ACC preview: Edsall faces former team

ACC preview: Edsall faces former team
September 12, 2013, 8:00 am
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Virginia Tech @ East Carolina, Sat. 12:00 p.m.
Louisiana-Monroe @ Wake Forest, Sat. 12:30 p.m.
New Mexico @ Pitt, Sat. 12:30 p.m.
Boston College @ USC, Sat. 3:00 p.m.
Georgia Tech @ Duke, Sat. 3:30 p.m.
Nevada @ No. 10 Florida State, Sat. 3:30 p.m.
Wagner @ Syracuse, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
Maryland @ UConn, Sat. 7:30 p.m.

Matchup of the week: Maryland @ UConn, Sat. 7:30 p.m.

Coach Randy Edsall takes the Terps to his former team UConn for a Saturday matchup under the lights. The two teams met last season, but this will be Edsall’s first return to East Hartford at the helm of another team

Emotions may be high for this one as fans remain none too pleased over Edsall’s departure. UConn may have bigger problems, however, after an opening 33-18 loss to FCS Towson

The Huskies had no answer for Towson running back Terrance West who ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns. They will have their hands full with Maryland’s Stefon Diggs who has been stellar this season thanks to the return of a healthy quarterback in C.J. Brown.

Brown has quietly been very impressive himself completing 75.6% of his passes. He has thrown five touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception. The Terps could have a very big day against a UConn defense that struggled to contain Towson.

Defensively, the Terps have been solid thus far holding both FIU and a typically high-flying Old Dominion offense to only 10 points each. UConn managed only 290 total yards in their opener including a measly 84 yards on the ground.

UConn has had an extra week to prepare for this game thanks to a bye week, but they appear to be outmatched by the Terps. Could the emotions over Edsall’s return fuel a big game for the Huskies? Perhaps and that seems like the only way UConn will be able to keep this one close.

Player to watch: Brandon Connette, QB, junior, Duke

With starting quarterback Anthony Boone out indefinitely due to a broken collarbone, Duke's hopes now rest on the shoulders of Brandon Connette. He did extremely well last week in relief of Boone, leading the Blue Devils to a 28-14 win over Memphis. Connette threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns in that game.

Things will get considerably more difficult this week, however, as Duke hosts Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are a bit of a mystery having played only one game thus far against FCS Elon, a game the Yellow Jackets won 70-0. While Duke presents a greater challenge to Georgia Tech, Connette will have to play very well for the Blue Devils to stand any chance. An aggressive game plan is the best way to counter Georgia Tech's option offense, an offense not well suited for playing from behind. Head coach David Cutcliffe likely cannot afford to ease Connette into the game. It may be a trial by fire for the junior QB

Saturday will likely be a litmus test for where Duke stands without Boone. If they hope to reach a bowl game for a second consecutive season, much of the burden will fall on Connette

Upset alert:Boston College @ USC, Sat. 3:00 p.m.

Before the season, most people probably dismissed this as an easy route. After two weeks, however, the gap between these two teams is rapidly closing.

USC’s performance last week was one of the worst in the history of its storied program. Conference rival Washington State won only three games all of last season and lost in their first week to SEC basement dweller Auburn, but managed a 10-7 win in the Coliseum against the mighty Trojans.

When the home crowd is chanting for the head coach to be fired and it is only Week 2, your team is in trouble.

Boston College meanwhile has already matched last season’s win total by winning their first two games of the season. Running back Andre Williams has established himself as a true workhorse running back capable of taking 30 plus carries. They also boast senior Alex Amidon, one of the best receivers in the ACC. First-year head coach Steve Addazio really seems to have turned things around already in Chestnut Hill.

Winning at home against Villanova and Wake Forest is very different than trying to walk out of the Coliseum with a win, but with all the turmoil in Los Angeles the Eagles might be able to catch the Trojans when they are down.

Also, do not count out East Carolina against Virginia Tech.

The Hokies have one of the best defenses in the nation and one of the worst offenses. They rank 96 in the nation in total offense thanks in large part to their 106th ranked passing attack. Quarterback Logan Thomas has completed only 38.6% of his passes and thrown three interceptions including two to FCS Western Carolina.

ECU beat the Hokies in 2008 and could do so again if Virginia Tech cannot get its offense moving.

On CSN: Louisiana-Monroe @ Wake Forest, Sat. 12:30 p.m.

Receiver Michael Campanaro will try to get Wake Forest back on track after an embarrassing lost to Boston College last week. The Demon Deacons have a tough matchup in Louisiana Monroe, however, who last year defeated Arkansas and came up just short against Auburn. Catch all the action on CSN.