Appalachian State (7-5, 6-2 Sun Belt)
Defeated Idaho 45-28
What worked: Sophomore Marcus Cox could end his career as the best running back in school history. He gained 122 yards and scored two touchdowns Saturday. Quarterback Taylor Lamb completed 13 of 20 passes for 223 yards and three scores.
What needs work: The NCAA rule book, which for some reason says a team jumping from Football Championship Subdivision status to Football Bowl Subdivision status shouldn’t get any credit for being bowl-eligible. It’s weird that in your first season of playing at college football’s top level, winning seven games doesn’t make you like any other team.
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What’s next: Season over. Rick Bonnell
No. 19 Clemson (9-3, 6-2 ACC)
Beat South Carolina 35-17
What worked: The Tigers had their way offensively with the Gamecocks, rolling up 491 total yards. Freshman running back Wayne Gallman rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns and freshman receiver Artavis Scott caught seven passes for 185 yards and two scores. Both those touchdowns came on shovel passes that fooled South Carolina. Defensively, Clemson allowed 63 yards rushing.
What needs work: Clemson’s defense had some trouble containing quarterback Dylan Thompson, who had 249 yards passing. The Tigers also were fooled on South Carolina’s first touchdown, a 20-yard run by Pharoh Cooper out of a wildcat formation.
What’s next: The Tigers will play in the postseason, possibly the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 29. David Scott
Duke (9-3, 5-3 ACC)
Beat Wake Forest 41-21
What worked: Senior receiver Issac Blakeney crossed the 100-yard mark for the first time as he hauled in seven passes – also a career best – for 107 yards. Fellow senior Jamison Crowder caught his first touchdown pass of more than 50 yards this season (he has 10 during his career) when quarterback Anthony Boone hit him for a 52-yard completion in the first quarter. Crowder finished with eight catches for 102 yards and the score.
The Blue Devils executed their first onside kick attempt of the year, catching the Deacons off guard in the first quarter. Jack Willoughby recovered his own kick after it went 13 yards.
Duke had an offensive lineman score a touchdown for the first time this season, as right tackle Casey Blaser recovered a fumble by Thomas Sirk in the end zone.
What needs work: Wake Forest, which entered the game ranked last in the FBS in total offense, had a rather successful day. The Deacons gained 315 yards, their greatest output in ACC play. Freshman quarterback John Wolford threw three scoring passes for the first time and finished 24-of-36 for 251 yards.
What’s next: Bowl, TBA. Laura Keeley
East Carolina (8-3, 5-2 American Athletic)
Beat Tulsa 49-32
What worked: The Pirates’ knack for rising to the occasion in the second half continued Friday as they expanded a 21-14 halftime lead into a victory. East Carolina has outscored its opponents 130-57 in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Shane Carden threw for 338 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for another.
Defensively, the Pirates held the Golden Hurricane to 5-of-16 on third downs, and Brandon Williams picked off a pass by Dane Evans and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown.
What needs work: East Carolina’s offensive line continues to be a sore spot. Tulsa had five quarterback hurries and two sacks.
After allowing the Golden Hurricane to tie the score at 7 in the first, Tulsa took the lead when Luke Snyder blew past the ECU line and blocked a Worth Gregory punt in the end zone, which Tulsa recovered for a 14-7 lead.
What’s next: Regular-season finale vs. Central Florida (8-3, 6-1) Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
N.C. State (7-5, 3-5 ACC)
Beat North Carolina 35-7
What worked: N.C. State ran the ball for 388 yards, which was its most in a game since 1981. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, in addition to rushing for 167 yards. Running back Shadrach Thornton got a season-high 28 carries and delivered with 161 yards and a score.
The Wolfpack held the Tar Heels to seven points and 207 total yards, both season lows for Larry Fedora’s team. The defense swarmed quarterback Marquise Williams and held him to 11 rushing yards. Williams, UNC’s leading rusher on the season, had rushed for a total of 220 yards in the previous two games.
The defensive line, led by tackles Thomas Teal and T.Y. McGill, was outstanding in pressuring Williams. The Wolfpack finished with four sacks and 10 tackles for a loss.
What needs work: There were six penalties for 81 yards, including an unnecessary hit on UNC punt returner Ryan Switzer by safety Josh Jones, but really the only problem for N.C. State will be trying to duplicate its best effort of the season in a bowl.
What’s next: Bowl, TBA. Joe Giglio
North Carolina (6-6, 4-4 ACC)
Lost to N.C. State 35-7
What worked: Nothing worked. The Tar Heels combined their worst offensive performances of the season with one of their worst defensive performances and managed to do that in a rivalry game that always is among the most important, regardless of circumstance.
What needs work: Just 207 total yards and 3.3 yards per play on offense – both lows for UNC under Fedora. The Tar Heels allowed 388 yards rushing. It was a complete breakdown. The most troubling aspect of defeat was that the Tar Heels played with little energy and inspiration against their fiercest football rival. N.C. State wanted it more, and it was obvious from the start.
Up next: Bowl, TBA. Andrew Carter
South Carolina (6-6, 3-5 SEC)
Lost to No. 19 Clemson 35-17
What worked: The Gamecocks were able to move the ball through the air at times, with Thompson completing 21 of 39 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown.
What needs work: South Carolina’s defense was consistently fooled by the Tigers, allowing 491 total yards and an average of 8.0 yards per play. Offensively, the Gamecocks produced virtually nothing on the ground, rushing for 63 yards, 1.9 yards per rush.
What’s next: Some projections have South Carolina playing in the Birmingham Bowl on Jan. 3, against a team from the American Athletic Conference. D.S.
Wake Forest (3-9, 1-7 ACC)
Lost to Duke, 41-21
What worked: Completing 24 of 36 passes always looks impressive. Unfortunately they were mostly check-downs. When average yards per pass attempt is 6.97, things probably didn’t go as you hoped.
What needs work: Duke converted 11-of-18 third downs. Duke has become a very good program, but when you let a conference foe sustain that many drives, you kind of invite the other team to run you over.
What’s next: Season over. R.B.