Beat No. 25 Gardner-Webb 53-51
What worked: The 49ers didn’t fold after falling behind 45-24 at the end of the third quarter. Charlotte’s offense didn’t turn the ball over and clicked all day, rolling up 586 yards. Quarterback Matt Johnson (27 of 46 for 342 yards and five touchdowns) also ran for 73 yards. When things seemed dark, the 49ers stunned the Bulldogs by scoring 29 consecutive points in the fourth quarter, including 22 in a three-minute span. The 49ers also continued to be a takeaway machine, recovering two Gardner-Webb fumbles and intercepting a pass.
What needs work: Charlotte’s defense didn’t entirely figure out Gardner-Webb, with the Bulldogs rolling up 577 yards of their own. Charlotte didn’t get a lot of pressure on Gardner-Webb quarterback Lucas Beatty, who was sacked just once on his way to a 342-yard passing day.
What’s next: Charlotte is host to UNC Pembroke (4-0), which is the country’s 13th-ranked Division II team. The Braves were off Saturday. David Scott
Beat Syracuse 49-14
What worked: Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd completed 20 of 27 passes for 455 yards and five touchdowns. Yes, two of Boyd’s passers were intercepted, his first INTs of the season. But both of those interceptions were deflections.
What needs work: Was it wise for coach Dabo Swinney to go for it on fourth down, deep in Syracuse territory, late in the first half rather than kick a field goal? In the beauty-pageant system that is college football, there’s an incentive to squash opponents, but that seemed unnecessary and backfired, firing up Syracuse in the third quarter.
What’s next: Clemson hosts Boston College Saturday at 3:30 p.m. before the big showdown with Florida State a week later. That game likely decides a slot in the ACC title game in Charlotte. Rick Bonnell
N.C. State (3-2, 0-2 ACC)
Lost at Wake Forest, 28-13
What worked: N.C. State’s defense limited Wake Forest’s running backs to 19 yards on 10 carries, Wil Baumann had a 54-yard punt and quarterback Pete Thomas had a 22-yard run on a read option play.
The bright spots were few and far between that you could can probably limit them to those three.
The Wolfpack’s pass defense was too soft, the offense couldn’t really run the ball, there were still too many penalties and two more key players, receiver Rashard Smith and safety Jarvis Byrd, were sidelined with injuries.
What needs work: The pass rush didn’t get much pressure on Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price and the base pass defense gave too much room to receiver Michael Campanaro.
The Pack’s front seven sacked Price only once, while Campanaro worked the Pack’s secondary for 12 catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
What’s next: Syracuse (2-3, 0-1 ACC) is coming off of a 49-14 home loss to Clemson. This will be the first ACC road game for the Orange, who are 0-3 vs. BCS conference opponents this season. Joe Giglio
North Carolina (1-4)
Lost to Virginia Tech 27-17
What worked: The Tar Heels played with energy and effort. That was one positive. UNC lacked both of those characteristics during its one-sided loss against ECU last week. Against Virginia Tech, the effort was there. Marquise Williams, the third-year sophomore quarterback, played about as well as could have been expected in his first collegiate start.
Starting in place of the injured Bryn Renner, who sat out with a foot injury, Williams completed 23 of his 35 attempts for 277 yards and two touchdowns, the second of which came in the final two minutes. Williams also threw two interceptions, but his running ability – he ran for 56 yards – mitigated some of the Tar Heels’ problems on the offensive line. UNC’s maligned defense played well for stretches, and held the Hokies to 64 yards in the second half. That performance kept the Tar Heels in the game, at least.
What needs work: UNC basically followed the same script it has all season. There were defensive breakdowns that led to big plays. There was, for the third consecutive game, a penalty that wiped away a touchdown. The defensive breakdowns continue to overshadow any positive strides the defense makes. UNC allowed a 45-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, and an 83-yard pass that set up Virginia Tech’s third touchdown. Outside of those two plays, UNC’s defense wasn’t all that bad. But those plays can’t be discounted given they helped to decide the game.
UNC coach Larry Fedora struggled to explain how his team lost another touchdown to a penalty – in this case a block in the back that eliminated Ryan Switzer’s 82-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the third quarter. Overall discipline continues to be an issue. UNC committed 11 penalties for 79 touchdowns.
Up next: UNC enters its second bye week of the season, and it comes at a good time. The Tar Heels have lost three consecutive games, and bye week could represent a good opportunity for the team to refocus. It should also allow Renner a chance to heal from his foot injury. UNC hosts Miami in a nationally-televised Thursday night game on Oct. 17. Andrew Carter
South Carolina (4-1)
Beat Kentucky 35-28
What worked: The Gamecocks built an early 21-0 lead and are running the ball consistently. Running back Mike Davis totaled 106 yards on 26 carries and quarterback Connor Shaw came back from a shoulder injury to complete a 62-yard pass play for South Carolina’s first score.
What needs work: It sure doesn’t appear coach Steve Spurrier and star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney are on the same page. Clowney pulled himself just before game time with sore ribs and Spurrier seemed to call out Clowney post-game, saying, “If he doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to play – simple as that.”
What’s next: The Gamecocks are at Arkansas in what could be a trap game. Close victories over Central Florida and Kentucky both demonstrated this team isn’t so great at protecting a lead. R.B.
Wake Forest (3-3, 1-2 ACC)
Beat N.C. State 28-13
What worked: Quarterback Tanner Price was productive, throwing for three touchdowns and running for another. As usual, his favorite receiver was Michael Campanaro, who caught 12 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Coach Jim Grobe continued his mastery over the Wolfpack in Winston-Salem, where he hasn’t lost to N.C. State since 2001, his first season at Wake Forest.
What needs work: The Deacons defense, while only allowing one touchdown, struggled with N.C. State’s passing attack, allowing Wolfpack quarterback Pete Thomas to complete 27 of 43 passes for 257 yards. But Wake Forest also intercepted Thomas twice.
What’s next: After taking this Saturday off, the Deacons return to action Oct. 19 against Maryland at BB&T Field. David Scott
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less