averages 109.2 yards rushing, against a Boston College team that has one of the ACC’s worst run defenses.
By JOEDY McCREARY AP Sports Writer
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25