Lost to UNC Pembroke 45-22
What worked: The best that can be said for the 49ers are a few impressive individual performances (which rarely add up to a victory): Receivers Austin Duke and Mikel Hunter each had nine catches, quarterback Matt Johnson threw for 278 yards and linebacker Micah Bryan had 13 tackles.
What needs work: Just about everything. The offense never found consistency against the unbeaten Braves, with the running game gaining just 104 yards. Charlotte’s defense was gashed by UNC Pembroke quarterback Luke Charles, who completed 43 of 57 passes for 403 yards and three touchdowns, with the Braves rolling up 503 total yards. Charlotte’s special teams allowed a partially blocked field-goal attempt, and Hunter fumbled a punt.
What’s next: The 49ers are off this week and return Oct.26 at 25th-ranked Charleston Southern (7-0), which beat Virginia Mililtary 25-17 Saturday.
No. 3 Clemson (6-0, 4-0 ACC)
Beat Boston College 24-14
What worked: Wide receiver Sammy Watkins had seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Defensive end Vic Beasley wrapped up the victory with a defensive touchdown, running in a fumble recovery.
What needs work: The Tigers looked anything but sharp during the first half. The offense, which looked so potent against Wake Forest and Syracuse, was sloppy, fumbling four times in the first half (two lost).
What’s next: Clemson hosts No. 5 Florida State in a showdown that likely decides one of the participants in the ACC championship game in Charlotte.
Beat Navy 35-7
What worked: Pretty much everything, as coach David Cutcliffe called it the cleanest, best game the Blue Devils have had during his six years in Durham. Quarterback Anthony Boone was flawless in his return from a broken collarbone, going 31-for-38 (.816) for a career-high 295 yards and three touchdowns. Sunday, Boone felt good, Cutcliffe said, with only typical postgame soreness (backup quarterback Brandon Connette remains out with an ankle injury). The defense gave up its fewest points to a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since a 10-7 win against Vanderbilt in 2008. And Duke even executed a fake field goal early in the fourth quarter, with holder Will Monday (normally the punter) pitching the ball to Issac Blakeney for a 6-yard gain. The drive ended two plays later with Shaquille Powell’s touchdown run.
What needs work: Small details. Monday did shank a punt, which Cutcliffe noted in his postgame news conference. The offensive backs need to block better on the perimeter. And that’s pretty much it as far as complaints go.
What’s next: Duke goes on the road for just the second time this year (and first time in more than a month) to play Virginia (2-4). The Cavaliers are reeling after a blowout home loss to Ball State and a one-point loss at Maryland.
N.C. State (3-3, 0-3 ACC)
Lost to Syracuse, 24-10
What worked: Freshman cornerback Jack Tocho made his first start and had two first-half interceptions. The Wolfpack held Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt to just 74 yards on 10 of 20 attempts. The Wolfpack also committed a season-low four penalties, after averaging 7.6 per game during the first five games.
What needs work: Everything on offense. The Wolfpack couldn’t run the ball (129 yards on 45 carries) and couldn’t throw it effectively, either (24-for-50). The weather conditions were far from perfect, and the injuries are a real problem on the offensive line and at receiver, but the Wolfpack could not establish a consistent offensive rhythm. In 95 snaps, the Pack averaged 3.7 yards per play, compared to 7.1 for Syracuse.
What’s next: The Wolfpack has its second open date of the season before a road trip to No. 5 Florida State on Oct.26. N.C. State beat the Seminoles last year in Raleigh, 17-16, but it has lost its past three trips to Tallahassee, Fla., including a 34-0 shutout in 2011.
No. 11 South Carolina (5-1, 3-1 SEC)
Beat Arkansas 52-7
What worked: Quarterback Connor Shaw threw for three touchdowns and ran for another at Arkansas, where the Gamecocks have struggled some in the past. Running back Mike Davis rushed for 128 yards in 19 carries.
What needs work: Star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, back from missing the previous weekend’s game with a rib injury, had just one tackle.
What’s next: The Gamecocks go to Knoxville for a noon game against the Tennessee Volunteers (3-3, 0-2).
East Carolina (4-2, 2-1 Conference USA)
Lost to Tulane 36-33, 3OT
What worked: For the fifth time in six games East Carolina held its opponent to less than 100 rushing yards this season (28 carries, 85 yards).
Junior wide receiver Justin Hardy continued his assault on the ECU record book as he tallied 17 receptions for 230 yards. His 17 catches bested his own school-record of 16, which he has achieved twice, and his 230 yards broke Terry Gallaher’s 218 yards against Appalachian State in 1975.
What needs work: The special teams had several mishaps, all of which played a major role in the loss. Warren Harvey, who began the year on the Lou Groza Award Watch List, missed a potentially winning 42-yard field goal with three seconds left in regulation, before going wide right from 34 yards in the third overtime to set the stage for Tulane’s winning 42-yard field goal.
What’s next: East Carolina tries to bounce back at home Saturday against Southern Mississippi (0-5, 0-1), which fell 24-23 to Florida International in its C-USA opener Oct. 5.
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