On The ESPN College Football Podcast this week, ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit discussed the current state of the ACC, including the emergence of Pittsburgh and North Carolina State as well as Clemson’s continued struggles.
The Tigers (4-2, 3-1 ACC) escaped with a 17-14 win at Syracuse last Friday night after the Orange’s Andre Szmyt missed a game-tying 48-yard field goal attempt with 38 seconds remaining.
“We had Clemson that continues to struggle,” Herbstreit said. “They did just enough to hold on to beat Syracuse on Friday night. They continue to be a head-scratcher with what they’re doing on the offensive side of the ball. They’re winning, but it’s just like bouncing off of guard rails to get there.”
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh (5-1, 2-0 ACC) – Clemson’s opponent this Saturday in a 3:30 p.m. matchup at Heinz Field – won at Virginia Tech in convincing fashion on Saturday, 28-7.
Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett went 22-of-37 passing for 203 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions against the Hokies. Through six games this season, the senior has completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 1,934 yards and 21 touchdowns with just one interception.
“It’s like there’s more to Pitt than just hey, Kenny Pickett can throw it around, they’re not bad,” Herbstreit said. “They’re winning, man, and they’re believing. And (head coach) Pat Narduzzi, a defensive guy, has it going on both sides of the ball, and all of a sudden they’re starting to become the real deal.”
As for NC State, which upset then-No. 9 Clemson in Raleigh on Sept. 25, the Wolfpack (5-1, 2-0 ACC) rolled to a 33-7 road win over Boston College on Saturday.
“I think (head coach) Dave Doeren, the job that he’s done in Raleigh this year … They took on a tricky game, going on the road against BC,” Herbstreit said. “I thought it’d be a low-scoring game. I thought BC could win it, and they just blew them out, 33-7.
“So, while everybody’s focusing on Clemson, you’ve got two pretty good stories right now in the ACC with the Panthers and the Wolfpack.”
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