Appalachian State (1-5, 0-2 Sun Belt)
Lost to Liberty 55-48 (OT)
What worked: Quarterback Taylor Lamb threw for a school-record 397 yards against the Football Championship Subdivision’s Flames. Lamb directed an offense that accumulated 637 yards.
What needs work: Four turnovers were costly. Bentlee Critcher continued a season-long problem by missing a 32-yard field-goal attempt with two seconds left in regulation and with the score 48-48.
What’s next: The Mountaineers will play a Sun Belt game Saturday at Troy (1-5, 1-1). The Trojans beat New Mexico State 41-24 Saturday. David Scott
Lost to The Citadel 63-56 (2OT)
What worked: The 49ers overcame an 18-point deficit and nearly pulled out a win. Charlotte’s offense piled up 679 yards, the second most by a Citadel opponent. Receiver Austin Duke had a school-record 12 receptions for 254 yards and three touchdowns (he rushed for another and threw a two-point conversion pass). Quarterback Matt Johnson threw for a school-record 358 yards. The 49ers, who had struggled on third-down conversions, were nine-for-17. Charlotte had two players rush for more than 100 yards: sophomore Kalif Phillips (164) and freshman Maetron Thomas (106).
What needs work: Charlotte’s defense was as porous as The Citadel’s, allowing 689 yards (6.2 yards per play) as the Bulldogs scored the first five times they had the ball. The 49ers need to figure out how to finish close games – they’ve lost four straight by an average of 5.8 points.
What’s next: The 49ers will have this week off before facing James Madison (4-3), which beat Towson 62-7 Saturday. D.S.
Clemson (4-2, 3-1 ACC)
Clemson beat Louisville 23-17
What worked: The Tigers held Louisville on a late goal-line stand to hold on to a victory at Death Valley. The Cardinals gained just 52 yards rushing or 1.4 yards per attempt.
What needs work: Clemson lost blossoming star quarterback Deshaun Watson to a broken finger. He’ll likely miss at least the next three games. His backup, Cole Stoudt, wasn’t bad, completing 20 of 33 passes, but Clemson didn’t move the ball much. The Tigers converted just two of 16 third-down situations.
What’s next: The Tigers will play Saturday at Boston College at 3:30. Rick Bonnell
Duke (5-1, 1-1 ACC)
Beat No. 22 Georgia Tech 31-25
What worked: By far, this was Duke’s strongest performance of the season. The offense beat the Yellow Jackets at their own game – ball control through a steady diet of rushes and turnover-free football. Even without starting running back Shaq Powell, the Blue Devils’ other running backs – Josh Snead, Joe Ajeigbe and Shaun Wilson – combined for 186 yards. Quarterbacks Anthony Boone (10 carries, 49 yards) and Thomas Sirk (five rushes, 10 yards, two touchdowns) contributed in the zone-read. Boone also had his finest passing day of the season.
What needs work: Duke’s kickoff coverage allowed Georgia Tech returns of 68 and 51 yards. The Yellow Jackets, though, could only come away with one field goal on those drives. Duke switched to squib kicks near the end of the third quarter. That technique limited further damage. Issac Blakeney and Jamison Crowder, Duke’s top receivers, both had uneven games.
What’s next: Duke’s only home game during a seven-week span will come against the surprise leader of the Coastal Division, Virginia (4-2, 2-0).
No. 19 East Carolina (5-1, 2-0 AAC)
Beat South Florida 28-17
What worked: With their dreams of playing in a New Year’s Day bowl game on life support, the No. 19 Pirates rallied back from a 17-7 halftime deficit. East Carolina outscored South Florida 21-0, as the offense recaptured its rhythm. The key was the ground game, once the biggest offensive question mark. The Pirates ran 37 times for 231 yards for their second-highest total of the season and scored three of their four touchdowns.
What needs work: The Pirates were the 98th-most penalized team in the nation before the weekend and will slide even further down the list after drawing 12 flags for a season-high 148 yards against South Florida. The most egregious instance was on the first drive of the third quarter with back-to-back holding penalties on guard Quincy McKinney.
What’s next: East Carolina will be off this week. It will host Connecticut on Oct. 23. Brian Haines
North Carolina (2-4, 0-2 ACC)
Lost to No. 6 Notre Dame 50-43
What worked: Marquise Williams became the first UNC player to pass for at least 300 yards (303) and run for at least 100 (132) in the same game. Williams took a pounding at times, too, but showed some toughness. He even managed to catch a touchdown pass in the third quarter, thrown by receiver Quinshad Davis.
What needs work: Like the previous week against Virginia Tech, UNC was more burned by the long, methodical drive than it was the quick-hitting, explosive plays it surrendered earlier this season. And again, the Tar Heels endured some game-changing penalties – none more damaging than Norkeithus Otis’ roughing the snapper penalty on a punt late in the third quarter.
What’s next: UNC on Saturday at Kenan Stadium will play Georgia Tech, which has defeated the Tar Heels in 14 of the past 16 meetings. Andrew Carter
N.C. State (4-3, 0-3 ACC)
Lost to Boston College 30-14
What worked: N.C. State limited the Boston College offense to one touchdown on its final nine possessions. Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett and the entire offense put a poor effort at Clemson behind them with touchdown drives on their first two possessions.
What needs work: The defense couldn’t stop Boston College’s offense on the first three drives, all three ended with a touchdown. Brissett started 6-for-8 for 72 yards with a touchdown in the first quarter and then went 8-for-22 the rest of the way for 102 yards with an interception and a fumble. Kicker Nik Sade missed a 31-yard attempt in the second quarter.
What’s next: N.C. State will travel to Louisville (5-2, 3-2), which is coming of a 23-17 loss at Clemson. The Cardinals have been dealing with multiple injuries on offense, but they are ranked No. 1 in the country in total defense. Joe Giglio